No when you say you’re reading Playboy for the articles, you won’t be lying. In this interview, Quentin Tarantino talks on rewriting history, Django Unchained, drugs (never on set), marriage, and hints at a possible retirement not far into the future.
PLAYBOY: You killed Hitler in Inglourious Basterds, with Jewish soldiers scalping Nazis. In DjangoUnchained you have a liberated slave turned bounty hunter who takes on the slave masters who turned his wife into a prostitute. Hollywood is recycling fairy tales, from Alice in Wonderland toThe Wizard of Oz. Are you doing a more creative version by crafting revisionist-history fables that allow victims of loathsome events to rise up and have their day?
TARANTINO: It’s in the eye of the beholder to say if it’s more creative or not, but that is what I’m doing, partly because I would just like to see it. You turn on a movie and know how things are going to go in most films. Every once in a while films don’t play by the rules. It’s liberating when you don’t know what’s happening next. Most of the movies that have done that did it accidentally, like they punched into a contraband area they hadn’t quite thought all the way through. But for that moment in the film, it is liberating. I thought, What about telling these kinds of stories my way—rough and tough but gratifying at the end?
TARANTINO: When it came to Inglourious Basterds, there was a movie done in 1942, Hitler—Dead or Alive. It was just as America had entered the war. A rich guy offers a million-dollar bounty on Hitler’s life. Three gangsters come up with a plan to kill Hitler. They parachute into Berlin and work their way to where Hitler is. It’s a wacky movie that goes from being serious to very funny. The gangsters get Hitler, and when they start beating the fuck out of him, it is just so enjoyable. They shave his mustache off, cut off that lock of hair and take his shit off so he looks like a regular guy. The Nazis show up, and Hitler, who doesn’t look like Hitler anymore, is like, “Hey, it’s me!” And they beat the shit out of him. I thought, Wow, this is fucking hysterical.
TARANTINO: That wasn’t the jumping-off point for the film—it didn’t come to me till just a little bit before I wrote it. I’d written all day and was meditating about what the next day’s work was going to be. I was listening to music, pacing around, and finally I just grabbed a pen, went over to a piece of paper and wrote, “Just fucking kill him.” I put it near my bedside table so I would see it when I woke up the next morning and could decide after a night’s sleep if it was still a good idea. I saw it, paced around awhile and said, “Yeah, that’s a good idea.” I went out on the balcony and started writing. And I just fucking killed him. [laughs]
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