Quentin Tarantino had an awkward exchange at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week when a female journalist asked why he gave so few lines to Margot Robbie in his highly anticipated film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”
“Quentin you put Margot Robbie, a very talented actress, actor, in your film,” the New York Times journalist asked Tarantino during a press conference on Wednesday morning after the film premiered.
Robbie plays the actress Sharon Tate, who was murdered by the Manson clan in 1969, when the film takes place. It centers on TV star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), who are fighting to stay relevant in the industry.
“She was with Leonardo in ‘Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘I, Tonya.’ This is a person with great acting talent and yet you haven’t given her many lines in the movie,” she continued. “I guess that was a deliberate choice on your part. And I just wanted to know why that was that we don’t hear her speak that much.”
The director responded curtly: “Well, I just reject your hypothesis.”
The question was thrown over to Robbie who handled it as well as she could.
“The tragedy ultimately was the loss of innocence, and to really show those wonderful sides of her I think could be adequately done without speaking,” Robbie said.
“I did feel like I got a lot of time to explore the character even without dialogue, specifically. Which is an interesting thing because I often do look to the interaction with other characters to inform me on the character,” she added. “Rarely do I get an opportunity to spend so much time on my own as a character. ... That was actually an interesting thing to do for me as an actor, I appreciated the exercise.”
People on Twitter were torn about the exchange, with some calling out Tarantino for his “snappy response” while others pointed to his long history of centering female characters in his films like “Kill Bill” and “Jackie Brown.”