Quentin Tarantino has often said that after completing his tenth movie he would venture into the world of literature and film criticism. Well, with the release of a novelisation of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood scheduled to arrive on June 29th, it would seem he has given himself a head start.
Tarantino appeared on the Pure Cinema podcast to discuss the novel and was keen to assert that it would simply be a straight retelling of the film, as he dubbed it as a “complete rethinking.”
“I think if you’re a fan of the movie, you will get a kick out of reading the book, and exploring the characters further and deeper,” he says, “And learning secrets that you didn’t know, and (that) were not in the movie.”
The auteur director has often said in the past that he has always written his screenplays in a novelistic style with swathes of details never intended to make it to the screen, so it would seem that he had plenty of material to twist into his reimagining.
As he added himself: “It’s not just me taking the screenplay and then breaking it down in a novelistic form. I retold the story as a novel. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, okay, well he obviously had a few scenes left over, so he just took the screenplay and novelized it and threw in a few extra scenes.’ It was a complete rethinking of the entire story and not just a rethinking as far as throwing in some scenes that were left out of the editing room. I did so much research.”
According to Tarantino, it is something that he has, in fact, been working on for five years. “There was so much stuff that I wrote and I explored that I never even typed up,” he adds, “because there was no way it was going to make the movie.”
While the movie only fleetingly hinted at a dark past for Brad Pitt’s character Cliff Booth, the novel is set to tackle the ambiguity head-on. “There’s these isolated chapters that tell you, like, this whole chapter will be 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.”
If that has wet your whistle, then be sure to check back for our pre-release review in the coming weeks to see if it stacks up to what the star director has managed to achieve in cinema.