"Good, that's good. I think you're ready for the living statue audition."

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

The Abridged Script

FADE IN:

We kick things off with an EXTENDED LOOK at the fictional early-1960s show BOUNTY LAW starring LEONARDO DICAPRIO, which lasts JUST LONG ENOUGH to really evoke the stilted, lumbering pace of trashy 1960s shows. Speaking of stilted lumbering, MICHAEL MADSEN appears so be sure to check that off your BINGO CARD.

EXT. OLD-TIMEY INTERVIEW SHOT ALL OLD-TIMEY STYLE IN OLD-TIMEY BLACK AND WHITE

LEONARDO DICAPRIO and BRAD PITT are being interviewed by an OLD-TIMEY INTERVIEWER GUY.

INTERVIEWER

Hello fans! I'm here to tell you about a Hollywood entertainer who was once a huge deal, beloved by millions, but is now struggling to stay relevant, who is concerned his bag of tricks may have run out, who may be hopelessly mired in a bygone time, while the world moves on without him...

(pause)

(checks notes)

...and who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

WRITER/DIRECTOR QUENTIN TARANTINO

(exhales)

INTERVIEWER

So Leo, it says here that Brad Pitt, who looks like Brad Pitt, is your stunt double and NOT a Hollywood star, despite looking like Brad Pitt?

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

That's correct. And I'm sure everyone out there knows what a stunt double is, but let's explain it in detail anyway. Basically if at any time my big Lego head is even slightly at risk, they bring in Brad to do the scene just like I'd do it, but a zillion times sexier.

INTERVIEWER

I see. Would you agree with that assessment, Brad?

BRAD PITT

I dunno, would you?

(smiles, winks)

INTERVIEWER

(loosens tie, wipes brow, fans self)

Right then.

INT. 1960S RESTAURANT

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

LEONARDO and BRAD meet up with producer AL PACINO.

AL PACINO

I love your work Leo, for instance in that WWII movie with the flamethrower. Since it's a Chekov's flamethrower let's have a quick cutaway clip to set that up...

We cut away to a NOT-AT-ALL-QUICK CLIP of LEONARDO'S CHEESY WWII MOVIE which is A RATHER LENGTHY CLIP INDEED, like, you already did INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS QUENTIN, no need to dwell on this, but the clip KEEPS ON GOING and we're probably lucky we didn't just cut away to THE ENTIRE TWO-HOUR MOVIE.

AL PACINO

Um, okay. Like I said, great work. But you gotta be careful about getting typecast. Believe you ME! HOO-AH!!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Indeed, such is the aching dilemma of middle-aged middle-of-the-road made-up actor Rick Dalton! Has there ever been a more tragic struggle!

AL PACINO

So now you've got a guest part as a villain on Lancer, which, to be clear, is a real show that existed in the sixties and not something else that we made up. But you gotta be careful about always playing bad guys who lose in the end. People will start to think of you as a loser!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

You mean like those total wimps Christopher Lee and Jack Palance?

AL PACINO

Yeah, like those fucking schmucks. Instead you should go make Spaghetti Westerns. Starring in an endless string of cheap-ass knock-off B movies will be MUCH better for your image!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

I dunno man, those movies are such trash. I can't imagine it being a good career move.

AL PACINO

(chuckles)

What dramatic irony! For of course, the audience well knows that Sergio Leone's Dollars Trilogy would become beloved cinematic classics which turned former TV star Clint Eastwood into a mega-celebrity!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Uh huh. Meanwhile, can anybody name a single other movie from the entire genre?

AL PACINO

Weirdos like Quentin Tarantino can.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

BRAD drives LEONARDO back to his swanky house and then returns home to his BEAT-UP TRAILER, where he pours his BIG ATTACK DOG a GIGANTIC BOWL OF FOOD.

BRAD PITT

(clacks mouth)

ATTACK DOG

(cocks head)

What? I don't understand, there are no hippies here to maul to death.

BRAD PITT

No no no, that was the "you can eat now" clack, not the "maul hippies to death" clack.

ATTACK DOG

You can't blame me for being confused, they're very similar clacks.

BRAD PITT

(sighs)

Look, how about from now on out any clack I make is the "do whatever the fuck I want you to do" clack.

ATTACK DOG

Be a psychic murder hound, got it.

(devours own body weight in kibble)

EXT. PLAYBOY MANSION - THE GROTTO

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

The MANSION is hosting a bunch of 1960s stars, including MARGOT ROBBIE as SHARON TATE and DAMIAN LEWIS as STEVE MCQUEEN! Everyone parties at the GROTTO in a CLEAN-CUT, AW-SHUCKS, WHOLESOME FASHION.

PARTY-GOER #1

Wow, look at all these stars! Maybe we'll see Ossie Davis, Eartha Kitt, or Sidney Poitier! Or even an undiscovered Richard Roundtree, we know how much Tarantino loves Shaft-

PARTY-GOER #2

Well Roundtree's in New York, and we can't just go changing history after all. As for the others...

(looking around)

Nnnnope, sorry. But look, there's Margot partying with both her EX-husband, Emile Hirsh as Jay Sebring, and her NEW husband, some poor bastard as Roman Polanski!

ROMAN POLANSKI

(dancing)

Ah, it's a good thing this isn't some alternate universe where notorious criminals get hyper-violently murdered before they commit their world-famous offences!

MARGOT ROBBIE

(dances)

EXT. THE TATE/POLANSKI HOUSE

The following day, DAMON HERRIMAN shows up outside the house.

DAMON HERRIMAN

Hello, do the previous owners of this house still live here? They're friends of the... family.

(wink)

Anyway, I'm... Charlie.

(wink, wink)

Like, even in the credits they just list me as "Charlie". Don't know why we're being so coy about all this.

(wink)

EMILE HIRSCH

I don't know, my ex-wife might have their forwarding address. If you come back later-

DAMON HERRIMAN

Fuck that, no way am I sticking around to be in the third act of a Tarantino movie. Besides, I've got to be on set for Mindhunters in half an hour, they cast me as-

(checks)

Charles Manson AGAIN?! Holy shit, Pacino gave the warning about getting typecast to the wrong guy.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD SET

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

BRAD drops off LEO at the studio.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

I dunno Brad. Who's gonna care about this schlock down the line?

BRAD PITT

Don't look glum pardner. Decades from now, tons of writer/directors will be strip-mining this kind of shit ironically to make meta-trash. Hang in there.

(drives off)

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

After some DRIVING, BRAD arrives at a HOUSE to repair an ANTENNA.

CUE: A BIT LESS POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

Grabbing his gear, BRAD parkours up to the ROOF--

CUE: MID-LEVEL-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

--lights a cigarette--

CUE: SEMI-DEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

--and reminisces.

INT. TRAILER - FLASHBACK

CUE: SLIGHTLY EARLIER SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

To begin the flashback, BRAD remembers a meeting between LEO and KURT RUSSELL that he wasn't at.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

C'mon Kurt, you gotta hire Brad! We're a team! Nobody else can stunt-drive in a way that precisely mimics the way I would stunt-drive, if I knew how to stunt-drive!

KURT RUSSELL

Look I know he's a war hero of something, but he also killed his wife with a harpoon, and possibly not by accident! And for some unfathomable reason my wife doesn't like wife murderers.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Wait a minute, Brad's the big hero of this movie, and you're saying he might ALSO be a homicidal mysogynist psychopath or some shit? In a way that classlessly evokes Nathalie Wood? Where the fuck are we going with this?

KURT RUSSELL

Fucked if I know. But it sure is edgy! Now forget I ever brought that up.

Outside, BRAD meets BRUCE LEE played by MIKE MOH!

MIKE MOH

As people who knew him are aware, Bruce Lee would never run his mouth or pick fights. So I'm going to do both those things.

BRAD PITT

I'll fight you, since I'm not only a stuntman, parkour champion, animal whisperer, and war hero, I'm also a martial arts expert! What did they call Mary Sues in the 1960s anyway?

MIKE uses a FLYING KICK to knock BRAD to the ground!

BRAD PITT

Nice move. Try that again.

MIKE MOH

All right, like any savvy fighter, I WILL use exactly the same move again, especially since you know it's coming--

(slammed into car)

Okay that was my fault.

They continue to FIGHT until KURT'S WIFE, ZOE BELL, breaks it up like RIGHT before BRAD was totes gonna win the fight anyway, for realz.

EXT. BACK ON THE ROOFTOP

CUE: SLIGHTLY LATER SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

BRAD PITT

Yep, that Bruce Lee sure was a jerkface. Or is that just how I choose to REMEMBER it? We won't tell! I'm sure Lee's real-life friends will appreciate this subtle narrative unreliability.

INT. MOVIE THEATRE

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

MARGOT ROBBIE goes to see a SHARON TATE movie.

THEATRE OWNER

How may I help-

MARGOT ROBBIE

(dances)

THEATRE OWNER

Oh, Ms. Tate! Do come right in, allow me to give you free tickets to the No Shoes section.

MARGOT puts up her BARE FEET (....yeah) and watches the REAL SHARON TATE in the movie, back in the magical fairytale time when women could get roles that asked little more than to LOOK PRETTY and FALL OVER.

MARGOT ROBBIE

(dances)

EXT. "LANCER" SET

LEONARDO arrives to do his bad guy role and meets CHILD ACTRESS JULIA BUTTERS.

JULIA BUTTERS

Might I ask what you're reading? I of course am studying Stanislavki's "An Actor Prepares" in the original Russian. Is that perhaps a reprint of his "Building a Character"?

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Naw, it's just this dime-store paperback called "Leo the Loser", about a cowboy called Leoshmardo DiShmaprio who used to be a real famous cowboy on a popular ranch, but now he's a useless and terrible middle-aged piece of shit who can barely scrounge up work and might have to go to Italy and work on cheap Spaghetti ranches-

(bawls)

AW FUCK ME that's the last time I shop in the Bleak Metaphor for Your Own Life section of Barnes & Noble.

He goes and films a scene with TIMOTHY OLYPHANT.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

These prootzels are making me thristy. Wait, that's not it. Let me try again.

(pause)

These portholes are making me thursday GODDAMNIT

DIRECTOR

LEO YOU FUCKNUT WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU I HATE YOU PLEASE DIE

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

YOU'RE RIGHT I'M TERRIBLE I MUST GO TO MY TRAILER AND THROW A FIT OF SELF-LOATHING

(runs off, crying and beating his own head with his fists)

TIMOTHY OLYPHANT

...Sure, because an actor blanking on a couple of lines isn't a thing that happens every single day on every single production in Hollywood. Get it together guys.

EXT. HOLLYWOOD

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

BRAD PITT drives easily around HOLLYWOOD which BLOWS THE FUCKING MIND of anyone currently living in LA. He drives and drives. Drives further down the road. Then drives.

BRAD PITT

...Say, Quentin, feel like saying "Cut" anytime?

(pause)

Or maybe "action"? Is that what we're waiting for?

Instead he does some additional DRIVING. On the STREET. In his CAR. Yep, he sure is DRIVING. STILL. Then he DRIVES some more until suddenly a GOLDEN DRAGON bursts out of the road and uses its TELEPORTATION BREATH to transport him to SNACKFOOD WORLD FULL OF AERO-BAR BANDITS AND GUMDROP SOLDIERS where he grabs the ENCHANTED LICORICE SWORD and CHARGES INTO DELICIOUS BATTLE at which point the AUDIENCE abruptly WAKES UP having been LULLED TO SLEEP by the endless scene. They squint blearily, find that they have missed NOTHING and BRAD is STILL DRIVING, and seriously consider returning to SLEEP.

QUENTIN TARANTINO

(running out in front of the screen)

But don't you see, I'm using extended shots of naturally-lit outdoor scenes, condensed through use of semi-random jump cuts, while little action takes place, much like the filmmaking techniques which were pioneered in the French New Wave of the fifties and sixties, and then bled through to American cinema right around the time this movie is set! Haven't any of you seen Zabriskie Point?

BRAD PITT

Don't worry, Quentin, I appreciate your psychotically obsessive verisimilitude! I can't wait to see the climax, where surely you'll follow through with a period-appropriate low-key finale, rather than the usual over-stylized hyper-edited Tarantino gorefest.

QUENTIN TARANTINO

Um... anything is possible... look the point is I really want you all to know that I worked really really hard on this. I wrote FIVE fucking episodes of Bounty Law! For real!

(leaves in a huff)

Finally an actual EVENT takes place. BRAD picks up hitchhiker MARGARET QUALLEY who, unbeknownst to him, is part of the, ah, CHARLES CHUMS!

MARGARET QUALLEY

Thanks, stranger. Check out my... BARE FEET!

(sighs)

Sure nice of you to drive me home. Would you like a blowjob?

BRAD PITT

(loudly)

DON'T BE SILLY YOU ARE UNDERAGED SO THAT MIGHT GET ME ARRESTED, WHICH WOULD BE THE REAL TRAGEDY! But seriously I think we want to maintain SOME possibility that I'm a mythic hero type, so no thanks.

EXT. CHARLIE'S CLOSE RELATIVES FARM

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES POP SONG

BRAD arrives and drops off MARGARET. Realizing this is an old studio owned by acquaintance BRUCE DERN, BRAD decides to take a look around.

BRAD PITT

Does Bruce Dern know y'all are using his place?

DAKOTA FANNING

Why yes, and if you go and ask him that's exactly what he'll tell you, then you can be on your way in mere minutes.

(pause)

Uh I mean, NUN'YER BIZNESS! Everyone act shifty as fuck! Stall and drag this out as long as possible, maximizing the odds Brad will figure out what's really happening!!

BRAD heads in to see BRUCE, who is lying half-asleep in his old-man pajamas.

BRUCE DERN

Yeah, Dakota's telling the truth. I am, as she claims, a blind and useless old fart who is harboring a dangerous cult on my property in exchange for sexual favors from women sixty years my junior.

(pause)

Did you know this was nearly Burt Reynolds's final film role? He dodged a bullet there, if you ask me.

Mollified, BRAD heads back to his CAR only to find that one of the CULT LOONIES has stabbed his TIRE.

CULT LOONY

Hsss, we don't want you here, asshole! Therefore I have just delayed your departure significantly! In my defense, I'm pretty sure we're all on loooots of drugs.

BRAD changes his TIRE using the CULT LOONEY'S FACE as a LUG WRENCH and drives away.

INT. BACK AT THE "LANCER" SET

We are treated to another SUPER FUCKING LONG excerpt of "LANCER" which, judging by this movie anyway, is CHEESY AS SHIT and would probably have been better off relegated to BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURE status.

LUKE PERRY

And I'm here too! In the role of "guy who stands quietly by and is wallpaper while Leo chews every bit of scenery and hogs all attention for himself".

(pause)

This actually WAS my last screen role.

(sighs)

Oh well, at least I went out on something that was released in theatres...

JULIA BUTTERS

Wow, Leo, in contrast to your earlier incompetence you were terrific in this scene! Like, way better than a D-list washed-up TV star from the sixties plausibly could be!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

I was?! Shit, sometimes there's so many layers of meta-pulp it's hard to tell anymore.

(beams)

But you're right, everybody loved me just now! My self-confidence has been restored after Pacino demolished it earlier! So I guess now my nervous, self-doubting impulse to follow his advice and resort to starring in cheap bottom-of-the-barrel Spaghetti Westerns will have been quelled, and FUCK IT I'LL DO THAT ANYWAY.

EXT. SIX MONTHS LATER!

CUE: SEMI-POPULAR SIXTIES-PLUS-SIX-MONTHS POP SONG

Suddenly QUENTIN realizes that KURT RUSSELL has fuckall left to do in this movie so he throws some VOICEOVER TEXT at him.

KURT RUSSELL (V/O)

Yep, we've jumped ahead six months to right before Sharon Tate was murdered in real life, and to ratchet things up I'm going to tell you what's happening on screen like some sort of lazy DVD commentary.

(pause)

So Leo and Brad went and made spaghetti Westerns after all, and Leo got married though his wife is such a barely sketched-out character it hardly matters. Roman Polanski left town, having fulfilled his mission to make the audience uncomfortable as shit.

(pause)

Also Leo and Brad decided to split up, which was probably an intense and dramatic conversation so good thing we skipped it.

(pause)

I'm enjoying narrating so much let's start breaking events waaaaay down. Like telling you where everyone had dinner, what the forecast was, current sports scores, did you notice Brad's socks? He's about to adjust them. 4:42 pm, Brad adjusts his socks.

BRAD and LEO watch some of LEO'S television work and then BRAD walks his dog while smoking an acid cigarette. However at the bottom of the hill are some cast members of CHARLES IN CHARGE: namely AUSTIN BUTLER, MADISEN BEATY, MIKEY MADISON, and MADSEN MICHAELS MAYA HAWKE!

AUSTIN BUTLER

Aw yeah, here we go to commit horrible murder.

They slowly drive ALL THE WAY UP THE HILL.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

(outside house)

Hey, fuck you hippies! Fuck off!

They slowly drive ALL THE WAY BACK DOWN THE HILL.

MADISEN BEATY

On second thought, maybe we should kill Leonardo instead.

They begin walking ALL THE WAY BACK UP THE HILL.

MAYA HAWKE

Wait a sec, I'm supposed to be shooting Stranger Things.

She goes BACK DOWN THE HILL and drives away in the CAR. The others walk ALL THE REST OF THE WAY UP THE HILL. Then they burst in to the HOUSE and find BRAD waiting with his PSYCHIC ATTACK HOUND!

AUSTIN BUTLER

Aha, I have you at gunpoint, Brad! You're fucked now!

BRAD PITT

The entire audience knows that I'm not. Don't pretend like you don't know where this is going.

AUSTIN BUTLER

No man, clearly I'm about to murder the shit out of you and your dog and Leo and Leo's wife, then go over next door to Margot's place and events will transpire exactly as they historically did.

BRAD PITT

Dude. We've gone well out of our way to establish that I'm a murderous psychopath with god-level martial arts skills and a superintelligent pit bull at my command. The whole point of my character is to eventually kill everybody, and the acid cigarette is the only reason I haven't already cut you in half with my bare hands. Now, which part of you should my deathhound eat first?

AUSTIN BUTLER

(shoulders slump)

My balls, I guess.

ATTACK DOG

Oh geez, could I not just rip all their throats out? We'd be done in like 10 seconds and you wouldn't even have to put out your cigarette...

BRAD PITT

(clacks mouth)

ATTACK DOG

Okay yes, I did knowingly sign up for a Tarantino movie. Fine.

BRAD'S DOG dutifully begins TESTICLE-MAULING while BRAD pulverizes MADISEN'S FACE against every last surface in the entire house, to a disturbingly thorough degree. Then BRAD'S DOG switches to munching on MIKEY'S FACE until she has NO EYES! She FLAILS AND SCREAMS much like DARYL HANNAH FROM KILL BILL because now QUENTIN has made enough movies that he can just rip off HIS OWN MOVIES.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Wait, I can still help!

(flamethrowers utterly defeated eyeless enemy who is floundering in pool)

Aw yeah, it's another triumph for Rick Dalton, with a small assist from Brad!

MARGOT ROBBIE and her friends are SAVED, and even MORE importantly LEO GETS A CAREER BOOST!!!

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

(beaming)

Once more, the magic of Hollywood has saved the day, and everything is great for everyone! I feel like a million bucks, we should do this again sometime!!

(thinks)

Say Margot, when's your husband due back?

MARGOT ROBBIE

(dances, pregnantly)

BRAD PITT

I'll reload the flamethrower.

END

CREDITS

INT. BONUS FAKE BLACK-AND-WHITE 1960S COMMERCIAL

We are at a GENERIC RUGGED LOCATION. LEONARDO strolls into frame with a pack of CIGARETTES, looks at the CAMERA, and smiles.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO

Hi there. I'm Leonardo DiCaprio, and I smoke Red Apple cigarettes. Smooth, tasty Red Apple.

(smokes)

They're Leo's cigarettes. So smooth. Remember, smoke Red Apple, the only cigarette with Red Apple smoothness. The only cigarette taste recommended by me, Leonardo DiCaprio.

(smiles)

That's Red Apple. The smooth cigarette. The one with taste. The taste... of smoothness.

(smokes)

Red Apple. Leo's choice.

(smiles)

The choice for smoothness... and taste. That's why when Leonardo DiCaprio asks for cigarettes, I ask for: Red Apple. Red Apple, the only cigarette with CAN WE FUCKING END THIS FUCKING TAKE ALREADY

END

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