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Quentin Tarantino courts disaster by asking audiences not to spoil Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Screenshot: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

There’s no easier way to be an anonymous asshole in this day and age than to be a spoiler guy. As we recently saw with Avengers: Endgame and Game Of Thrones, nothing tickles the egg avatars more than turning social media into a minefield for people who like enjoying things. Now, in a move that’s destined to spur these ghouls into action, Quentin Tarantino is politely asking those at the world premiere of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood to, well, keep it to themselves. Good luck with that, buddy.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will soon see its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, where, for the first time, audiences will consume Tarantino’s panoramic 1969-set tale of Rick, a washed-up actor (Leonardo DiCaprio), Cliff, his stuntman (Brad Pitt), and the California milieu that played host to Charles Manson (Damon Herriman), Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), Steve McQueen (Damian Lewis), and Bruce Lee (Mike Moh). How they all intersect is yet to be seen—and Tarantino would prefer you don’t hear about it secondhand.


“I love cinema. You love cinema. It’s the journey of discovering a story for the first time,” he wrote in a letter posted to the film’s Twitter account.I’m thrilled to be here in Cannes to share Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood with the festival audience. The cast and crew have worked so hard to create something original, and I only ask that everyone avoids revealing anything that would prevent later audiences from experiencing the film in the same way.”

Tarantino’s succeeded at maintaining an air of mystery around the project, sharing only one brief teaser, some images, and a few posters for films-within-the-film. A recent Entertainment Weekly piece, though, offered a bit more context.

Producer David Heyman asserted that the film isn’t about the Manson cult so much as it is “the loss of innocence” that accompanied both the murderer and the changes the era brought to the industry. “It’s the three classes of Hollywood,” Heyman said. “There’s the high Hollywood of Sharon, the declining star of Rick, and there’s Cliff, who lives farther out and with more humble means.”


We’ll have a spoiler-free dispatch from our own A.A. Dowd following the premiere, though, in this day and age, even the vaguest of plot points can be considered as spoilers by some. Approach with caution and never, ever feed the trolls.

Randall Colburn is The A.V. Club's Internet Culture Editor. He lives in Chicago, occasionally writes plays, and was a talking head in Best Worst Movie, the documentary about Troll 2.

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