Maestro of cinematic mayhem Quentin Tarantino has inked a two-book deal with publisher HarperCollins, marking an interesting and rather consequential career development for the lauded filmmaker.
Tarantino’s first work will be a novelization of his film “Once Upon a Time … In Hollywood.” The story is fictional, of course, but is notably based on the Manson Family murder of actress Sharon Tate and associates. The novel will look to breathe new life into the characters of TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth as portrayed in the 2019 movie, expanding on their backstories, personas, careers, and day-to-day lives.
As a kid Tarantino reveled in reading the movie novelizations that once commonly accompanied films. The director, famous for his throwback references and love of everything retro, is seemingly (and quite characteristically) reliving a relished facet of his youth. His work will fittingly start as a Harper Perennial mass market paperback, with a deluxe hardcover edition to follow in the fall.
“In the seventies movie novelizations were the first adult books I grew up reading,” says Tarantino. “And to this day I have a tremendous amount of affection for the genre. So as a movie-novelization aficionado, I’m proud to announce Once Upon A Time In Hollywood my contribution to this often marginalized, yet beloved sub-genre in literature. I’m also thrilled to further explore my characters and their world in a literary endeavor that can (hopefully) sit alongside its cinematic counterpart.”
Tarantino’s second work as part of his book deal with Harper will be a piece of non-fiction tentatively titled “Cinema Speculation.” The novel is described by the publisher as a “deep dive into the movies of the 1970’s, a rich mix of essays, reviews, personal writing, and tantalizing “what if’s,” from one of cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, and its most devoted fan.”
Tarantino has long cited legendary film critic Pauline Kael as a literary hero of his and “Cinema Speculation” will largely reflect his admiration of her prowling grounds. Tarantino has famously said that he plans on retiring from filmmaking after his tenth film and this new endeavor, writing novels, may very well be the start of that career transition.