|Photo by Andrew Cooper|
Ten years ago, I was scheduled to interview Quentin Tarantino in Cannes, a couple of days before the premiere of Pulp Fiction. I arrived at his hotel at noon and called him, only to be greeted with a bleary hello. He invited me to his room, which was a shambles. Hed clearly had a wild night. An hour later, he was ready to talk and he couldnt have been friendlier or more garrulous. As we walked through the city, we would be stopped every few yards by beautiful young French women who would almost elbow me aside to get to Tarantino, asking for his autograph with a coquettery that suggested the possibility of a quid pro quo. He smiled and signed his name, innocently unaware that, just one week later, his film would win the festival and he would leave France vastly more famous than he already was at that moment.
Cut to April 13, 2004. Tarantinos scheduled to call me at 8 a.m. 8:15. 8:30. 8:45. Shortly after 9, I get a call from his publicist, whos driven over to his house to wake him. Im giving him coffee. Hell call in five minutes. At 9:30 he calls and apologizes profusely, saying that the night before hed been at a party for the Kill Bill: Vol. 1 DVD at the Playboy Mansion. We start to talk and plus ça change he couldnt be friendlier or more garrulous as we ponder the master plan behind Kill Bill, the mysteries of Mel Gibson and, of course, the pleasure of moviegoing.
L.A. WEEKLY: If somebody else had made Kill Bill: Vol. 2, where and when would you want to see it?
QUENTIN TARANTINO: One, I would be seeing it on opening day, right? It just so happens that its going to be showing at the Dome, and any movie showing at the Dome thats where Id be to see it. Ive loved the Dome since I was a little kid. It was funny, we had the premiere there, and the editor, Sally Menke, she comes up to me and says, Theres a problem, the curved screen. The lights going to be wrong on the two sides. And I just said, Thats the Dome. I love that curved screen.
Youre really lucky when theres something youre excited to see. Thats why youve got see it on the first day. Back when people stood in line, I used to stand in line. If it was, like, a [Brian] De Palma movie I would see the first show the first day and the midnight show that night. I havent seen Vol. 2 that much with an actual audience. Im looking forward to seeing it with a bunch of people on that Saturday night when they could have gone anywhere but theyre there. I look forward to their reaction to that buried-alive scene.
Is there any movie around you wish youd made?
If I had done the opening 10 minutes and opening credits of the Dawn of the Dead remake, Id be very proud. And believe me, I was against remaking George Romero that was sacrilege. I dont think I would have the mania to make The Passion of the Christ, but Id be proud of the results. Those are the only things playing around right now that are terrific.
So you saw The Passion of the Christ?
I loved it. Ill tell you why. I think it actually is one of the most brilliant visual storytelling movies Ive seen since the talkies as far as telling a story via pictures. So much so that when I was watching this movie, I turned to a friend and said, This is such a Herculean leap of Mel Gibsons talent. I think divine intervention might be part of it. I cannot believe that Mel Gibson directed it. Not personally Mel Gibson I mean, Braveheart was great. I mean, I cant believe any actor made that movie. This is like the most visual movie by an actor since Charles Laughton made The Night of the Hunter. No, this is 15 times more visual than that. It has the power of a silent movie. And I was amazed by the fact that it was able to mix all these different tones. At first, this is going to be the most realistic version of the Jesus story you have to decipher the Latin and Aramaic. Then it throws that away at a certain point and gives you this grandiose religious image. Goddamn, thats good direction! It is pretty violent, I must say. At a certain point, it was like a Takashi Miike film. It got so fucked up it was funny. At one point, my friend and I, we just started laughing. I was into the seriousness of the story, of course, but in the crucifixion scene, when they turned the cross over, you had to laugh.