Bobby Beausoleil was an actor and porn star. He appeared in the documentary film Mondo Hollywood, also featuring Sebring. Catherine Share met Beausoleil on the set of the softcore porn film Ramrodder. Beausoleil introduced Share to Manson. Atkins met Manson in San Francisco, where she had worked as an actress, portraying a vampire on Anton LaVey's Witches Sabbath Club Show. LaVey appeared with Beausoleil in Lucifer Rising, and claimed to have been a consultant on and appeared as the Devil in Polanski's Rosemary's Baby.
On the night of August 8, 1969, Patricia Krenwinkel, Charles Watson, and Susan Atkins broke into Polanski's and Tate's house, leading to the murders of Tate (eight-and-a-half months pregnant), Sebring, Wojciech Frykowski, and Abigail Folger. In the film, they go to Tate's house to commit the murders but instead end up breaking into Dalton's house after he interrupts them. Linda Kasabian went along that night as she was the only Family member with a valid driver's license, though she did not murder anyone and stayed outside the whole time. In the film, she also goes along but does not participate. Watson told his victims, "I'm the Devil, and I came to do the Devil's business." In the film, he says it to Cliff Booth. In the film, Atkins convinces the others to seek revenge by killing Rick Dalton, star of a TV western. Since TV taught them to kill, it is fitting they kill the guy from TV, and "My idea is to kill the people who taught us to kill!" In real life, Manson Family member Nancy Pitman said: "We are what you have made us. We were brought up on your TV. We were brought up watching Gunsmoke and Have Gun – Will Travel." Sandra Good said: "You want to talk about devils and demonic and immorals and evil, go to Hollywood. We don't touch the evil of that world. We don't even skim it."More Info
Rick Dalton is an actor who starred in the fictitious television western series Bounty Law, based on the real-life series Wanted Dead or Alive, starring Steve McQueen. Dalton's relationship with Cliff Booth is based on Burt Reynolds' with his longtime stunt double Hal Needham. Dalton was inspired by actors whose careers began in Classical Hollywood but faltered in the 1960s, such as Ty Hardin, who went from starring in a successful TV western to making spaghetti westerns, as well as by Ralph Meeker. Though not mentioned in the film, Dalton apparently suffers from undiagnosed bipolar disorder, inspired by Pete Duel.More Info
When casting the leads, Tarantino invited Pitt, DiCaprio, and Robbie to his house to read the only copy of the full script, to prevent leaks. When Butler auditioned, he did not know which character it was for. Tarantino told him it was for a villain or a hero on Lancer, when in fact it was for "Tex" Watson. To prepare for her audition, Maya Hawke practiced with her father, Ethan Hawke. She said the process was unlike any other except maybe auditioning for drama school, and during it they worked on the scene in many different ways, with different combinations of people. Willis auditioned for two roles, neither of which she got, then was offered the part of Joanna Pettet. Sydney Sweeney said everyone she auditioned with did so for the same character, then were told they could do extra credit. Some did artwork, and she wrote a letter in character. Julia Butters says her sitcom American Housewife was on while Tarantino was writing her character, Trudi Fraser. He looked up and said, "Maybe she can try this."More Info
After the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino cut ties with Weinstein and sought a new distributor, after having worked with Weinstein for his entire career. At this point, Leonardo DiCaprio was revealed to be among a short list of actors Tarantino was considering for the film. A short time later, reports circulated that studios were bidding for the film set in Los Angeles in the late 1960s, that Tom Cruise was in talks for one of the leads, and that David Heyman had joined as a producer, along with Tarantino and Shannon McIntosh. Tarantino later revealed the role Cruise was considered for to be that of Cliff Booth.More Info
On the set of Batman, for a crossover episode with The Green Hornet, a fight was scripted with Kato (Bruce Lee) losing to Robin (Burt Ward). When Lee received the script, he refused to do it, so it was changed to a draw. When the cameras rolled, Lee stalked Ward until Ward backed away. Lee laughed and told him he was "lucky it is a TV show." In the film, Cliff Booth reminisces about fighting Lee on the set of The Green Hornet; the fight is interrupted before its conclusion, after each fighter has won one round. Booth refers to Lee as "Kato."More Info
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