Robert Richardson and Producer David Heyman Reveal Why They Work With Tarantino
Tarantino's Oscar-winning DP and the producer of the Harry Potter films explain their reaction to reading the Once Upon a Time In Hollywood script and why they signed on for Tarantino's latest.
Once Upon a Time In Hollywood came out in July -- to much praise and, ahem, some controversy -- and Film Twitter and movie fans are still talking about it. Quentin Tarantino's revisionist history on 1969 Hollywood, and the Sharon Tate movies, is a very welcomed, very old school original achievement in a year dominated by franchises and sequels. It's that old school approach that Tarantino's collaborators -- frequent cinematographer Robert Richardson and first-time QT colleague producer David Hayman -- found from the jump on this project. And it all started with the script.
In a recent interview with Deadline, Heyman (Gravity) explained how the London-based producer couldn't wait to get his hands on Hollywood's script. First, he had to go to the writer's house.
“When I got the call to come out to meet Quentin, I leapt at the chance,” Heyman said. “I flew to America and I read the script in one of Quentin’s spare rooms. It’s a little nerve-wracking to know you need to speak to the writer-director as soon as you’re done. A couple of hours passed — it’s a lengthy script [fellow panelist Robert Richardson revealed the first draft he read was 170 pages, without the third act] — and Quentin came in and said, ‘What do you think…?’ I shouted, ‘Get out!’, because I was so immersed in the narrative and the emotion.”
So much same, Heyman...
Unlike most filmmakers, Tarantino is able to cut through the noise of CG f**k-a-thon blockbusters and get studios to bankroll his original ideas at near-tentpole prices. He is a brand onto himself, and the passion for his projects is felt by both that watch them and make them.
"This is Quentin’s most emotional film," Heyman said. "Rick Dalton [played by Leonardo DiCaprio] is struggling with his obsolescence, with no longer being relevant. There’s a whole melancholy around that. It’s also about an incredible friendship [between Dalton and stunt double Cliff Booth, played by Brad Pitt]. And it’s also a very personal film for Quentin.”
It's that personal touch that inspires even veterans like Richardson. Because Tarantino is not a director that takes "for hire" jobs, that helps make each film he puts out that much more special. Richardson, who has won three Oscars and has worked with Oliver Stone (JFK) and Martin Scorsese, knows how increasingly rare -- and especially privileged -- it is to have a filmmaker like QT continuing to advocate for the creative and commercial success of movies based on original ideas in a Hollywood driven by IP.
“Quentin is like Martin [Scorsese] and Oliver Stone. I don’t believe you can make a film that’s great unless you have a director who is burning at the highest level possible. It cannot be a ‘go to’ job. Quentin does not ‘go to’; he burns. And it’s a pleasure to be within that fire.”
Which Tarantino movie has inspired you the most? Sound off in the comments below.