(Warning: Extreme spoilers for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood will be found below.)
Much of the conversation surrounding Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been about the death, or lack thereof, of Sharon Tate, as played by Margot Robbie. She lives when in real life, she, well, didn’t. But what about the movie’s other major death? We learn about a quarter into Hollywood that Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) has a, let’s say, “reputation” as the guy who killed his wife, Billie. But did he? We never learn what happened on that boat — the flashback cuts away before we see what happens with that harpoon gun — stirring debate over whether Cliff is a murderer (before he commits actual homicide in the third act, but they were only some no-good Manson Family members, so that’s fine).
When asked whether Cliff killed his wife, Rebecca Gayheart, who plays Billie, told Entertainment Weekly, “Obviously we have an answer to that, but I don’t want to spoil it. I think the beauty of that question is that it’s a question that lingers and it colors how you feel about Cliff and the whole movie because is he the good guy that you think he is or isn’t he? And that was intentional.” It’s a canny move by writer Quentin Tarantino, making us root for the charismatic dog lover and Rick Dalton’s ride-or-die… but perhaps he’s hiding a dark, murderous secret (that apparently everyone in Hollywood knows about):
“I think he [Tarantino] made a really, really smart choice actually in giving the audience the opportunity to sort of decide for themselves based on how they see Cliff living in the film. He’s got a very humble existence with his dog and he kinda stays out of trouble. But then you have those moments where, I think it was Kurt Russell, was like, ‘I don’t want him on set, he’s a wife killer.’ There’s definitely doubt put in your head and that’s what makes the movie fun. If you didn’t have those questions, you know, would we be talking about it right now?”
Gayheart confirmed that “lots of other scenes” between Cliff and Billie were filmed, and while she’s not sure how (or even if) they’ll be released, “I tend to believe that that question will be answered at some point.” Maybe in the miniseries.
⠀ (__/) cliff booth
＿ノ ヽ ノ＼＿
`/ `/ ⌒Ｙ⌒ Ｙ ヽ .
( (三ヽ人 / |
| ﾉ⌒＼ ￣￣ヽ ノ
｜( 王 ﾉ〈 (__/) rick dalton
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— Nick Usen (@nickusen) August 31, 2019