Margot Robbie explains why her feet were not only bare but dirty in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. If one scene in Tarantino’s 1969-set ode to Hollywood captures the pure joy of going to the cinema, it’s the moment when Robbie’s Sharon Tate hits a movie theater to watch herself on-screen, and Robbie is seen joyously taking in footage of the real Tate acting in one of her tragically few films. In addition to capturing the sweet and innocent essence of Tarantino’s version of Tate, the scene gives the filmmaker a chance to indulge in one of his favorite cinematic fetishes, as Robbie’s noticeably dirty bare feet are seen propped up on a theater seat while she smilingly enjoys the movie.
Tarantino’s cinematic foot fetish of course cropped up many times before Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Robbie, but the scene with Tate in the theater seemed to kick it up a notch by adding the element of dirt. In a new interview with Vogue ahead of the release of Barbie, Robbie addressed her contribution to Tarantino’s catalog of famous foot shots, and explained how it came to be that her feet were unwashed as well as bare. Check out what Robbie said in the space below:
“My character walks into a movie theater to see herself on the big screen and she kind of kicks off her go-go boots and puts her feet up and settles in to watch the movie. But my feet were dirty because I’d been walking around set. They stayed dirty in the movie because Quentin said, ‘Don’t. Don’t clean them.’ Someone ran in to do it and he was like, ‘No it’s real, keep it.’”
There has been much discussion over the years about the way Tarantino prominently features feet, and particularly female feet, in his movies, and much speculation about why the filmmaker is so in love with filming feet. For his part, Tarantino has defended the way he zooms in on this one particular part of the human anatomy, explaining that he isn’t the only director to prominently feature feet in his movies. As he told British GQ back in 2021:
“I don’t take it seriously. There’s a lot of feet in a lot of good directors’ movies. That’s just good direction. Like, before me, the person foot fetishism was defined by was Luis Buñuel, another film director. And Hitchcock was accused of it and Sofia Coppola has been accused of it.”
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood indeed took Tarantino’s cinematic fascination with feet to another level, as the movie reportedly features no fewer than 36 shots of the director’s favorite anatomical feature. Tarantino is now preparing his tenth and final film, entitled The Movie Critic, and it will be fascinating to see how many foot shots he manages to cram into the film’s run-time. As Tarantino is reportedly seeking a female actor to lead The Movie Critic, it will be interesting to see if Robbie is in line for a return to Tarantino’s world after putting her bare feet on display for the writer-director in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.