The Stuntman Who Inspired Brad Pitt's 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' Character Is More Badass In Real Life
When a movie bases characters on real-life people, the film version often ends up just a little more interesting than how they actually were—which tends to happen after you add CGI, expensive set-pieces, and very attractive/famous actors.
Rarely is it the other way around. In Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is out this Friday, we’re introduced to Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), a military vet working as the stuntman/driver/best bud of western TV and movie star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio). The duo is inspired by stuntman Hal Needham and actor Burt Reynolds, who had a long, wild friendship throughout their careers.
In Once Upon a Time, Booth is like a ’60s-hued Brad Pitt composite character, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing: Never uncool, always hilarious, occasionally shirtless. But Booth’s inspiration, Needham—who died at 82 in October 2013—was even more remarkable: A cross between the MacGyver and the Dos Equis guy, inventing stunt rigs and shattering bones by day, and beefing with John Wayne by night.
Here’s what made Needham worthy of the Tarantino treatment, and why he’s up there with Buster Keaton and Jackie Chan in the GOAT stuntman conversation.
[For the full article via Esquire click HERE]