The highly anticipated upcoming film stars Margot Robbie as Roman Polanski's ex-wife Sharon Tate, who was murdered in 1969

By Helen Murphy
May 28, 2019 12:54 PM
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Quentin Tarantino‘s highly anticipated ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, debuted to a warm reception at its Cannes Film Festival premiere last week, but it has also seen its fair share of controversy.

The film stars Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate, who was eight months pregnant with director Roman Polanski’s child when she was brutally killed by members of the Manson Family in 1969.

Polish actor Rafał Zawierucha plays Polanski in the film, alongside Robbie.

In a French-language Instagram post, translated by Yahoo, Polanski’s current wife Emmanuelle Seigner spoke out against her husband’s inclusion in the movie, saying Tarantino was “using the tragic life of someone and then walking all over them.”

Seigner, 52, explained that she felt it was unfair that her husband is featured in the film when he has been a “pariah” in Hollywood due to his rape charge.

“I am just saying that it doesn’t bother them [in Hollywood] to make a film which takes Roman and his tragic story… while at the same time they have made him a pariah. And all without consulting him of course,” she wrote.

Credit: Andreas Rentz/Getty

While at Cannes, Tarantino revealed he didn’t consult with Polanski on the scenes involving the Oscar winner and Tate. Asked about his relationship with Polanski, Tarantino told the press: “I’m a fan of Roman Polanski’s work, but particularly Rosemary’s Baby. I like it a lot.”

Polanski pled guilty to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse in 1977 after 13-year-old Samantha Geimer accused him of getting her drunk and giving her part of a quaalude. He went on to serve 42 days in jail due to the plea bargain but fled the U.S. when ordered to serve the remainder of his 90-day sentence.

After fleeing the United States in 1978, he was detained in Switzerland, jailed and placed on house arrest for several months, until the Swiss government officially declined to deport him. Since then, Polanski has remained a fugitive. The case is still ongoing, despite his victim’s requests to have it dismissed.

Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski
| Credit: Joe Bangay/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty
Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate

Last week, Tarantino also faced criticism for keeping Robbie’s role in the film minimal.

The director, 56, shut down a female reporter from The New York Times during a press conference on Wednesday after she asked him why Robbie, 28, had little to do or say in the film.

“I reject your hypothesis,” Tarantino said.

In an interview with IndieWire, the director and screenwriter later explained why he chose to make the role of Tate smaller than the roles Robbie’s co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt play.

“There was a little bit more of her; everybody lost sequences,” Tarantino told the outlet. “It’s not her story, it’s Rick’s story. It’s not even Cliff’s.”

He added, “And [Tate] is an angelic presence throughout the movie, she’s an angelic ghost on earth, to some degree, she’s not in the movie, she’s in our hearts.”

The film premiered at Cannes last week and received rave first reactions from critics who called it “brilliant” and “shocking.”

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood — also starring Luke Perry in his final role, Kurt Russell, Dakota Fanning and Lena Dunham — hits theaters July 26.