In a scene fraught with various perils, stuntwoman Kimberly Shannon Murphy reveals Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s epic finale had one major challenge in putting together. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the ’60s-set Hollywood dramedy centered on fading actor Rick Dalton and his stunt double Cliff Booth. After finally finding new success with a string of Spaghetti Westerns, the duo find themselves under attack from a group of Manson family members in Rick’s home, though get the upper hand on them in vicious fashion.
During the latest episode of “Stuntwomen React” on the Corridor Crew YouTube channel, Kimberly Shannon Murphy reflected on her time working on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
While detailing the making of the finale to Tarantino’s Hollywood epic, as seen in the video above, Murphy recalled the one major challenge she and the crew encountered in its production, pointing to the dog featured in the sequence. The stuntwoman revealed she and her team rehearsed the scene for three months while also utilizing three different dogs, gradually working their way up with each for the more vicious attacks. See what Murphy recalled below:
We rehearsed this scene for three months. The reason being was because of the dogs. [I’ve] not [worked with] pitbulls [before], we actually rehearsed for three months in this space with the dogs and we had an idea of what the scene was going to be, but Quentin hadn’t really decided who was going to do what. When he’s into the scene is when he sort of decides what is exactly going to happen in the scene. So, we all trained with the dogs, so I did bites, and I did all the things that, if he was to say, “Okay, actually, we’re going to have the dog go to Kim,” we were all ready for that. We did baby steps, so first we just learned to kind of tug with the dogs with a tug toy.
So, we had three pitbulls, one was Brad’s that we didn’t do anything with, because it was his dog that he worked with throughout the whole movie, so that dog was never supposed to be around attacks, see attacks, or anything for obvious reasons. That dog had a double that did small, not so violent attacks that we used to start doing things with. In the beginning, there’s a crotch bite, so we used the more tamer dog to start doing it with, and then Sir, which is the really violent dog who we did all the attacks with, he’s the one who’s in all of these scenes. We eventually did it just with him, but it was a gradual process, which is why we rehearsed it for so long. We would put music on, we would add all of these elements to the scene, so that the dogs would get used to it, and then we would put a mask on, so they would get used to seeing us with blood on our face, and then we would do it with the lights off.
So, it was like all of these little things we were doing to add on to a scene on a daily basis so that when we got into it, the dogs weren’t overwhelmed or confused or all this other stuff. We had to introduce all of this early so that they didn’t freak out, because once they started attacking you, if they got distracted as they come off of you, they could go somewhere else. We had other protection, but mainly you’re protected in the area that they’re attacking, so you never want them to come off and go to another part of your body, or to someone else in the room. If the dog came off of somebody, we all just stopped and didn’t move and let the trainers come in and deal with them. There was not one issue. [Chuckles]
The dog is playing, as far as the dog is concerned, but you don’t ever want to get bit by a pitbull, I will tell you that right now. We had cast-like things we put over our arms, and I would still come home with bruises and bumps and blood, because they were so strong, and I literally had the dog drag me across the room. But the trainers were so good and could get the dog off us in two seconds, and it was so well-done and rehearsed and prepared, everyone did an amazing job.
How OUATIH Was One Of Tarantino’s Riskier Shoots
Murphy would go on to detail her time doubling for Madisen Beaty in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood‘s epic finale, which saw her character of Katie brutally beaten down by Brad Pitt’s Cliff. With the help of Pitt, his stunt double Zack Duhame and a dummy, Murphy found herself thrown into a stripped-down rotary phone, which saw its wall mount replced with foam, a padded fireplace and poster lined with both candy glass and a film layer to prevent from any further cuts.
This wasn’t the only risky sequence to produce in Tarantino’s Oscar-winning film. Stuntman Mark Wagner recently revealed that the Nazi flamethrower scene near Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’s opening nearly went awry when Leonardo DiCaprio’s hesitation during one of the takes led to he and Travis Fienhage getting an extra dose of flames, resulting in a second-degree burn on his arm.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood wasn’t the only time Tarantino’s dedication to practical fillmmaking led to a risky production sequence. Inglorious Basterds, a similarly history-altering epic, saw much of the cast nearly incinerated, as revealed by star Eli Roth, during the theater fire scene, while Tarantino has also revealed he strangled Diane Kruger himself during her character’s death scene in the hopes of getting an authentic reaction from the star. With Tarantino having at least one more movie left in his career, it will be interesting to see if his drive for realistic productions leads to more harrowing behind-the-scenes stories.
More: Will Tarantino Release Another OUATIH Extended Cut? What We KnowSource: Corridor Crew