At this point, who isn’t going to be in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood? We can now cross Lena Dunham off the list. The Hollywood Reporter reported on Wednesday that the actress and Girls creator has just joined the director’s star-studded look at 1969 Los Angeles.
The same goes for Austin Butler (formerly of Arrow and The Shannara Chronicles) and Lorenza Izzo, wife of Eli Roth and co-star of his Keanu Reeves-starrer Knock Knock. On top of that there’s also Maya Hawke, the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke.
Tarantino’s ninth movie — tenth if you count Kill Bill’s two volumes as separate movies — loosely revolves around the Manson murders. Leonardo DiCaprio will play a former Western TV actor and Brad Pitt his longtime stunt double — both has-beens struggling to make it in a dramatically changing industry. (Though they still both look fly.) As luck would have it, DiCaprio’s character lives right next to Sharon Tate (played by Margot Robbie).
This will mark Dunham’s first acting gig since Girls ended last year. Up till now, she’s mostly acted in TV shows and films written and/or directed by herself. Some exceptions are bit roles in films by indie horror director Ti West (House of the Devil, The Innkeepers), a scene-stealing supporting role in Joe Swanberg’s Happy Christmas and a memorable walk-on Judd Apatow’s This is 40.
It’s not clear who Dunham will play in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but then again, it’s not clear what half of the ever-swelling list of who’s-who actors will be doing in it. We know, for example, that Burt Reynolds will play George Spahn, owner of the disused Western ranch usurped by the Manson Clan. We know Damian Lewis will be doing his best Steve McQueen, that Dakota Fanning will be playing a Clan member, and that Emilie Hirsch will play Jay Sebring, one of their victims. We also know Al Pacino is going to be DiCaprio’s agent, that Luke Perry will play another Western actor and Bruce Lee will make an appearance, played by Mike Moh.
Still, we don’t know what Tarantino will be doing with the many other announced cast members, including Kurt Russell, Zoe Bell, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, James Marsden, James Remar, James Franco, Timothy Olyphant, and, now, Dunham. Given the filmmaker’s talent for outside-the-box casting, forcing us to see established stars like John Travolta and Pam Grier in a new light, one can only imagine what he has in store for her.
In the meantime, if you’re looking to brush up on your Manson lore before Tarantino’s latest arrives in July 2019, you can go back to Helter Skelter, the non-fiction account penned by the case’s prosecuting attorney Vincent Bugliosi. And you can plow through the season-long look at Manson, and his many Hollywood connections, that Karina Longworth did on her acclaimed film podcast You Must Remember This.
Update: Entertainment Weekly is reporting that Dunham’s role has since been specified. She’ll play Catherine “Gypsy” Share, a member of the Manson commune, along with Dakota Fanning. Meanwhile, Austin Butler will take on a character named Charles “Tex” Watson, the Chilean-born Lorenza Izzo will be an Italian actress and Maya Hawke get to play a character named “Flower Child.”