Quentin Tarantino has had the pleasure of working with some of Hollywood’s top talent over his decades in the business, but that doesn’t mean that he’s immune to feeling a little nervous when faced with directing a cinematic giant. ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, which is now playing in theaters, boasts quite the star studded cast, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Kurt Russell, and more, but it was Al Pacino who gave Tarantino a bout of the jitters.
Al Pacino plays movie producer Marvin Schwarzs in ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD and Tarantino explained just how he became friends with Pacino while speaking to Entertainment Weekly.
We’ve kind of become friends in the last two years. So, we’ve really got to know each other a little bit. I’ve had him come over to my house, and read some material for a play I was writing, and so he helped me out on that, it was really cool. So, I wrote the role for him. So, it was great to work with Al Pacino and Leo for the first time in a scene together, but also just to hear Al Pacino say my dialog.
Although Al Pacino was far from a stranger when it came time to shoot ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, Tarantino confessed that he was still nervous. “It’s funny, I was nervous the first day,” Tarantino said. “I was nervous on the first day with Al. I was just nervous about how it was going to start. Is he one of these guys that the first day is kind of a wash? You know, that’s just him getting comfortable and getting used to it, you know, and the second day it starts getting better. Or is it going to start happening right now? I was just a little nervous. And my first AD (assistant director), I think, was actually kind of surprised when he realized I was a little bit [nervous]. ‘Al loves you.’ ‘I know he loves me. I don’t know how to push this at the beginning. I mean, I’ll know once we get going, but I’m kind of not sure what to do at the beginning. I don’t know what he needs.’ And my first AD thought it was kind of cute.“
As far as actually directing Al Pacino goes, you might expect that most directors just let him do his thing, but Tarantino doesn’t subscribe to that.
I almost have to think about that for a second. He wants direction. He wants direction, but kind of more direction of like, You’re a good audience member. ‘Yeah, I think you can hit these jokes a little bit more and I think this could be a little faster. I think you need to be more direct in this. You’re kind of walking around it a little bit. Go right at him. Get more aggressive.’ And things like that.
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD is now playing in theaters, so be sure to check out a review from our own Chris Bumbray!