Rick Dalton

Rick Dalton

    Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Character Analysis

(Avoiding Spoilers)

Living... glamorously, in the Hollywood Hills in 1969. Rick has a luxe mansion right next door to hip new neighbors Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski.

Profession... aging actor. Rick was once the hotshot young star of a 1950s Western TV show called Bounty Law. Now, however, he mostly does guest spots on other TV shows. Rick worries he’s just not agile enough to keep up with the swinging ’60s. He describes his career as “Five years of ascent. Ten years of treading water. And now a race to the bottom.”

Interests... whiskey sours, frozen margaritas, and floating in his pool.

Relationship Status... single. Right now the most important person in Rick’s life is his stuntman and best friend, Cliff Booth. They’ve worked together for nine years. You could even describe him as “a buddy who is more than a brother and a little less than a wife.”

Challenge... reviving his career. Rick wants to be taken seriously as an actor, but his heavy drinking and palpable insecurity often get in the way. A casting agent advises him to stop playing episodic TV villains and star as the hero in a “Spaghetti Western” instead. But will shooting an Italian movie save his career or destroy it?

Personality... outwardly charismatic but full of self-doubt. Beneath his movie star charisma, Rick is deeply emotional and insecure. He’s not particularly savvy or strategic in his decision-making and he has a tendency to self-sabotage. After an on-set mistake, he berates himself in his trailer by screaming, “Dammit, Rick, you screwed up the f—ing lines! You embarrassed yourself like that in front of all those goddamn people!” Rick has the temperamental but empathetic soul of a creator, and when he really invests in his work he can turn in something truly special.


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