Quentin Tarantino Reveals Rick Dalton’s Fate
Are you curious to hear what happened to Rick Dalton, the actor (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) whose downward spiral marked the central focus of Once Upon a time in Hollywood? Well, Quentin Tarantino himself recently revealed the character’s fate in an interview with The Wrap — an explanation that gives some closure for the character whilst also demonstrating Tarantino’s deep knowledge of pop culture.
“The whole incident with the flamethrower and the hippies got a lot of play,” Tarantino said. “No one quite knows what a big deal that was, but it was still a big deal. And it’s a big deal that he killed ‘em with the flamethrower, with the prop from one of his most popular movies. So he starts becoming in demand again. I mean, not in demand like Michael Sarrazin at that time was in demand, but he’s got some publicity and now all of a sudden The 14 Fists of McCluskey is playing more on Channel 5 during Combat Week and stuff. And so he gets offered a couple of features — low-budget ones, but studio ones. But the thing is, on the episodic-TV circuit, he’s a bigger name now. He’s not quite Darren McGavin, all right? Darren McGavin would get paid the highest you could get paid as a guest star back in that time. But Rick’s about where John Saxon was, maybe just a little bit higher. So he’s getting good money and doing the best shows. And the episodes are all built around him.”
In other words, Dalton didn’t quite reach the heights established previously in his career, but he still found fame thanks to the flamethrower incident.
“So as opposed to doing Land of the Giants and Bingo Martin, now he’s the bad guy on Mission: Impossible, and it’s his episode,” Tarantino continued. “Oh, and he does a Vince Edwards show, Matt Lincoln. Or a Glenn Ford show, Cade’s County.’And that’s a big deal, ’cause he did Hell-Fire Texas’with Glenn Ford and they didn’t really get along. But now they bury the hatchet and they make a big deal about the two guys doing it together. And then he does a couple of Paul Wendkos’ TV movies. And you know, he’s doing OK.”
That actually seems appropriate. Though, I’d also be curious to see where Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) and Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) end up in this alternate timeline.
The massive ensemble cast for the film includes Leonardo DiCaprio (The Departed), Brad Pitt (Fight Club), Margot Robbie (Suicide Squad), Timothy Olyphant (Santa Clarita Diet), Michael Madsen (Sin City), Tim Roth (Selma), Damian Lewis (Billions), Luke Perry (The Fifth Element), Emile Hirsch (Speed Racer), Lena Dunham (Girls), Dakota Fanning (The Alienist), Margaret Qualley (The Nice Guys), Maya Hawke (Stranger Things), Clifton Collins (Pacific Rim), Keith Jefferson (The Hateful Eight), Nicholas Hammond (The Sound of Music), James Marsden (Westworld), Julia Butters (Transparent), James Remar (48 Hours), Scoot McNairy (Halt and Catch Fire), Kurt Russell (Furious 7), Bruce Dern (Nebraska) and Al Pacino (Scarface).
Set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood focuses on a male TV actor named Rick Dalton (DiCaprio) who’s had one hit western series and is looking for a way to get into the film business. His sidekick Cliff Booth (Pitt) — who’s also his stunt double — is looking for the same thing. The horrific murder of Sharon Tate (Rick’s neighbor in the film, portrayed by Robbie) and four of her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers serves as a backdrop to the main story. The movie is said to be similar to a “Pulp Fiction-like tapestry” that covers a group of characters during that summer.
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