Quentin Tarantino is one of our greatest showmen. Beyond making across the board great movies (I will hear no other opinions on the matter, thank you*), the man knows how to whip his fans into a frenzy, all while keeping a veil of secrecy over each new project.
His latest - now simply known as #9 - was first reported as being his Manson picture. Tarantino has since clarified this and said that #9 is more "about 1969 than Manson." OK. Then there was an insane bidding war involving several studios following the Weinstein Scandal**, and added rumors that Quentin was pursuing Tom Cruise for a sizable role (along with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie). It's been settled that Sony will finance and distribute #9 (to the tune of roughly $100M), putting all preliminary developments to bed, and dropping us right back into the realm of pure story speculation.
Which leads us to further details regarding exactly what #9 is going to be about. According to Vanity Fair, #9 is:
Set in Los Angeles in the summer of 1969, Tarantino’s upcoming movie, according to a source who read the script, focuses on a male TV actor who’s had one hit series and is looking for a way to get into the film business. His sidekick—who’s also his stunt double—is looking for the same thing. The horrific murder of Sharon Tate and four of her friends by Charles Manson’s cult of followers serves as a backdrop to the main story.
Placing Manson in the background sounds like a great idea (and will help quiet those who've been whining that QT shouldn't tackle the subject at all), but it also opens up the notion that this could be Tarantino's first prequel (the stunt man is almost certainly going to be Stunt Man Mike, or his kin, Stunt Man Bob). Could we also see someone like Lee Donowitz working on an AIP/Corman-type production (as an assistant or higher?). No doubt Quentin will be having a few characters smoke some Red Apple cigarettes, as they toil away on a shoot (the man loves his world building and call backs).
Either way, this opens up Quentin's cinephile tendencies tenfold. Time to start reading up on the film happenings of '69 (nice).
*That includes Death Proof and Hateful Eight, which are both masterworks as well.
**Sidebar: one can't help but wonder if there will be any sort of modern commentary contained within his period piece, as QT has certainly skated right up to (and many would argue crossed the line of) being complicit in Weinstein's sexual wrong-doing.