Why Emile Hirsch's Latest Movie Role Is Sparking So Much Backlash
Emile Hirsch will appear in an upcoming Quentin Tarantino movie, but not everyone is thrilled about it, given the actor's personal history with violence. In 2015, Hirsch pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault, according to CNN. And because of this, there's already backlash against Hirsch's new movie role. As recalled in a report from The Daily Beast on Wednesday, multiple witnesses claimed a then-29-year-old Hirsch choked a woman, who worked as a film executive, to the point of unconsciousness at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. While he later owned up to his actions, the situation is still causing some to speak out against Hirsch's role in the upcoming movie. (Bustle reached out to Hirsch's rep about the backlash, as well as Tarantino's agent, but did not receive an immediate response.)
The movie in question is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is also starring Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie. Robbie will play Sharon Tate, and the movie will deal with the 1969 Manson family murders. There's not a ton of information about the plot yet, but it sounds like the murders are only a part of the story. In February, Tarantino told The Hollywood Reporter that the film is "a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood." DiCaprio's character is apparently the "former star of a Western TV series," while Pitt plays his stunt double. And apparently, Sharon Tate is DiCaprio's character's neighbor. On the movie's IMDb page, Hirsch is listed as playing Jay Sebring, who was murdered alongside Tate. As of now, the movie is set to be released in August 2019.
The troubling events involving Hirsch took place years ago, according to Variety. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement and the Time's Up initiative, some people are upset that Hirsch has been cast in a new movie, especially one that revolves around murder. Multiple people tweeted their opinions that Hirsch shouldn't be starring in the movie. And some also tweeted at DiCaprio and Robbie directly, asking them to comment on the situation. (Of course, it's not their responsibility to do so, but it looks like fans are looking for a response from anyone involved in the movie.)
As some people have pointed out, Hirsch's incident is more than a "he said/she said" situation. As mentioned above, the actor pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and spent 15 days in a Utah prison in 2015. "There's no absolutely no excuse for what happened," Hirsch said at the time, according to CNN. The outlet also reported that while in court, the actor said he didn't remember what happened because he'd had an "enormous amount of alcohol."
It's not just fans who are speaking out against Hirsch's casting, either. The Good Place actor Jameela Jamil tweeted her disapproval with the news, calling it an "intense case of rich white male privilege."
In a follow-up tweet, Jamil wrote that Hirsch never apologized directly to the executive in question.
Hirsch isn't the only controversial person attached to the movie, though. Director and writer Quentin Tarantino found himself involved in a separate controversy last year. Uma Thurman shared footage of her Kill Bill car accident, which she claimed Tarantino didn't do enough to prevent. Thurman wrote in an Instagram post that while Tarantino "was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event," she believes that "the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality." For his part, Tarantino told Deadline, "It's the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt."
It doesn't sound like there are any plans to remove Hirsch from the movie at this point. And Tarantino and Hirsch have yet to comment publicly on the backlash. Still, the tweets from fans, as well as from fellow actor Jamil, are a reminder that people won't stay silent about misconduct reports. There's not much information about the movie yet, and it's quite possible the backlash will continue as Once Upon a Time in Hollywood moves forward.