Harper Perennial has debuted an official trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming novelization of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” and it’s jam-packed with never-before-scene footage from the director’s ninth feature film. “Hollywood” was a critical and commercial hit when it opened theatrically in July 2019 following a world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. The film grossed $374 million worldwide and picked up 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. Brad Pitt won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” novelization trailer, which can be viewed exclusively on Entertainment Weekly (IndieWire will include video below when it becomes embeddable), showcases footage Tarantino left on the cutting room floor for the movie’s theatrical cut. “Hollywood” ran 161 minutes in theaters, but Tarantino’s assembly cut was around four hours. Never-before-seen footage featured in the trailer includes new scenes with Al Pacino’s Marvin Schwarz and Damon Herriman’s Charles Manson. Herriman had a lot of buzz going into “Hollywood” for playing the infamous serial killer, but he only appeared in one brief scene in the theatrical cut.
The trailer for the “Hollywood” novelization ends with another unseen moment featuring Julia Butters’ character, child actor Trudi Fraser, calling Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton to rave about a scene they shot together during the making of “Lancer.” “Hollywood” producer David Heyman told IndieWire after the film opened in theaters that Butters would’ve earned an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress had Tarantino left her scenes in the theatrical cut.
“Quentin is adept at throwing out a great scene,” Heyman said. “If she was in, she’d get an Oscar nomination for that performance. But it didn’t serve the film. It’s all about the film rhythm, to get where it needs to be. He cut out fantastic scenes, and reshaped things that made sense of the film as a whole.”
Tarantino joined the “Pure Cinema Podcast” earlier this month to discuss the upcoming “Hollywood” book, saying, “It’s not just me taking the screenplay and then breaking it down in a novelistic form. I retold the story as a novel. So it’s not like, ‘Oh, OK, well he obviously had a few scenes left over, so he just took the screenplay and novelized it and threw in a few extra scenes.’ It was a complete rethinking of the entire story and not just a rethinking as far as throwing some scenes that were left out of the editing room. But I did so much research.”
Tarantino continued, “I was writing it for five years, so there was so much stuff that I wrote and I explored that I never even typed up, because there was no way it was going to make the movie, but it was edification, it made me understand the characters, it made me learn things about them…I’m trying to tell a novelistic version of these characters. If the book existed first, then the movie would be me making a movie out of that material. You know how you take an unwieldy novel and try to turn it into a movie? Well, to me, the movie is that. This is the unwieldy version of the movie.”
One part of the book Tarantino touted was several chapters fleshing out the backstory of Pitt’s stuntman Cliff Booth. The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” novel releases June 29 via Harper Perennial.