Quentin Tarantino Explained Exactly What Happened To Rick Dalton After Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Things were looking up for Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Rick Dalton at the end of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The waning Western star capped the film by helping his friend and stunt double Cliff Booth dispatch three murderous Charles Manson acolytes, and finally got to meet his famous young neighbor Sharon Tate. And in an interview with The Wrap ahead of next Sunday’s Academy Awards, where the film stands nominated for 10 prizes, Tarantino revealed just what happened to Dalton after the credits rolled.
“The whole incident with the flamethrower and the hippies got a lot of play,” he told The Wrap. “No one quite knows what a big deal that was, but it was still a big deal. And it’s a big deal that he killed ‘em with the flamethrower, with the prop from one of his most popular movies. So he starts becoming in demand again.
“And so he gets offered a couple of features—low-budget ones, but studio ones,” the director continued:
But the thing is, on the episodic-TV circuit, he’s a bigger name now. He’s not quite Darren McGavin, all right? Darren McGavin would get paid the highest you could get paid as a guest star back in that time. But Rick’s about where John Saxon was, maybe just a little bit higher. So he’s getting good money and doing the best shows. And the episodes are all built around him.
So as opposed to doing Land of the Giants and Bingo Martin, now he’s the bad guy on Mission: Impossible, and it’s his episode.
Oh, and he does a Vince Edwards show, Matt Lincoln. Or a Glenn Ford show, Cade’s County. And that’s a big deal, ’cause he did Hell-Fire Texas with Glenn Ford and they didn’t really get along. But now they bury the hatchet and they make a big deal about the two guys doing it together. And then he does a couple of Paul Wendkos’ TV movies.
“And you know, he’s doing OK,” he concluded. (The Wrap noted that Tarantino submitted this made-up resume to IMDb, but the movie database passed on it.)
If you’re not as well-versed in TV trivia as Quentin Tarantino—and really, who is—Darren McGavin might be best known to those who weren’t watching TV in the ‘60s as the dad from Billy Madison, while horror fans know John Saxon from his multiple roles in Wes Craven films (he’s the final girl’s cop father in Nightmare on Elm Street). Land of the Giants was a sci-fi show that ran for just two seasons in the late ‘60s, while Bingo Martin appears to be one of the titles that Tarantino made up for the film. Matt Lincoln and Cade’s County were a short-lived doctor show and Western, respectively, Glenn Ford starred in films like Blackboard Jungle and 3:10 to Yuma, and Paul Wendkos was a prolific TV director.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.