Quentin Tarantino has apparently closed the book on Rick Dalton, the actor portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood.
Tarantino made the announcement via The Video Archives podcast, which he hosts with Pulp Fiction cowriter Roger Avary. A series of tweets announced the death, and indicated that Tuesday’s podcast will be “a memorial episode designed by Quentin that features some of Rick’s best roles.”
The Video Archives podcast is where Tarantino and Avary “revisit classic films on VHS and discover new favorites.” New episodes arrive every other Tuesday usually, but apparently the schedule has been speeded up to accommodate the breaking news.
Tarantino has previously mapped out Dalton’s life. In 2021, he told podcaster Jeff Goldsmith that he had a biography set.
“I wrote The Films of Rick Dalton book,” he said. “It’s written as if Rick is real. You know, they have The Films of Charles Bronson and The Films of Anthony Quinn, well, it’s done like that, with synopsis and then some critical quotes from the time, and the book goes through every one of Rick’s movies that he did, leading to the end of his career in 1988, I believe, and every one of his episodic television shows.”
In that interview, Tarantino talked about a movie called The Fireman, starring Dalton and stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). That imaginary film was set a decade after “Hollywood.”
“The lead character was in the Vietnam War, he became a cop,” said Tarantino. “And then he starts seeing this whole group of bad apple cops that are killing these guys and just completely corrupt and they end up killing his partner, played by a very young Sam Jackson. Then Rick targets these bad cops, and he gets dressed up as the Fireman, and he has his flamethrower and he goes and he burns them all down.”