Which Actors In ‘Once Upon A Time In Hollywood’ Are Playing Real People?

In Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming film, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, the two lead characters, played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, are an actor and his stuntman, respectively. While their characters are fictional, almost all of the other actors in the film are portraying real people — some actors, while others portray members of the “Manson family” who were involved with the Tate murders. Here are the many actors from the film and the real-life person they are playing.

Margot Robbie is Sharon Tate

Robbie stars Sharon Tate, an up-and-coming actress who, in this film, is the neighbor of DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton. The real Tate was, at the time of her murder, pregnant and living in Los Angeles. She and four others were killed on August 8, 1969, at her home.

Robbie is an Academy Award-nominated actress from Australia. She is best known for playing Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad, Tonya Harding in I, Tonya, and Queen Elizabeth in Mary Queen of Scots. She’ll reprise her role as the comic book character in the upcoming DC film Birds of Prey.

Damon Herriman is Charles Manson

Herriman portrays Charles Manson, the cult leader of the Manson Family commune which is best known for committing a series of murders in 1969. Manson was convicted for his crimes in 1971 and passed away behind bars at the age of 83 in 2017.

Herriman, who is seen for a brief moment in the trailer, is also from Australia. He has an extensive filmography but is possibly best known for his recurring role on the crime drama Justified. Herriman will be playing Manson again this year in the upcoming second season of the Netflix series Mindhunter.

Rafał Zawierucha is Roman Polanski

Zawierucha portrays Roman Polanski, a French-Polish filmmaker who was married to Tate at the time of her death. He was not in the U.S. at the time, but returned and was questioned following the murders. Polanski is still alive but has since been effectively banished from the industry after he was charged with statutory rape.

Zawierucha has exclusively appeared in films and on TV shows in his native Poland prior to landing this part. His next film, The Soviet Sleep Experiment, is due out in 2019.

The Manson family

The Tate murders were committed by Charles “Tex” Watson, Susan Atkins, and Patricia Krenwinkel. Linda Kasabian was also in attendance, but she kept watch. Other well-known members of the “Manson family” will also be in the film in some way.

Austin Butler (The Shannara Chronicles) plays Watson, but none of the women involved in the murders are included in the cast list. They could be portrayed by any of the actresses cast in unspecified parts if they appear at all.

The other victims of the Tate murders

In addition to Tate, four others were killed that night at her house: hairstylist Jay Sebring, screenwriter Wojciech Frykowski and significant other, Abigail Folger, and Steven Parent, who was acquainted with the property’s caretaker, William Garretson, who was living in the guest house. Garretson survived the attack, and was questioned but later released.  

Emile Hirsch (Into the Wild) plays Sebring, Costa Ronin (The Americans), plays Frykowski, and Samantha Robinson (Cam) plays Folger. Parent and Garretson could be played by any of the other actors who were cast in unspecified parts.

Other real people

Plenty of other people who were either affiliated with the “Manson family” or with Tate are also portrayed in the film. Mike Moh (Empire) is famed martial artist/actor Bruce Lee, Dakota Fanning (the Twilight films) and Lena Dunham (Girls) are Manson girls Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Catherine Share, and Luke Perry portrayed actor Wayne Maunder, his final film role before his death. There are a few others, but you’ll have to wait until the movie comes out to learn who they are.

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