Quentin Tarantino has had a lot of successful movies and his latest may end up taking home quite a few Oscars. Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood has ten Oscar nominations. With that in mind, he spoke with Deadline where he discussed what the nominations mean to him and that movies like his are proving that “mega-budget” sequels, remakes, and superhero movies may not be the future of cinema. I would say that his movie probably cost a pretty penny too, considering all of the A-listers who appeared in it.
Quentin also talked about potentially directing five episodes of Bounty Law, which was the fictional Western that was portrayed in the movie. That would honestly be super cool. He also confirmed that he will not direct the Star Trek movie that he was previously going to.
Developing The Movie
TARANTINO: What is most gratifying is that frankly the movie survived because of the faith Tom Rothman put into it, and us. One of the things he said when we were having our very first conversation about the movie was, this is that certain kind of movie that we need to champion. An adult movie, not based on anything else. If this movie is a hit, we will show people they need to go to the movie theater to see it. There will be an interest in it, and it’s going to come out, and people are going to leave their houses to see it. That’s how the industry will judge whether or not it’s a success. He said, and when it comes to Sony, man, that is where we live. If we don’t make it a hit at the box office, we failed. I still had to make the movie though. There were so many ways along the line we could have F’d up. But we made the film and he made the theatrical run a success.
DEADLINE: That conversation happened before Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio were in, according to Rothman…
TARANTINO: Yeah. They were hovering around it and he knew they were a couple of the guys being mentioned, but they were not 100%.
DEADLINE: Rothman also said the studio would have liked the box office revenue from China, but that he agreed with your stance to not cut it, when Bruce Lee’s daughter complained about the depiction of her late father in a fictional scene.
Here, Tarantino stood his ground deciding not to cut the Bruce Lee scene despite backlash:
TARANTINO: They absolutely backed me, 100%. They were all disappointed, and so was I. Partly because we had Chinese co-producers and we wanted to well by them. But there is a certain line you cannot cross. If it was just ‘Ok, Cliff slams Katie’s face into the fireplace four times…can we make it two times?’ Ok, I could do that.
DEADLINE: But to remove an entire scene and a character…
TARANTINO: To actually remove an entire scene because the country finds that scene objectionable? No.
Apparently, this was not the first time he was told to take something out of his movie (and he stood his ground):
DEADLINE: Have you ever faced a situation like this one in any of your movies?
TARANTINO: Interesting question. … No, nothing like that … well, wait, I take that back. Yeah, I faced it and conquered it, though. There was a big discussion with Miramax Harvey Weinstein over the torture scene in Reservoir Dogs. At some point when you did your first movie with Harvey Weinstein, you knew you would be presented with a situation where he was going to ask you to cut something out of your movie that is important to you. And it’s going to be presented like the greatest thing in the world. If you will just do this one thing…everything will be fine. You either had to say yes or no. He had a market research screening and came back and said, this movie could go mainstream but that torture scene is stopping it. It marginalizes your film, puts you in the Fangoria crowd. Do want to grow beyond that?
DEADLINE: What did you say? That scene with Michael Madsen cutting the ear off the cop he has kidnapped is a defining moment and the moment Tim Roth’s undercover cop reveals himself…
TARANTINO: I didn’t agree. I had just spent a year on the film festival circuit and saw how it played. And I’m just not going to let somebody say, “We don’t like this character, so we don’t want to see him.” Now this wasn’t a government saying that, it wasn’t a censorship thing. But again, I said, no thank you.
Is It “Cinema?”
The conversation then moved on to the trend we saw in Hollywood where everything from years ago was getting a sequel or remade. Of course, superhero movies and blockbuster films were mentioned:
DEADLINE: It is right in the middle of a darned good year for originality, where a lot of auteur tour de forces came about, despite the obsession with sequels, remakes and tentpoles.
TARANTINO: When you say, despite the sequels and the Avengers: Endgame and all of that, I actually think a war for movies got played out this last year.
DEADLINE: What do you mean?
TARANTINO: As far as I can see, the commercial product that is owned by the conglomerates, the projects everybody knows about and has in their DNA, whether it be the Marvel Comics, the Star Wars, Godzilla and James Bond, those films never had a better year than last year. It would have been the year that their world domination would have been complete. But it kind of wasn’t. Because of what you said, a lot of original movie comment came out and demanded to be seen, and demanded to be seen at the theaters. That ended up becoming a really, really strong year. I’m really proud to be nominated with the other films that just got nominated. I think when you sum up the year, it’s cinema that doesn’t fall into that blockbuster IP proof status, made its last stand this year.
DEADLINE: Hopefully not its last stand…
TARANTINO: If it hadn’t done it this year, it might have been the last stand for movies like that. This is a really groovy year. To combat something like Avengers: Endgame, which for the month before it came out and the month after, you couldn’t talk about anything else. They tried to do that with this last Star Wars and I don’t think it quite worked, but you couldn’t get on United Airlines without running into all the tie-ins, and even the safety commercial had a Star Wars scene.
Tarantino then discussed five episodes of Bounty Law that he had written. If you haven’t seen Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood, the movie is like a TV show within a movie. There’s the main plotline with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt, but there’s also a Western show that’s getting just as much attention. If anything, there were times where Bounty Law felt slightly more entertaining than the actual movie itself. So, it would be pretty cool to see that played out:
DEADLINE: In our very first interview on this movie, you told me how you had written five full episodes of Bounty Law, the fictional Western drama that starred Rick Dalton. Are you through exploring this world, or will you do something with those episodes?
TARANTINO: As far as the Bounty Law shows, I want to do that, but it will take me a year and a half. It got an introduction from Once Upon a Tim in Hollywood, but I don’t really consider it part of that movie even though it is. This is not about Rick Dalton playing Jake Cahill. It’s about Jake Cahill. Where all this came from was, I ended up watching a bunch of Wanted, Dead or Alive, and The Rifleman, and Tales of Wells Fargo, these half-hour shows to get in the mindset of Bounty Law, the kind of show Rick was on. I’d liked them before, but I got really into them. The concept of telling a dramatic story in half an hour. You watch and think, wow, there’s a helluva lot of storytelling going on in 22 minutes. I thought, I wonder if I can do that? I ended up writing five half-hour episodes. So I’ll do them, and I will direct all of them.
No Star Trek for Tarantino
Tarantino now confirms that he is not doing Star Trek, which was teased for a long time to be an exception to his “ten movie rule”:
DEADLINE: Did you officially decide not to direct the Star Trek film you put in motion, the one written by The Revenant’s Mark L. Smith?
TARANTINO: I think they might make that movie, but I just don’t think I’m going to direct it. It’s a good idea. They should definitely do it and I’ll be happy to come in and give them some notes on the first rough cut.
Tarantino Will Stay With Sony
Lastly, Tarantino expressed how Sony would be the studio he chooses to align with for his last movie. Tarantino had previously worked with the Weinstein company, but after the allegations against Weinstein, Tarantino moved his movie to Sony.
TARANTINO: Oh, that’s for sure. I have no idea what that’s going to be. I have a couple things I want to do before the next movie.
For the full interview, visit Deadline.
A girl with too many fandoms to count.