Mike Fleming: My Playboy Interview With Quentin, And Some Outtakes On Tony Scott
NRA’s Anti- Hollywood Stance An Assault On Our Intelligence
I recently spent time with Quentin Tarantino as we did the December Playboy Interview for his latest film, Django Unchained. This was my second Playboy Q&A with Quentin. The first time happened before the release of Kill Bill, and it became clear to me during that interview that my subject was determined to make it as good as it could possibly be. He told me he’d grown up without a father, and at around 10 years old, his mother gave him a Playboy subscription to help make him a man. What he did was memorize the interviews with great actors and directors, and he made sure his Q&A stacked up. I came with questions, but felt like my biggest contribution was putting fresh batteries in the tape recorder.
So here we were at it again, years later when the former outsider and rule breaker had proven he was no flash in the pan, and who has grown into acceptance as a respected member of Hollywood’s film making elite. You can read our entire Playboy interview by clicking this link, and find out everything there is to know about how he put together Django Unchained, and the actors he considered before choosing Jamie Foxx to play the title character. And how one of the perks of being Quentin is the ability to cruise around Hollywood in the “Pussy Wagon,” the neon yellow Chevy Silverado SS that Uma Thurman drove in Kill Bill, which sits in his driveway. But there were also some things that didn’t make the interview that I found intriguing that I can share.
One was how much he mourned the shocking death of Tony Scott, who’d turned Tarantino’s True Romance script into a mini masterpiece. It was Scott, his brother Ridley, and a couple of others who gives Tarantino second thoughts about following through on his notion to stop directing around the age of 60. Tarantino is determined not to overstay his welcome, but found Tony Scott an exception to his observation that the later films of great directors are usually the weakest.
TARANTINO: The directorial histories don’t lie, for the most part. But I’ll concentrate on a unique example. I hadn’t thought about how old Tony Scott was until he checked out. And I know him and hadn’t thought about how old he was when he checked out. I go, wow, Tony was in his 70s?
PLAYBOY: Scott, who directed your script True Romance, was well into his 60s when he made Man on Fire, meaning that not all filmmakers lose their edge as they age.
TARANTINO: The rule I apply to older directors is one test. Is their best work in front of them? Tony passed that test, but the answer is usually no. I want my best work to always be in front of me. That’s who I am, the artist I want to be. When you’re going to buy a ticket to see one of my films, it might not be my best work. But there’s still that possibility it will be the one and not a nostalgic trip and not treading water. That is exciting. If it’s not there, I’d rather do other things. Tony’s best movie could’ve been his next one and that always made his movies cool. It’s one of the reasons there was such excitement when his brother Ridley made Prometheus. That could’ve been his best movie. It wasn’t, but it was still an interesting movie. But the fact that it could’ve been a masterpiece was what made it exciting.
PLAYBOY: You don’t turn these things out one a year. How many films do you have left in you?