Barbara Ling: I got a call to read the script at Quentin s house, and I went crazy for it, then met with Quentin. And the first big meeting was kind of insane. He writes the script as if it s a novel. It was an enormous amount of places. It was all I could do to try to take notes and catch up on how many locations we were going to need it was so massive. A massive film driving through LA, nonstop. It s stopping at many different types of areas. So once Quentin and I talked about the things that were most crucial for him and what he d love to see that could be discovered, all of the rest happened really quite quickly. Within the first 24 hours of me starting, I made sure I had Rick [Schuler] starting the next day, because the one thing that was very apparent to me, time was of the essence, and it was gonna take a lot of wrangling. It s Los Angeles, which is not an easy hunt. So Rick threw his department together fast.Rick Schuler: I was working on Ford v Ferrari and decided to jump over because I wanted to do the Quentin movie. Then I interviewed with Barbara. I guess that interview went well. [laughs] I was excited to be working with her, because she grew up and lived in Hollywood at that time. I came to Hollywood much later, so I was very excited about that. But yeah, it started rather quickly. Barbara met with him first, and then I got to the script, and then just started breaking down the locations. Barbara was already doing the locations that were written in the script and scouted already. So there was plenty for me to start wrapping my head around, like Musso Frank s and Casa Vega and all that kind of stuff. And then it was only later that I jumped in and talked more with Barbara and Quentin about other specific locations.Ling: We had Quentin in a car the very first week we both started. By the end of that week, we were driving the streets of LA. We had a tight window of only about 12 weeks before the tech scout and the first commercial shoots. Those little commercials were being made for within the film first, which meant that you had 12 weeks to put this movie together, to have the budget, start building, and start finding. The best part was being in the car with Quentin those hours and long conversations. And it does take hours, because driving through Los Angeles scouting is always hours. [laughs] In one respect, it was good, because that s where you get so much about what he s thinking. He s going, Yeah, and what about that? What about if we do this? It s a creative time. And then there was nonstop driving with him once Rick would assemble things. It was a very quick process, but very creative and very fun. The hardest part [was] getting all of [these fractured moments] pinned down in the beginning. (Photo by Columbia/Sony Pictures)Ling: You have a layering in this film that s separate from the world that they were in the everyday 1960s, and then you had the TV shows that they were in at that time. Rick Dalton s Lancer would ve been set as an 1800s Western. So now we re doing this film, and we re doing the eras within the era. The constant was 1969, the live-action now. The actors, you d see on the streets or in their homes. And then we d go to a set, and now we re coming into a TV show. You have the Westerns, the Hullabaloo, and these fractured moments around different sets that carry on as their characters are on the set. When Cliff Booth is fighting Bruce Lee you re there on the outside of the set in the 1960s. You re not on the inside of the set, but it s there in the background.And those scenes within the scenes are the hardest part. Getting all of that pinned down in the beginning how many TV shows are there? It s a lot. It s a lot because there were a broad range of shows. But Quentin had to pin it down for himself. He said, Okay, we re going to do 20 of these shows. But then you had the everyday action of the movie, Rick s life, Rick coming home, Cliff going to his trailer, the introduction of the Polanski house. And there s actually a lot that we did that didn t make the cut, because what happens with any movie is that you go for the gold, and then you think, Well, maybe I don t need that now. [Quentin s] an encyclopedia of both film and TV shows of that era. (Photo by Columbia/Sony Pictures)Schuler: Do you remember how he [Quentin] would pop things on us? Like, we were driving back from somewhere, and he goes, Oh, okay, go down Riverside. Go by Bob s Big Boy, and make a left on Furman. Stop. Now, let s get out of the car. And then he showed us a restaurant that he had frequented with his family growing up called The Money Tree on Riverside. And then once he sort of told us about that, he said, Well, an FBI episode was shot here. And we re listening, and he s like, Yeah, and I want to do this scene here. And that was sort of completely out of the blue.Ling: What s so great about Quentin, he s an encyclopedia of both film and TV shows of that era, particularly of the 50s, 60s, and 70s. And because there were scenes from FBI he wanted to recreate, which he did with Rick s character, we found a location and put that into the episode. He had found an old FBI with Burt Reynolds that he knew had a moment driving right down Riverside Drive and making the turn on Furman he just knew exactly where that was. The Money Tree was the place he had gone to, and he said, This would be fabulous if we just recreate on this block, if we could put everything back. And I was like, Well, that s not an easy ask. [laughs] Riverside is not an easy street, but it was fabulous because it s something off the beaten track, and that s what makes period work fun. And working with Quentin, those are the things that aren t always obvious, but it s very fun. Hollywood tends to be kind of an idea, but not so much a destination. [Tarantino] could make it a destination. (Photo by Columbia/Sony Pictures)Ling: I would say Hollywood Boulevard was certainly one of the most massive things we tried. That had not really been done in probably 50 years, that someone was allowed to close Hollywood Boulevard. To have that much work done and closed down for, what? Three days? It was massive. Just the logistics of getting it done was like a miracle.Schuler: When Quentin mentioned he wanted to do Hollywood Boulevard, I was thinking, Oh, we ll do it between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM in the afternoon, and then we ll do some night stuff, so that we can work between rush hours and all that. And then as he kept talking about Hollywood Boulevard, it became clear to me, Oh, there s no way we re going to do this, this way. We re going to have to really shut this whole thing down. So I started talking to the stakeholders in the area about what we wanted to do. Eventually, it led to a meeting with those stakeholders, and it became clear that I needed to get the council s office on board. The Department of Transportation was going to say no, because they have to say no. Our filming there is not going to make driving around Hollywood easier. They made it clear that if I could get the council s office to override everybody else, then they would be willing to go along with it, because, essentially, there was political cover, and it was out of their hands. I understood that, so eventually, we were able to go ahead and do that.Quentin came to the meeting, and by that time, everybody was on board with the project. And part of it was due in part that it was a movie about Hollywood. It was a man who had essentially grown up in Hollywood, that worked in Hollywood, that owned a theater in Hollywood, and who better to be able to do something like this and actually give something back to the city? That was the plug he made, and it worked. Hollywood tends to be kind of an idea, but not so much a destination. He could make it a destination. People could watch this movie, come to Hollywood, and start looking for locations where we shot. When I went into this meeting, they said they didn t do this except like maybe 50 years ago it was Alex in Wonderland Quentin had actually shown us that movie. They also had shut down Hollywood Boulevard, they had tanks on the street, cars on fire, and machine gun fire in that movie. And as a humorous point, I said, Okay, you ve done this before. I can promise you, we won t do this again, but I do need some time to do some stuff that will bring people to this city. And they consented to that. [Rick Dalton s house] was our hardest location to scout. (Photo by Columbia/Sony Pictures)Ling: [Rick Dalton s house] was our hardest location, because it was written with such detail. Quentin had a shot that was actually written in the script about Rick in his pool. He s floating, and the camera is on Rick then the camera pulls up, comes up over the house, over the trees and lands right in front of the driveway with the Polanskis coming out the door and getting in their car. He wanted to do that in one shot. To get that was the longest thing we ever hunted. This was Rick s army of human beings searching every avenue on Google Earth looking for two houses that we could actually use that had all the other things we needed, which was a great pool and a view. That went on for months and months, trying to find this combination. And eventually, we found it, but it took months, an enormous amount of work, different homes, and different things. But the shot was so crucial to Quentin, it had to work. He had to be able to get this shot. But finally, in Studio City, up in the hills, we found this great pool that actually had a great view, and then it had a house above it. And all of it could be just altered enough to look more like hillsides.What we didn t do was use Rick s interior house there that became four locations. Rick s interior, I built on a stage, because that was too specific for Quentin in staging, especially for the final scene. That would ve been nearly impossible to find a house that would let me rebuild the interior to look like what he needed. So we did that one on a stage, and then we put in a pool, but in miniature, that was only about six inches deep, so that you could still look out the window at night. And then up at Sharon s house, for her backyard, we used yet another house that was in Tarzana. We altered the back of their house, so when you came out of a door at Sharon s house in Studio City, you actually were in this new location.It was an amazing collection of locations to make one thing. Plus, Quentin did a brilliant, brilliant job in his staging, so you never know that s not all just the same place. It was a number of locations to make up those two. But the feeling of Rick s interior was very important with Quentin it had to feel like a bachelor pad of the time, one of the late 50s for an early 60s kind of actor in Benedict Canyon. This mid-century kind of development actually is what they were. And it s the idea of, Rick Dalton s not a decorator, so he just puts a lot of stuff from his shows. He s got his saddle from one of the Westerns. He s got his Spanish bar we did Palomino skins in it and that s kind of the center of his universe within his home. And of course, the TV, with the mid-century BarcaLounger. You can tell it s not a female-driven home; it s very male-driven. And those are the things that a man would decorate around. The bar was also very important to Quentin what the cups were and things like that. And a lot of pieces from Quentin s own house are in that bar. He also loves to put in little tidbits of old movies like the Hopalong Cassidy poster with a Hopalong Cassidy cup, and all the other things that he collects. They were all places that Quentin goes to, and they love him as a client and as a filmmaker. (Photo by Columbia/Sony Pictures)Ling: It all started just quickly with Musso s, which of course is still very period. That place still looks like 1969, and they adore Quentin. They were very lovely, particularly with the decorating and prop crowd. When we said, Oh, we re going to bring out the dishes that were the right dishes for 1969. They still had everything it was still in that kitchen. The only things we changed out were things in the front, getting rid of the digital cash registers. We changed the curtains and all the stuff by the front door back to the curtains of the time. And we changed all the bottles to make sure that they were the labels from 1969, because even a lot of the alcohol has changed.Certainly, the theaters had more work, particularly the Bruin, who also were great to us. They let us change out their snack bar, put it back to the original snack bar, get rid of things on the side, and put up huge posters inside of there. We had to actually put our own projectors in, because Quentin wanted the film Sharon was watching to be the actual film, not to put that in digitally. So in the back of the theater, they let us take out seats and build another booth and put in film projectors with enough light that we projected the film, in film. So Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) was watching the film the way it would have been screened at that time. So they were very gracious with all of this. They found even some of the original deco poster holders in their basement and brought them out for us; they were original to 1969. Then we built pieces on the exterior of the building to hold the posters. We were very lucky that both the theaters were managed by the same company. They were incredibly great in letting us change the marquees out of LED to florescent marquees again that could have letters on them. And they let us do that overnight, as their last film came down before we closed the theater. It wasn t easy, but we were very lucky. It was the same thing with Casa Vega. They were all places that Quentin goes to, and they love him as a client and as a filmmaker. That helped a lot.Once Upon A Time in Hollywood is available now for purchase on Blu-Ray and VOD.Like this? Subscribe to our newsletter and get more features, news, and guides in your inbox every week.