Watch: Awkward pause as Quentin Tarantino shuts down reporter's claim of sexist writing in his new film

Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino gave a blunt answer when asked if he made a conscious decision to give female lead Margot Robbie fewer lines than her male counterparts in his new film Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood.

Appearing on a panel with Robbie, who plays Sharon Tate in the film, sat next to him, a New York Times reporter asked Tarantino a question which appeared to rile him.

"You haven't really given her (Robbie) many lines in the movie," the reporter said.

"I guess that was a deliberate choice on your part and I just wanted to know why that was - that we don't actually hear her speaking very much?"

Tarantino gave a short sharp response to the question, "well, I just reject your hypothesis".

The room then fell silent for a few awkward moments before Robbie then commented: "I always look to the character and what the character is supposed to serve to the story," she said.

"I think the moments I was on screen gave a moment to honour Sharon... I think the tragedy was the loss of innocence.

"To show the wonderful sides of her could be done without speaking. I did feel like I got a lot of time to explore the character without dialogue, which is an interesting thing."

Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood is Tarantino's first movie not being released by Harvey Weinstein.

After Tarantino cut ties with the disgraced mogul, the project attracted the interest of most studios. Sony Pictures landed the film and gave it a $US95 million budget — a very rare gamble on a high-priced original movie.

Instead of superheroes or intellectual property, Once Upon a Time in ... Hollywood will instead bank on the draw of Tarantino and his two movie stars. Margot Robbie also co-stars as Sharon Tate.

Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood will be released in NZ theatres August 15.

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