A new theory for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has made a bold shout about the Quentin Tarantino film.
The director’s latest feature, which was released in 2019, follows a fictional actor and his trusty stuntman as they navigate the Los Angeles film scene in 1969.
Events play out to the backdrop of the Manson family murders, which resulted in the death of five people, including film star Sharon Tate.
Margot Robbie appears in the film as Tate – however, instead of depicting her murder, the film shows an alternative outcome to the tragedy that sees her live to build a friendship with Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Cliff Booth.
However, while the film is essentially a revisionist Tarantino fairytale (see also: Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained), one viewers have questioned whether Robbie was ever playing Tate at all.
The scene Reddit user prophet_of_mars_1981 uses to back up their point is the moment in which Tate decides to drop into a cinema to see her new film, The Wrecking Crew.
When she tells the box office attendant that she’s “in the movie”, they seem unconvinced and unsure who Tate actually is. “You’re in this?” they ask – and when Tate points out her role, they still don’t believe she is who she says she is, despite knowing she’s the star of Valley of the Dolls.
Robbie’s character responds: “Well, that’s me, the girl from Valley of the Dolls,” to which the ticket attendant replies: “Really?’”
When she gets another cinema employee involved, he also seems unsure that this person is Robbie. She then poes in front the poster “so people will know who you are”.
With this theory in mind, these exchanges make it seem as if Robbie playing a person who knows they look like Tate and is trying their luck. Add to this the fact that Tarantino shows actual footage of the real Tate in The Wrecking Crew, and it heightens the notion that Robbie’s character isn’t actually Tate at all.
The only thing detracting from the theory is the scene in which Steve McQueen (played by Damian Lewis) references Tate at a party that they’re both attending alongside her friends, including hairstylist Jay Sebring.
Tarantino himself debunked this theory during an interview with IMDb at the time of the film’s release. He explicitly stated that Robbie was playing Tate and that he liked the idea of showing the real Tate on screen.