Quentin Tarantino to Release ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ Novel With ‘Shocking Departure’ From Film

Director signed a two-book deal with Harper, and the novelization of his film will be published in summer 2021

Quentin Tarantino will release a novel based on his film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” that will be published in the summer of 2021, but the publisher says that his new take is a “shocking departure” from the movie.

Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” book is part of a two-book deal the director signed with Harper, the other being a nonfiction book about ’70s film called “Cinema Speculation.”

But while the novelization of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” will still follow TV actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth, portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt in the movie, the book is designed to amplify Tarantino’s original vision and follows Rick and Cliff forward and backward in time. Tarantino says that it’s inspired by other novelizations of films from the ’70s that each had their own character and could compliment the original.

“In the ’70s movie novelizations were the first adult books I grew up reading,” Tarantino said in a statement. “And to this day I have a tremendous amount of affection for the genre. So as a movie-novelization aficionado, I’m proud to announce ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ as my contribution to this often marginalized, yet beloved sub-genre in literature. I’m also thrilled to further explore my characters and their world in a literary endeavor that can (hopefully) sit alongside its cinematic counterpart.”

In following with tradition of movie novelizations, Harper will initially release “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” as a paperback book in summer 2021, as well as an ebook and digital audio editions. And a deluxe hardcover edition will follow in fall 2021.

Tarantino’s second book as part of the deal is titled “Cinema Speculation,” and it’s inspired by the writing of film critic Pauline Kael and how he has teased a pivot to film writing late in his career. The book will dive into the movies of the 1970s and be a mix of essays, reviews, personal writing and “what if’s” about some of Tarantino’s favorites.

Vice president and executive editor Noah Eaker, who acquired North American rights from the William Morris Endeavor Agency, said in a statement, “Quentin Tarantino’s literary talents have been in plain sight since his first scripts, but to see how skillfully he endows his characters with life on the page and how he constantly takes a reader by surprise, even one who knows the movie by heart, is to see a master storyteller trying on a new form and making it his own.”

“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opened in the summer of 2019 and was nominated for 10 Oscars, including Best Picture and winning an Oscar for Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor.