Loading...

Quentin Tarantino Wants a Second Oscar. Will Django Give It to Him? 

Quentin Tarantino emerges from a chaotic couple of years with his most ambitious film to date, Django Unchained. Will the Academy really, really like it?

Thursday, Dec 13 2012
Comments
8422777.t.jpg

Quentin Tarantino has been Googling himself, and it's starting to become a problem. The filmmaker, whose eighth feature, Django Unchained, opens on Christmas Day, is famously an analog evangelist: He writes his scripts in longhand; he bans cellphones from his sets, and hasn't had one of his own in years; he's claimed that the day the film industry "evolves" and makes it impossible for him to shoot on celluloid will be the day he retires. He's also sworn that the New Beverly Cinema, the Los Angeles revival house that he rescued from certain death in 2010, will continue to project 35 mm film "as long as I'm alive, and as long as I'm rich."

"But I do have an iPad, and I have a lot of fun with it," Tarantino tells me. It's a rainy afternoon in late November, and the 49-year-old former video store clerk is sequestered in the bar at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills, nursing a healthy pour of pinot noir.

"But because of that, I found myself Googling Django Unchained, seeing what people are saying, the articles that are out there," he admits. "That's been kind of fun for a while, but now I've got to get out of it. It's hard to not want to do that when you have easy access to that kind of shit. And I've never really had that before, so I'm gonna actually have to get rid of my iPad for a while."

click to flip through (3) 8422779.t.jpg
   
 

Related Stories

By the time you read this, Django Unchained will have been widely screened for industry members and critics, with some suggesting that Tarantino's latest confection could have used more time in the oven, while others name it one of the best films of the year. But at the time of our interview, almost any "articles that are out there" about Django could only be speculative. Aside from Tarantino's collaborators and confidants, no one has actually seen the movie — me included. There are few filmmakers I would agree to interview for a cover story without actually having seen their movie first: This year, the list starts and ends with Quentin Tarantino.

In all that Googling, I wonder, is there anything he's read that's totally inaccurate?

"They've been saying that me and [editor] Fred [Raskin] have been editing up until the last second," Tarantino says, without hesitation. "And we locked our cut two weeks ago."

So why not let me see it before our interview?

"I don't want anyone to see it now, until the mix is finished," he says, adding, "people can see it when I'm fucking done. I'm getting done with it real quick. They can wait a couple days." Besides, "It would actually spoil Saturday if anyone had seen it."

Two days after our sit-down at the Four Seasons, Django Unchained will be unveiled to its first audience, at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood. "It's almost like a Cannes Film Festival screening, the DGA thing," Tarantino says.

Cannes looms large in Tarantino's legend; the festival hosted the international premieres of each of his features except for Jackie Brown, his only other December release. Cannes loves him, and he has loved soaking up that love. In 2009, after Inglourious Basterds debuted at the festival, Tarantino said, "I wanted to get the biggest standing ovation of the festival, and I got it. They counted it."

But the unveiling of Django at the DGA has symbolism that a Cannes premiere wouldn't. In 2012, 20 years after Reservoir Dogs debuted at Sundance and established Tarantino as the rebel filmmaker of his time, he finally became a dues-paying member of the guild — a Hollywood institution he'd famously resisted joining for the first two decades of his career.

"I'm not a Hollywood outsider anymore," Tarantino recently told Playboy. "I know a lot of people. I like them. They like me. I think I'm a pretty good member of this community, both as a person and as far as my job and contributions are concerned."

Choosing the guild's theater for the first screening of his highly anticipated new film is a sign that Tarantino, the boy wonder who made his name via ostensibly alternative venues like Sundance and Cannes, is eager for the embrace of that community.

But Tarantino still does things his way. "You have to admit," I say, "there's something unusual about doing an interview with someone like me before they've seen the movie."

"I don't think it's so weird," Tarantino protests. "I mean, unless you were supposed to review the movie to me. We don't have to talk about the movie — talk about me."

We will. But perhaps we can only engage up to a certain level, I say, because I haven't seen the movie.

Tarantino fires back: "I'm OK with that."

Back in 2009, Inglourious Basterds — a two-and-a-half-hour revisionist, World War II epic in multiple languages, with subtitles — grossed $120 million domestically. It also stood toe-to-toe with Avatar and The Hurt Locker on Oscar night, netting nominations for Tarantino as writer and director and a Best Supporting Actor win for Christoph Waltz.

Related Content

Now Showing

  1. Tue 22
  2. Wed 23
  3. Thu 24
  4. Fri 25
  5. Sat 26
  6. Sun 27
  7. Mon 28

    Find capsule reviews, showtimes & tickets for all films in town.

    Sponsored by Fandor

Box Office

Scores provided by Rotten Tomatoes

Join My Voice Nation for free stuff, concert and dining info & more!

Slideshows

  • Cowabunga! 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
    The COWABUNGA! - 30 Years of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles tribute show opened Friday night at Iam8bit. Guests donned their beloved turtle graphic tees, onesies and a couple April O'Neils were there to report on all the mean, green, fighting machine action. Artist included Jude Buffum, Tony Mora, Nan Lawson, leesasaur, Jim Rucc, Mitch Ansara, Guin Thompson, Stratman, Gabe Swarr, Joseph Harmon, Alex Solis, Allison Hoffman, Jose Emroca Flores, Jack Teagle and more. All photos by Shannon Cottrell.
  • Are Westerns For The Weak? Not According to "Sensei" Martin Kove
    Decades ago, the western film was king, with nearly 100 produced every year at their peak in the 1940s, and their popularity extending years beyond. But today, other than rare successes like Django Unchained or True Grit, the genre is not in great shape. Films such as Cowboys and Aliens and The Lone Ranger failed to spark new interests in the western. It's a tough nut to crack, but veteran movie bad guy Martin Kove -- most well known for his role as Sensei John Kreese in The Karate Kid -- is passionate about the classic American film genre and is trying to revive it. We spent an afternoon at his home talking about westerns and how to make the genre interesting again. All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • Scenes from The Gallery of Film Poster Art at CSUN
    The Gallery of Film Poster Art at Cal State Northridge is the country's only permanent university exhibit dedicated to the art of the movie poster. The gallery houses rare and international film posters from the collection of Steve Olson, whose business card reads "Buyer of Investment Properties -- Collector of Rare Movie & Art Posters." John Schultheiss, Professor of Cinema and Television Arts at CSUN as well as the curator of the poster gallery, says he's heard from visitors that it's the best-kept secret in L.A. CSUN doesn't advertise the gallery so people have to stumble across it or hear of it somehow. Schultheiss hopes that people will begin to associate CSUN with something particularly important and special after visiting the gallery. All original photos by Jared Cowan.

Movie Trailers

View all movie trailers >>

Now Trending