With a dearth of new releases and cinemas shut for the foreseeable future, digital forms of media are thriving. Podcasts are seeing more takers than ever before. One such podcast, Amy Schumer’s 3 Girls, 1 Keith, recently hosted an interview with Quentin Tarantino. During the conversation, the filmmaker talked about his most recent release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, particularly Brad Pitt’s shirtless scene as Cliff Booth.
“It was funny because actually in public Brad is kind of shy about things like that. At the same time, he knows exactly what time it is. I go, ‘So, I’m thinking maybe you unbutton the Hawaiian shirt, and you peel that off, and then peel off the Champion T-shirt.’ He was like, ‘Really? You want me to go through all that button bullshit? I’ll just take it off in one bit. Go!'”
The scene in question has Brad Pitt climbing to the top of the house owned by Rick Dalton in order to fix an antenna. The hot summer air prompts Booth to take off his shirt, revealing his sculpted torso, and sending temperatures soaring among audiences as well. Quentin Tarantino further revealed that Pitt required very little direction from him to make the scene work.
“I’m like, okay, this guy knows exactly what time it is. Shut the fuck up and let the master do his job! Even when you see him in the work shed and the way he puts on the leather gloves and puts the wire in his mouth all butch and macho. He just knows what time it is.”
The scene may seem a bit gratuitous, not that anyone is complaining, but it does actually have a purpose. It serves to set up the fact that Booth, who in his younger days had been a good enough fighter to take on Bruce Lee, was still in excellent shape. This plot point comes into play at the end of the film when Booth takes on multiple assailants at the same time and dispatches them with ease.
While Dalton, played by Leonardo Dicaprio, was technically the lead of the movie, Pitt as Booth had an equally important narrative arc, as the out-of-work stunt double for Dalton who comes into contact with a group of hippies in his travels across Hollywood. The same hippies who would later be talked into going to Sharon Tate’s house and murdering her. But in a typical Tanrantinoesque fictional twist on real events, the would-be killers end up at Dalton’s house, where they are dealt with brutally by Dalton, Booth and his pet dog.
All the work that Pitt did to get into character as Cliff Booth ultimately paid off handsomely, as he won the best-supporting actor trophy for the role at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the Academy Awards. And with that, Cliff Booth has now become Pitt’s most decorated role, and a further testament to the filmmaking skill of Tarantino, and his ability to get the best out of his actors. This news comes from IndieWire.