The new movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood features several characters who were (and are) real-life people, so you might be wondering if Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt‘s Cliff Booth are real people or not.
In the film, Rick Dalton is an actor who starred in a western TV series called Bounty Law, but has since seen his star fade. He was NOT a real person, but director and writer Quentin Tarantino based him on several actors.
Tarantino says he was inspired by Route 66 actor George Maharis, 77 Sunset Strip actor Edd Byrnes, and Bronco actor Ty Hardin, among others.
“These are all guys that were … a certain kind of leading man that were handsome and most of them were kinda rugged. They spent their careers running pocket combs through their pompadours. And then all of a sudden … the leading men are these long shaggy haired androgynous types,” Tarantino said on the Pure Cinema podcast. “If Rick’s gonna get a part in a movie with them he’s probably gonna be the cop that’s busting them.”
Brad plays stunt double Cliff Booth, who was also NOT a real person.
Tarantino was reportedly inspired by actor Burt Reynolds‘ relationship with his stunt double Hal Needham for the relationship between Rick and Cliff. Just like the two characters in the movie, the two guys worked together for years and even lived together at times.
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