Quentin Tarantino Quote/Unquote: October 2007
Your new movie Death Proof is about a killer who drives around offing people in car crashes. Did you have fun?
Point one was to be realistic about what happens in a crash – you kinda get ripped apart. But it’s also about the audience. They know what’s gonna happen, but the girls in the movie are oblivious until the second before it happens. I’m making the audience complicit in this crash. They want it. They’re waiting for it and then it’s like a cum shot. You feel a little ashamed, feel a little bad, but feel like you came. Now light the cigarettes. If, at the last second, the girls braked and missed the other car, the audience would be pissed off.
So what’s your favourite screen death?
I could obsess over that for this entire interview. Most are from slasher films. I love the axe chopping the arm off in Dario Argento’s Tenebre, and then she paints the wall with blood after the arm’s off. There’s a fantastic death in the Friday The 13th series, Jason X, where he takes the lab girl and sticks her face in the sink of liquid nitrogen, which solidifies her face, then he smashes it against the counter, so it breaks like glass. Cool.
What about the grisliest death?
There’s a terrific slasher movie called The Prowler, it was out right after they’d come down hard on those movies, but they got X-rated violence in. I don’t know who got a blowjob to get it done, but someone must have. There’s a girl in the shower, with her boyfriend lying on the bed, and the prowler comes up and sticks a bayonet through the top of his head so it comes down through his chin. It’s really slow. And he goes into the shower, where the chick is naked, and he stabs her with a pitchfork and as she’s screaming, he lifts her up the wall. Also, the most extreme death is in this horror called Don’t Go In The House. This guy builds a metal room so he can tempt girls in, strip them naked and then burn them alive with a flame-thrower! The first murder is jaw-dropping. You really can’t believe it!
What’s the worst script you’ve ever been pitched?
I’m a writer, so I don’t get too many scripts, but I do remember a studio offered me something that they thought was “me”. My producing partner at the time Lawrence Bender was hanging out with some dude from Fox or Warners or whatever, and they said I should stop working on what I was doing, because I’d be so into this. It was Hawaii Five–O: The Movie. I tried to watch the old TV show, but it sucks. I don’t even like Hawaii.
What’s your favourite fast-food chain?
Hands down it’s the In-N-Out Burger, which, sadly for you, is only in California. The double-double with cheese is one of the great food experiences. It’s like naughty sex. I even heard Bruce Willis in Fast Food Nation saying he doesn’t eat fast food now, except for In-N-Out.
Ever come close to killing a man?
I can honestly say that putting Zoë Bell on the bonnet of that car in Death Proof was the closest I’ve come to killing a woman. Taking her off the bonnet was the happiest day on that movie. I don’t think I’ve ever come close to killing a guy. I’ve fucked some people up, and come close to putting them in hospital. But not killing them.
Is it true you wrote Zoë Bell’s part in Death Proof specifically for her?
Yes, she starred in a stunt documentary called Double Dare. Zoë’s lovely and so charismatic in that film. I’ve watched it with a lot of audiences and everyone just fell in love with her, so I knew she could totally do it. I wrote it for her and she did it all. There’s no stunt double. When I told her about the part, Zoë’s attitude was, “When I was hired to ‘be’ Sharon Stone I was always just her hand or her foot. I don’t want to be that girl. I wanna do what I used to do and I wanna do the whole scene.”
Moving on, what’s your weapon of choice to scare off a burglar?
If they were just on my property, I’d call the cops and would tell them to fuck off. But honestly, if someone was in my house, I wouldn’t scare them away, I’d fucking kill them. I have a shotgun for that very purpose. No wounding or taking prisoners. I’d have to assume they were going to kill me and I’d blow the fucker away.
How about trouble with insane fans?
My fans don’t tend to be insane, more enthusiastic. But I have had a stalker, and it was kind of disturbing. She wasn’t bad looking but she was crazy. And when you see that odd rabbity look, even a pretty girl isn’t pretty any more.
So what happened?
I was doing press for Pulp Fiction and I get a phone call from a girl that sounded nice when I was lying in bed. You’re in a strange city and a pretty-sounding girl calls at night, you think, “Why not?” I’d helped her get into a party and that was it. But she called up every hotel in New York until she got me. So we have a chat, I leave the city and then she’s calling my office 40 times a day and ends up having a kinda relationship with my assistant, saying that they were trying to keep the two of us from being together. I called her back to find out what was going on, but she kept calling and calling.
It was creepy but flattering, right?
Right. Then she sends me her film – a Super 8 movie on video, without sound – and it’s about a girl who goes out, picks up guys and kills him. Then I get letters saying I stole her film. I had to put a stop to it after that.
FHM once wrote a movie called Arnold Schwarzenegger: The Musical. How much would we have to pay you to direct it?
Maybe $1, or $1bn. No, definitely $1bn, because that sounds like some crazy shit.
Who would you cast in the lead role?
After these questions, I’d cast you, motherfucker.
Who throws Hollywood’s wildest parties?
Brett Ratner’s [director of Rush Hour and X-Men 3] are pretty damn good. There’s different levels, people like Warren Beatty, Mike Nichols and Uma Thurman throw civilized dinner parties.
What about for getting laid?
Hands down the best pussy party in Hollywood is the New Line Christmas party [producers of the Lord Of The Rings trilogy]. To not get laid at that party, you’ve got to be so unfamous that even you don’t know who you are.
There’s eight hot women in this movie, but no sex scene. Why the hell not?
A combination of two things. With the actresses I’ve cast, I’m too much of a gentleman to ask them to strip and do a bunch of shit. And I’m not asking the guys either. And two, unless they’re erotic or really kinky, I find sex scenes the boring part. That’s when I get the popcorn.
So you’d never do a porno, then?
I could do an erotic film, I wouldn’t mind doing a women-in-prison or a cheerleader movie. And, if I do it, I’m not going to cast someone like Gwyneth Paltrow. It would have to be a cool, trampy actress who says, “OK, let’s get the cameras rolling – here we go!”
Original interview by Damon Wise and Will Lawrence in the October 2007 issue of FHM UK magazine
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