Once Upon a Time in Hollywood stage play

Writer/director Quentin Tarantino has nine films under his belt, but he’s just done something he’s never done in his 30-plus year career: written a novelization of one of his own films. But it turns out his new novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood isn’t the only new way he wants audiences to experience the story of Sharon Tate, Rick Dalton, and stunt double Cliff Booth. According to the man himself, Tarantino has also written a stage play version of the story and hopes to produce it soon.

once upon a time in hollywood novel

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Stage Play

In a new interview with The Big Picture podcast, Tarantino revealed some news that had not been shared before. “Believe it or not, I’ve written a play version of [Once Upon a Time in Hollywood],” he revealed. Instead of jumping immediately into pre-production on the film after finishing the script, he “sat on it for about six or seven months” before he even let his agents read it, and in that time he wrote a stage play version of the story. When asked why, he replied, “Because I wanted to write a play, and stuff that’s not in the book…I wanted it to exist as a play. And again, I’m able to explore stuff that’s not in the [movie]. The play deals with Italy. Then I wrote five episodes of Bounty Law.”

Only after all of that did he let his agents read his film script and the process of making the movie began, culminating with the 2019 movie which ended up being his second-highest grossing film worldwide behind Django Unchained.

So is he going to put on a production of this new play? “That’s the idea,” he said. “I mean, we’ll see what happens, but my plan is to do this book, I just did this, then finish the cinema book, then the next thing on the list is to start thinking about the play…I’m not going to think about [my] last movie for a while. I’m doing other things right now.” That “cinema book” is called Cinema Speculation, and it’s described as a “deep dive into the movies of the 1970s, a rich mix of essays, reviews, personal writing, and tantalizing ‘what ifs,’ from one of cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, and its most devoted fan.”

brad pitt and david fincher

What Will The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Play Be About?

It sounds like the stage play is going to tell the same broad strokes as the film and the novelization, but perhaps with a few differing perspectives or added scenes that fill in some of the gaps that exist in those other iterations.

“Just to give you a hint of the play,” Tarantino teased, “the whole second act of the play is [Leonardo DiCaprio’s character] Rick [Dalton] and [Al Pacino’s character] Marvin [Schwarz] having dinner with [spaghetti western director] Sergio Corbucci and Nori Corbucci at their favorite Japanese restaurant in Rome.” Corbucci is mentioned briefly in the movie, and appears in Los Angeles in the novelization, but in the play, we’ll get to see the director dining with his prospective star. “Rick doesn’t have the part [yet],” Tarantino clarifies of this dinner scene in the play. “Depending on how this dinner goes, means whether Rick is going to be Nebraska Jim or not.”

We all know how that plays out – Rick gets the part and his career trajectory experiences an uptick – but it should be fascinating to see who Tarantino casts in this stage play and what other corners of this story he takes audiences into in this medium.

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