The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood book is as real as a donut.
Quentin Tarantino is turning his fantastic 2019 revisionist film into a novel that will “chart the lives of two protagonists – TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth – both forward and backward in time.” It’s not available until the end of the month, but in an interview with the Pure Cinema Podcast, the director discussed what people can expect.
“I think if you’re a fan of the movie, I think you will get a kick out of reading the book, and exploring the characters further and deeper, and learning secrets that you didn’t know, and were not in the movie,” Tarantino said. “It’s not just me taking the screenplay and then breaking it down in a novelistic form. I retold the story as a novel… It was a complete rethinking of the entire story and not just a rethinking as far as throwing some scenes that were left out of the editing room.”
The book will also explore Cliff Booth’s (potentially murderous) past.
“In the movie, Cliff is a real enigma, you’re kind of like, what’s this guy’s deal? And one of the things in the book is, there’s these isolated chapters that tell you, like, this whole chapter will be about Cliff’s past. It goes back in time to tell you about Cliff at this point in time. And then you go further on with the normal run of the story and there’s another chapter that goes back in time and tells you about Cliff’s past. And every isolated chapter that’s just about Cliff’s past is like a weird little pulp novel unto itself starring Cliff.”
Hopefully the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood book will answer my number one question after watching the movie: did Cliff Booth ever fight Jack Nicholson? There’s a 85 percent chance it happened (my money’s on Jack).