KEARNEY — Julia Butters offers a view of filmmaking from a different perspective.
“She worked with Brad Pitt, the late Luke Perry, Leonardo DiCaprio — she was there with all these people, working with them,” said Bryce Jensen, executive director of The World Theatre. “It is a pretty cool glimpse — and from a child’s perspective of it, too.”
Julia, 10, is too young to walk into any theater and see her most recent work, Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” rated R for restricted audiences. Julia takes the role of Trudi, a child performer who helps a fading Hollywood star come to terms with his professional future. DiCaprio plays the role of Rick Dalton, the actor who says in the film, “It’s official, old buddy, I’m a has-been.”
Central Nebraska audiences can hear Julia talk about her experiences on the set of “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood” during a special event at 6:45 p.m. Saturday at The World Theatre. Julia will take questions from the audience, with her father, Darrin Butters, before a screening of Tarantino’s film starting at 7 p.m.
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Tickets are $15. Proceeds from the event will benefit The World Theatre’s balcony restoration project.
“We’ll have a Q&A conducted by Julia’s father, Darrin,” Jensen said. “He’s a Kearney native and now is a Disney animator. He’s actually presented at The World about four years ago in one of our galas about animation.”
Tarantino creates films rich in character development, plot twisting and strong settings — along with adult language and violence.
“Julia can’t watch the whole movie,” Jensen noted. “She’s seen most of the film but she hasn’t watched some of the scenes. It will be interesting to talk to her about that. Tarantino is known for his violence and his language in his films. It’s very rare for there to be a child in a Tarantino movie.”
Tarantino directed “Pulp Fiction,” 1994; “Inglourious Basterds,” 2009; “Django Unchained,” 2012; and “The Hateful Eight,” 2015, all Academy Award winners.
“They are all in their own world,” Jensen said about the director’s films. “They are hyper real. Tarantino borrows and steals from lots of genres and lots of movies. I’m kind of a Tarantino nut. I’ve loved Tarantino since his first movie, ‘Reservoir Dogs.’ He didn’t go to film school but worked in a video store. His knowledge of filmmaking comes from watching all these movies in a video store and talking incessantly about movies. That really comes out in his films; an explosion of vibrant characters, great dialogue. That’s what I love about Tarantino. I’m a theater person and I love the dialogue and the rich scenes.”
Jensen admires how Tarantino intertwines his plots.
“’Pulp Fiction’ is one of my favorites of his,” he said. “It jumps all around and it’s such a great movie. You have to pay attention to the plot because it doesn’t follow in a straight line. That’s unique to Tarantino.”
Jensen, who grew up in Kearney, first watched “Reservoir Dogs” while in high school with Kevin Butters, Darrin’s brother.
“In our senior year of high school, Darrin introduced us to a VHS copy of ‘Reservoir Dogs,’” Jensen said. “We all watched it in my basement, me and my close friends. We thought, ‘Man, this is like a play.’ It takes place in a warehouse and they’re all trying to figure out who the rat is. There was so much great dialogue.”
Jensen and his friends edited the movie into a “curse-free” stage play and presented it at Kearney High School.
“That was in 1995, complete with guns that fired blanks that we purchased from Cabela’s,” he said. “That was four years before the shooting at Columbine. You wouldn’t be able to do that today. It was a whole different world then. It was a blast when we did it.”
Fast forward almost 25 years later and the daughter of one of Jensen’s friends, Julia, performs a role in the movie by Tarantino.
Jensen tells the story to illustrate the deep pool of talented artists associated with Kearney.
“She’s getting all kinds of buzz,” Jensen said about Julia’s performance. “Leonardo DiCaprio referred to her as a young Meryl Streep. She’s kind of a big deal.”