The Red Bulletin September 2019 (UK)


Brad Pitt & Leonardo DiCaprio

“Acting is like being in the

ring. You’re enjoying the fight,

but taking the punches”

but there was no mention of it.

I was surprised, because I felt I’d

witnessed a true victory. It’s the same

with movies: we often don’t think

about how difficult it is. For me,

that’s success; it’s not just being

recognised as Best Picture.

thing they should do, I’d say, “Spend

two years watching what the hell

people have already done and then

come to the table and try to create

your own thing.”

bp: Quentin’s a purist. There is no

CGI. He wants it to happen in the

moment, on camera. We had to

do this long fight scene with Bruce

Lee [played in the movie by actor/

stuntman Mike Moh], and Quentin

says, “We’re going to do it all in one

shot.” I go, “Oh, man. But you can

do some whip pans, cuts, switch it

if some of the takes don’t work,

right?” He says, “No, man. If we do

it all in one shot, it’s got to be all

in one.” You can debate with him,

but you can’t argue with him.

To know someone, first you

must fight them

bp: There was one director who

made me and my cast mates spar

with each other. He told us it was

to help get comfortable with a daily

level of violence. It wasn’t until later

that he revealed it was also to get us

to know each other. He said you

never learn about someone until you

punch him in the face. We formed

a relationship through sparring.

You push a little, but also hold

back because you’re rooting for

each other. You’re competitive,

but also protective.

Don’t get greedy for

the limelight

bp: Trying to steal a scene is a dead

end. If you’re fighting for that, it’s

a sure way to crap out on the film.

On a great film, everyone’s firing

on all cylinders.

Success doesn’t always

mean winning

bp: I remember watching the

gymnastics at the Olympics in the

early ’90s, and there was a Russian

woman who was supposed to take

it all. But then, 10 seconds into her

routine, she fell. The announcer

went, “What a shame. This is just

horrible.” But she just picked herself

up, persevered and finished the

routine perfectly. It was magical

and inspiring, but all [the media]

talked about afterwards was how

humiliating it was. I looked for

recognition [of her strength and

resolve] in the papers the next day,

What’s gone before will

happen again

bp: Quentin is prophetic, hitting us

with this now – certainly with the

change in our industry. And at that

time America was transitioning.

The Manson murders were a loss

of innocence for our country. We’d

been coming off this free-love ride

of peace and utopia, and then we

saw a dark side of human nature that

made people feel unsafe. Fences and

security cameras were being put up,

leading into the full-on darkness of

Vietnam and Nixon. I don’t need

to say anything about the state of

America right now, about our

leadership and how split we are as

a country. It certainly is relevant.

ldc: Quentin is not only a cinephile,

he’s a great historian. He’s taken

the perspective of two guys on the

periphery of Hollywood, looking

in, and that’s a unique way to view

not only one of the most pivotal

periods in world history, but one

that produced some great cinematic

pieces of art. We’re not only

watching the changing of culture

but inhabiting these old TV cowboy

guys who are now relics of the past.

It’s an amazing approach to this story.

You are what you leave behind

ldc: Movies are the greatest modern

art form. I feel privileged to be a part

of it. I’ve been able to be my own

boss creatively, and I feel fortunate

for that.

bp: Now that I’m a dad [he has six

children], I’m clearer about the

work I want to do. I’m now painfully

aware that my kids are going to be

seeing my movies as they grow up.

I think of how movies affected me

when I was a kid; the ones that told

me something, honed me a little

bit, left that indelible mark. It’s

important to me that I leave

something they’ll be proud of.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

opens in cinemas on August 14;



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