- You may have noticed, Quentin Tarantino loves to have shots of feet in his movies.
- His latest, "Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood," really shows that off.
- Business Insider asked the movie’s cinematographer, Robert Richardson, who has done numerous movies with Tarantino before this one, how he sets up the now-legendary Tarantino "foot shot."
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It’s as inevitable as the coming seasons: shots of feet in a Quentin Tarantino movie.
The trend has been long documented over the auteur’s career — from the shots of Uma Thurman’s bare feet in "Pulp Fiction," to the large cast on Diane Kruger’s foot in "Inglourious Basterds" — and his latest, "Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood," is no exception.
In the case of Margot Robbie, who plays Sharon Tate in the movie, which is a glimpse into late 1960s Hollywood, Tarantino does a toes-to-head pan shot of the actress as she’s lying in bed in a deep (snoring) sleep following a night of partying at the Playboy mansion. Then later in the movie, when Tate goes to see herself in the movie "The Wrecking Crew," twice there are shots where half of the frame is take up by Tate’s bare feet up on the seat in from of her in the theater, as she reacts to the audience loving her performance on screen.
But actress Margaret Qualley, who plays Manson family member Pussycat, has the most obvious foot shot of the whole movie. After a few chance encounters Pussycat has with Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), she finally gets him to pick her up in his car while she’s hitchhiking. On their drive to Spahn Movie Ranch, where the Mansons are living, Pussycat kicks up her feet on the car’s dashboard and presses them against the windshield — directly in the middle of the frame.
SonySo does Tarantino have a master plan with these shots? Does everyone on set know they are coming? We asked someone who would have the answers: cinematographer Robert Richardson. The Oscar-winning DP has been shooting Tarantino’s work since the "Kill Bill" movies (in "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" there’s a scene where Thurman talks to her toes after coming out of a coma). How does he work with Tarantino on the feet shots?
When asked Richardson couldn’t hold back his laughter before answering — as best he could.
"I have no clue when a foot is going to show up," Richardson told Business Insider. "It’s just suddenly, ‘Oh, okay! Got it. There it is. Let’s go.’"
"I’m used to it," he added. "It’s not like they are scripted. It’s more Quentin just reacting. ‘This is what I want to shoot now and let’s start there and come to here.’ That’s it."
It’s fitting that one of Tarantino’s more bizarre trademarks would have little explanation.
"Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood" is currently playing in theaters.
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