One of the most famous episodes of Quentin Tarantino’s career is the infamous leak of “The Hateful Eight” script in January 2014. Tarantino had only given the first draft of the script to a handful of collaborators when it leaked, prompting him to announce he would abandon the project as a directorial effort. The filmmaker told Deadline at the time the leak made him “very, very depressed.” Tarantino eventually changed his mind and directed “The Hateful Eight” anyway, but he has learned his lesson not to trust anyone when it comes to preserving his latest story.
In a new interview with Business Insider, Tarantino’s longtime cinematographer, Robert Richardson, said he didn’t get to finish the full script for “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” until well into the movie’s production. Tarantino’s ending takes a revisionist approach to history, and the director was so paranoid spoilers would leak that he kept the full screenplay in a safe. Only Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie read the script in its entirety before production, but they could only do so at Tarantino’s house with the director present. Richardson was only allowed to read the ending two months before the sequence was set to film.
“While were were in the production office, we went in a room with the ending,” Richardson said. “It was taken from a safe and they handed it to only those people who require it to be able to perform their tasks that are necessary.”
All of the other “Hollywood” actors not present in the film’s ending never got the full script, thus reducing the risk of a spoiler leak. Margret Qualley told IndieWire she was not allowed to read the full script, but she ended up learning about the ending from co-star Pitt.
The only other person who was allowed to read the entire script during production was a friend of Roman Polanski’s. Tarantino revealed to Deadline earlier this month he allowed Polanski’s friend to read the full script and report back to the director since the film featured Polanski and centered around the murder of his wife, Sharon Tate.
Tarantino’s paranoia is not unfounded given both his experience with “The Hateful Eight” script leak and the overall interest that stirs up around a new Tarantino project. Christopher Nolan projects earn a similar level of fan attention and his scripts are protected just as closely. Robert Pattinson said earlier this year he could only read the script for Nolan’s latest action film “Tenet” while locked in a room.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is now playing in theaters nationwide.