Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is still months from being released, but the anticipation is exceptionally high. Maybe it’s the fact that the movie revolves around what Tarantino does best—exposing the dark underbelly of people, places and things that appear glamorous at first glance (ahem, anyone remember Pulp Fiction?). Maybe it’s the star-studded cast. Or maybe it’s the macabre fascination with the story within the story: the Manson Family murders.
According to Tarantino, the film is more about the changing tides of the late ’60s and how the hippie cultural shift impacted Hollywood. Right at the center of that are the film’s main characters, Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, respectively. Rick is a struggling former Western TV show star who wants to transition to movies but isn’t finding success. Booth is his longtime stunt double and best friend.
But did you know that the characters are actually loosely based on actor Burt Reynolds and his IRL stuntman and friend Hal Needham?