At first glance, the first trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is merely a pulpy, colorful look at a sprawling cast of beautiful people in ’60s clothes. But there’s so much hidden in every delectable frame of this trailer. So much Hollywood history, great little references to 1969, and perhaps best of all: and so many figures of the time and industry.
Here’s a rundown of all of the real-life famous people tucked into the frames of the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood trailer.
The opening scene of the trailer shows Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) being interviewed by an unnamed anchor. That’s actor Spencer Garrett who gives off a Tom Brokaw vibe. This may, indeed, be who he’s playing; Brokaw was an anchor for NBC Nightly News in Los Angeles from 1963 to 1973, which would place him in the time and place of the film.
Dalton and Booth are fictional characters, but as evidenced from the trailer and from anecdotes from Tarantino, they appear to be based on Burt Reynolds and his stunt double Hal Needham. The pair had such a tight working and personal relationship that Needham even lived in Reynolds’ guest home for a time. From the film’s plot, we know that Dalton is the former star of a series called Bounty Law, which recalls Reynolds’ time on Gunsmoke.
The trailer also gives us several looks at Margot Robie as Sharon Tate, including this moment where she is shown dancing in front of a psychedelic background, wearing a dress that says “Hollywood.” I can’t place this exact moment—it looks fictionalized to me—but it does recall both the mod visuals of Tate’s film Valley of the Dolls and also a famous clip from the film The Wrecking Crew when she danced for the camera in a similar fashion.
This is our first good look at the Manson girls, Charles Manson’s (more on him in a bit) cult followers. At the front is The Leftovers‘ Margaret Qualley, who’s playing a character named Kitty Kat. This is likely a nod to real-life Manson girl Kitty Lutesinger. Kevin Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, is also playing a Manson girl, the one second from the right.
This shot is one of the more exciting in the trailer, as it shows Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) and Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch) fighting poolside at a house that bears a striking resemblance to the one Tate and Sebring were later murdered in. Sebring was a famous Hollywood hairstylist and best friend (and former lover) of Tate, and an amateur kung fu enthusiast who was an early fan of Lee’s.
Sebring trained with Lee and eventually helped him land his breakout TV role on The Green Hornet. When that show was canceled, Sebring then helped Lee find Hollywood clients to train, including Steve McQueen (who will be played by Damian Lewis in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood).
In the trailer, we see Lee training with both Sebring and Cliff Booth. In real life, he also trained Sharon Tate in kung fu for The Wrecking Crew, and was just around the corner in his neighboring home the night she and Sebring were murdered.
Here we see Robbie as Tate dancing at a party. She’s holding hand with a women who looks a lot like Mama Cass and Michelle Phillips of the Mamas and the Papas. Actress Rachel Redleaf has been cast as Cass for the film, so that’s likely who we’re seeing on the right. Cass was friends with most of the Tate murder victims, and may have even known Manson, too.
In his autobiography, Michael Caine recalled a party at Cass’s house where Cass introduced Tate and Sebring to Manson. This is unsubstantiated and probably false—lots of celebrities concocted stories about Manson’s knowledge of Tate after the murders—but could still be worked into the movie for dramatic effect.
Speaking of Manson, we see him in all of his toothy glory, brought to life by Justified‘s Damon Herriman. (Herriman will also play Manson in the upcoming second season of Netflix’s Mindhunter.)
The final image of note in the trailer is this quick glimpse at a production set. Behind the camera is actor Nicholas Hammond, who is playing Sam Wanamaker. You may recognize Hammond as Friedrich von Trapp from The Sound of Music. Wanamaker was a famous actor and director, who worked with Reynolds on Gunsmoke and later directed episodes of shows like Cimarron Strip and Coronet Blue.
Also of note in this shot: Timothy Olyphant to the right in a red shirt and what also looks to be Luke Perry right next to him, in his final movie role before he passed away this March.
That’s all we caught in this first trailer, but we’re sure there’s even more hidden away in there, waiting to be discovered. We can’t wait to see what else Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has in store for us when it lands in theaters on July 26.
Images: Sony Pictures