It’s the most wonderful time of the year that happens every couple of years: Quentin Tarantino is in the home stretch of writing a new screenplay, and the block is about to be flooded with casting news and breathless anticipation for what is, supposedly, his penultimate movie.
Tarantino swears he’s hanging up his spurs after his 10th movie, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, he is "putting the finishing touches" on a screenplay that would be his ninth — a "unique take" on the Manson murders. Word is he has already begun to talk to Jennifer Lawrence (who was recently photographed going to lunch with the director, but according to THR is not up for the role of Sharon Tate) and Brad Pitt (who, between Kalifornia and True Romance, has probably been training to play Charles Manson his entire life).
If you read THR’s report in a certain way, it suggests that the Manson script is a series of interlocking tales, set around 1969, with one focusing on the night Tex Watson and three others murdered a pregnant Tate and four other people in Benedict Canyon. This would fit with the collection-of-short-stories structure that Tarantino has employed in so many of his films, as well as his fascination with the more violent aspects of history. History is one thing, though — this is true crime, and it’s uncharted territory for him.
Tarantino has been making feature films since 1992, and since then has been releasing movies pretty much once every three years (aside from the six-year break between Jackie Brown and the epic two parts of Kill Bill). His last movie was The Hateful Eight, and Lawrence had actually been in talks to appear in that film as Daisy, a role that would eventually go to Jennifer Jason Leigh, who made it her own. One fascinating tidbit: Tarantino described Daisy as "a Manson girl out West, like Susan Atkins or something." So this is obviously a story that’s been on his mind for a while.
Over the next few weeks and months, expect a lot of speculation about who could play whom in this movie — will Tarantino cast someone to portray Roman Polanski? Candice Bergen? We conjectured about Inglourious Basterds (Leonardo DiCaprio was rumored to be up for the role that eventually won Christoph Waltz an Oscar); Viggo Mortensen was approached for The Hateful Eight. In fact, the internet is littered with "I passed on a part in a Tarantino movie" stories — Sly Stallone waving off Louis Gara in Jackie Brown is my favorite. But thank god he did.
Discussing casting rumors is an American pastime, but Tarantino movies are subject to extra attention because, in recent years, his screenplays have tended to leak. This happened with Inglourious Basterds and, controversially, with The Hateful Eight. In fact, the leak of the Hateful script almost derailed the movie, with Tarantino deciding to go ahead with filming only after staging a public reading with what would be, for the most part, the final cast of the movie.
The internet has not gotten any more chill since The Hateful Eight, and where there’s demand, there’s supply. It would be more surprising if this thing didn’t eventually leak, in which case Tarantino’s temper and patience will again be tested.