Director Quentin Tarantino is facing criticism after a female reporter asked about Margot Robbie's lack of lines in his newest film, "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Following a screening at the Cannes Film Festival, the journalist pointed out Tuesday during a news conference that Robbie had a limited role compared to her male lead counterparts. She then received a terse reply from Tarantino.
The "Pulp Fiction" director's new film revolves around a fading television actor and his stunt double trying to achieve fame and success in 1969 Los Angeles, during the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age, according to IMDb. The and director Roman Polanski's wife Sharon Tate, played by Robbie, is a plot point in the film.
Farah Nayeri, a culture writer for The New York Times, questioned Tarantino over Robbie's limited role, despite being a star in her own right and one of the leading names cast in the 145-minute film.
"Quentin, you have put Margot Robbie, a very talented actress, actor, in your film," she said. "She was with Leonardo in 'Wolf of Wall Street,' 'I, Tonya,' a person with a great deal of acting talent - and yet you haven't really given her many lines in the movie. I guess that was a deliberate choice on your part. I just wanted to know why that was, that we don't hear her actually speaking very much."
Seemingly irritated, Tarantino responds: "I disagree with your hypothesis." Robbie, who was sitting next to Tarantino, provided her own answer.
"I always look into the character, and what the character is supposed to serve," she said. "I think the moments that I got on screen gave an opportunity to honor Sharon. I think the tragedy was ultimately the loss of innocence and to really show those wonderful sides of her, I think could be adequately done without speaking."
While some Twitter users praised Robbie for her tactful response, others criticized Tarantino for his.
"The thing with Tarant*no and lack of lines for woman is that, it's such a simple question, it's not rude at all and Margot was able to answer it adequately. Tarant*no refused to do so in the most a**hole way possible," one Twitter user wrote.
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is the first movie Tarantino has worked on without the once powerful movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, who is facing a. Tarantino admitted he has known for decades about Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct, and he told . Some observers suggest his apparent dismissiveness over the reporter's question is a larger problem for the edgy director.
"Sheer arrogance across the board, in body language and words, except for Margot Robbie," another Twitter user said of Tarantino. "Tarantino skated away without a scratch from the Weinstein scandal, and thinks he has total impunity. A very smart man who doesn't possess an ounce of self-reflection - a bad combination."
Fans of Tarantino came to his aid, bringing up the fact that he's had films dominated by female leads, including "Kill Bill: Volume 1," "Kill Bill: Volume 2" and "Jackie Brown." However, Uma Thurman, star of both Kill Bills, penned a New York Times op-ed accusing Tarantino of telling her to drive a stunt car he said was "safe," but it led to injuries. Tarantino called the incident when the news broke and declined to comment on it in Cannes.
"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood," which reportedly received a standing ovation and praise from critics at Cannes, is set to be released in theaters on July 26.