This summer, writer/director Quentin Tarantino is returning to the world of alternate history fiction. It was 10 years ago that the filmmaker showed us a much different ending to World War II in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, and now he’s preparing to show us a whole new side of 1960s Los Angeles with his new movie ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. The film is primarily told through the point of view of fictional protagonists — specifically Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth — but they will be surrounded by plenty of real people from that era.
So, who are these famous folks? There are 12 of them total, played by some fantastic talent.
Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie)
Sharon Tate was an actress and model who was just starting a promising big screen career when she was struck by tragedy: In 1969, she was one of the most notable victims in the Manson Family murders. How she will be positioned in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD plot-wise remains unknown, though her presence is definitely significant as she moves in as the next door neighbor to Rick Dalton and Cliff Booth.
Charles Manson (Damon Herriman)
One of the most notorious figures of the 20th century, Charles Manson is best known as the founder of a cult that committed some incredibly heinous crimes before Manson was caught and convicted. He will be played by Australian actor Damon Herriman in the new movie, who is an actor best known for his work on television shows like "Justified" and "Mr. Inbetween."
Squeaky Fromme (Dakota Fanning)
Dakota Fanning will be making her first appearance in a Quentin Tarantino film, playing one of the most famous members of the Manson Family. While Squeaky Fromme wasn’t directly involved in the murder of Sharon Tate, she does have a violent record, having attempted to assassinate President Gerald Ford in 1975.
Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch), Voytek Frykowski (Costa Ronin) & Abigail Folger (Samantha Robinson)
Sharon Tate wasn’t alone in her home on the night of August 8, 1969, as she was joined by three friends — hair stylist Jay Sebring, screenwriter Voytek Frykowski and Frykowski’s girlfriend, Abigail Folger — all of whom were also killed by the Manson Family. Again, it’s not yet known how their fates may be different in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, where they will be played by Emile Hirsch, Costa Ronin and Samantha Robinson.
George Spahn (Bruce Dern)
Bruce Dern is basically a Quentin Tarantino regular at this point, as ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD will be his third movie collaborating with the director, after DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE HATEFUL EIGHT. The actor will be playing George Spahn, who was a ranch owner who permitted the Manson Family to live on his estate.
Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis)
Steve McQueen was a brilliant actor known for movies like BULLITT and THE TOWERING INFERNO, but he also had an interesting connection to the Manson Family killings — which will surely be included as part of Damian Lewis’ role in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. Not only was McQueen invited to Sharon Tate’s house the night she was murdered (he decided to spend a night in instead), but it was also later discovered that he was on the cult’s hit list.
James Stacy (Timothy Olyphant)
Not every real name in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD was involved directly in the case of the Manson Family. James Stacy, for example, was a notable actor on television shows in the Western genre, with roles on programs like "Lancer," "Gunsmoke" and "Have Gun – Will Travel."
Wayne Maunder (Luke Perry)
Wayne Maunder was another actor best known for his work on Westerns. In fact, he co-starred with James Stacy on the television series "Lancer." He will be played by Luke Perry in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, making the role his last big screen appearance due to his untimely death earlier this year.
Joanna Pettet (Rumer Willis)
Joanna Pettet, who will be played by Rumer Willis in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, is another real-life actor who will be portrayed in the Quentin Tarantino movie. Like others mentioned here, she bounced a lot between film and television — some of the most notable titles being the James Bond spoof CASINO ROYALE, the horror series "Night Gallery" and "The Love Boat."
Bruce Lee (Mike Moh)
Every cinephile knows the work of Bruce Lee, and given that Quentin Tarantino is basically King Cinephile, it’s tremendously exciting that he will be featured as a character in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. Played by Mike Moh, his specific role in the story is not yet known, but trailers have him featured working alongside Brad Pitt’s Cliff Booth in at least one choreographed on-set fight.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD — which also stars Kurt Russell, Al Pacino, Margaret Qualley, Dreama Walker, Clifton Collins Jr. and more — will be in AMC theatres on July 26.