Movies & TV

These Are The Unusual Ways Quentin Tarantino Cast Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood

Including writing letters in character and making artwork inspired by them.
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Quentin Tarantino isn't your average filmmaker, and his methods of putting together a cast are a bit more complex than throwing a dart into a pile of eight-by-ten glossy headshots. Some of his Once Upon A Time In... Hollywood actors have shed a bit more light on what it takes to put together a Tarantino film.

"It was such a crazy and unconventional audition experience," Harley Quinn Smith told the Hollywood Reporter. "I got to write some of my own audition material, which was definitely the coolest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve never worked with a director who knows exactly how he wants everything - how he wants it to sound, how he wants it to look, how he wants it to feel."

Tarantino doesn't seem to have one particular way of working out who's right for any specific role, instead chopping and changing to work out which combination of actors has the right feel.

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"He actually organized a really amazing callback process that was unlike anything I've ever been through... except for maybe auditioning for drama school," remembered Maya Hawke, who had the small advantage of doing an audition in her bedroom with her dad Ethan. "It was all day. We worked on the scene in many different ways and in many different combinations of people and eventually he found a group of people who were doing the scene in a way that he liked."

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How big a role do you reckon you could convincingly play in a Tarantino film?

Shocked bystander number seven.

I could get through probably four lines of dialogue.

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At other points, Tarantino would have actors play off against each other to fill out a character's backstory.

"When we got the sides, they sent two characters out and everybody auditioned for the same character," said Sydney Sweeney, who plays Snake. The character, not the game. "They said that we could do extra credit without elaborating on what that extra credit would be, such as write your own monologue. Some people made artwork for Quentin. I wrote a letter in character. We ended up getting callbacks and it was this workshop collaborative experience with Quentin at his office that lasted for six hours."

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This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.

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