Quentin Tarantino snaps at reporter's claims of sexist writing in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino shut down a reporter in his trademark fashion when accused of having purposely written fewer lines for female lead Margot Robbie in his new film.

New York Times reporter referred to Robbie, who plays murdered actress Sharon Tate in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as a person with a "great deal of acting talent".

"And yet, you haven't really given her many lines in the movie," she added.

"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."

The Inglorious Basterds director appeared to have little time for the subject, replying simply: "Well, I just reject your hypothesis".

The press conference fell silent as Robbie laughed awkwardly before scrambling to respond about her experience playing the role.

"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."

The much-anticipated flick is set in 1960s Los Angeles, and stars Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio alongside Robbie and a raft of other famous faces.

The plot covers the story of the infamous Manson murders, which saw Charles Manson direct his cult followers to stab a pregnant Tate and three others to death at her home in the Hollywood hills.

At its Cannes debut, the film prompted a seven-minute-long standing ovation from the audience.