Did ‘Little House on the Prairie’ Inspire a Quentin Tarantino Character?
Little House on the Prairie would seem to be a far cry from one of Quentin Tarantino’s violent movies, however, Melissa Gilbert thinks Tarantino based one of his characters on her. She reached out to Tarantino to see if this was the case. Here’s a look at the inspirations behind the character.
Why Melissa Gilbert from ‘Little House on the Prairie’ sent Quentin Tarantino a note
Firstly, a little background. Tarantino’s most recent film is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. One of the minor characters in the film is a child actor named Trudi Fraser (Julia Butters) who appears in a Western television series. Since Gilbert starred in one of the most famous Western television series of all time when she was a child, it’s easy to make a connection between Gilbert and Fraser.
Gilbert noted the similarities. “I wrote Quentin a note and attached a photo of myself sitting in my chair, just like [Butter], reading a book,” Gilbert told Buffalo News. “I didn’t hear back from him. But pretty much everyone who saw that movie said, ‘That’s you.’ I would like to think so, but I do not have confirmation. If you can find Quentin, ask him for me. I want to know.”
Is a character from ‘Once Upon a Hollywood’ based on Melissa Gilbert?
So did Tarantino base Fraser on Gilbert? According to Vanity Fair, Tarantino based Fraser on a character from a 1960s Western television series called Lancer. He had Butters watch Lancer in preparation for the role. “I actually didn’t watch Westerns before I made the movie, and I don’t really watch them now,” Butters revealed.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Butters earned the role because Tarantino saw her performance in American Housewife. Little House on the Prairie didn’t factor into it. During an interview, Butters described the performance Tarantino saw. “I was telling a scary story to other kids on American Housewife,” Butters said. “It was called ‘Bloody Becky,’ and it was about a witch who would come out of the mirror and grab them and eat their faces off if they didn’t give [my character] all their candy.”
The weird connection between Trudi Fraser and Meryl Streep
Gilbert isn’t the only famous actor associated with Fraser. Vanity Fair reports Leonardo DiCaprio compared Butters’ acting to that of Meryl Streep. This led to a rumor that Butters was going to play Streep in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Chronologically, this makes no sense. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set in 1969, when Streep was 20 years old, and Fraser is a child. “I’m like ‘Guys, she was 20!’ And I’m 10! There’s a 10-year difference,” Butters said.
Fraser was not based on Gilbert. The fact that some people thought Gilbert inspired Fraser years after Little House on the Prairie ended shows Gilbert’s performance as Laura Ingalls Wilder left a mark on people. Regardless, Fraser has some interesting connections — real and imagined — to two famous actors.