Sydney Sweeney on the Casting Process for ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’

Sydney Sweeney has been racking up her fair share of attention lately. Recently, it was announced that the Euphoria actor would be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The car enthusiast has been cast opposite Dakota Johnson in Madame Web. But the upcoming Sony flick isn’t Sweeney’s first foray into a major motion picture. Back in 2019, she landed a coveted role in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.

Once Upon a Hollywood alum Sydney Sweeney in a tan bodysuit
‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’ alum Sydney Sweeney | Amy Sussman/Getty Images for Deadline Hollywood

Joining the ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’ cast was a dream for Sydney Sweeney

In Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood, Sweeney portrayed a young Manson girl named Snake. While the role wasn’t big, it was a huge deal for the Washington native. The role marked the very first time that Sweeney would bring a real person to life. Furthermore, Sweeney got to work alongside an A-list cast and learn from actors that she’d admired for years.

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“You know when you dream of working with these incredible actors, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s going to take me years to get this off [my] bucket list,’ and all of a sudden you walk into set and every single person on that list is there?” Sweeney explained in an interview with Coveteur. “Once [Upon a Time in Hollywood] was that.”

The MMA fighter explained part of the casting process for the Quentin Tarantino film

But just how did Sweeney manage to land such a coveted role? While many actors dream of working with Tarantino, being cast in his films is an extremely competitive process. It turns out that The White Lotus star had to go through a pretty intense audition process for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood. And parts of it were pretty atypical.

Sweeney’s audition for Snake started out with her reading for a generic role. She was filmed during her interpretation of a character. However, Tarantino also allowed hopeful actors to use other mediums to help bring their characters to life. In an interview with tmrw magazine, Sweeney explained the unique process.

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“Basically you could write a song, or paint something as well, because at this stage Tarantino had everyone auditioning for the same role and then he would place you in whatever role he saw fit.” Ultimately, Sweeney opted to write a love letter from the perspective of the character she hoped to play. The letter caught Tarantino’s attention and he even asked to keep it.

Sweeney attended a 6-hour workshop for ‘Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood’

The audition process for Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood also included a lengthy workshop with Tarantino. In the aforementioned interview with Coveteur, Sweeney explained that the workshop functioned as a type of chemistry read. Through random pairings, Tarantino made decisions about who he would eventually cast in his film.

RELATED: Sydney Sweeney on Preparing for Her Marvel Movie, ‘Madame Web’

“Quentin had this amazing session with a few actors,” Sweeney explained. “They brought us to his office for a six-hour workshop with him. It was a chemistry read—he would work with us and then switch us off, and we all had lunch together. I left that room feeling totally OK if I didn’t get it because of that experience. The things he said were so kind and supportive, and I was like, Yes, I love this industry.”

Joining the cast of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood was clearly a long process for Sweeney. Ultimately, however, the actor’s hard work paid off.

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