"I actually got to see my sister again… nearly 50 years later," says Debra Tate
Debra Tate, the sister of the late actress Sharon Tate, has given her approval of her sibling’s depiction in Quentin Tarantino’s just-released film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Sharon Tate was killed by members of the Manson family in 1969, the year in which Tarantino’s movie is set. In the film, Sharon Tate is played by I, Tonya actress Margot Robbie. The film also stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a fictional actor named Rick Dalton and Brad Pitt as his stunt double, Cliff Booth.
“When I read the whole script, I knew that the real meat of the story was going to be Leo and Brad Pitt’s characters,” Debra Tate said in a recent interview with Vanity Fair. “I mean, I really wish that Quentin Tarantino would do the Sharon Tate story, and I would love to see Margot play [that]… But that was not the movie that Quentin had written, and I knew it and I understood it. And it was his vision. I’m not going to tell anybody that has done such a wonderful job, and a respectful job at honoring a particular situation, that they have to do my version of a story. Although I really wish he would’ve.”
In the interview, Debra Tate also recalled being greatly affected by seeing, and in particular hearing, Robbie play her sister when she visited the set of the film.
“She made me cry because she sounded just like Sharon,” she said. “The tone in her voice was completely Sharon, and it just touched me so much that big tears [started falling]. The front of my shirt was wet. I actually got to see my sister again… nearly 50 years later.”
Tarantino recently told EW how he had become enamored of Sharon Tate while researching Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
“I did a lot of research on Sharon and became very enamored of her,” the director said. “She seemed like an incredibly sweet person. When you talk about all the different friends that she had, even acquaintances that she had, they all tell the same story about her, about this unaffected beauty, just this reservoir of goodness and kindness. Now, that almost sounds to good to be true, but for whatever reason, as I’m reading all this stuff, I’m really buying it. Every account about her that I found backs up that version of her. Unfortunately, she’s kind of been defined by her murder. I thought the best way to get her across was not sticking her in a bunch of scenes with Roman [Polanski, Tate’s husband] or with other people where she’s [furthering] a plot, but just hanging out with her, letting her drive around Los Angeles, do her errands, and just see where the day takes her. I wanted to show people a glimpse of Sharon before the murder, so they think of her as more than just a victim.”