Is Quentin Tarantino plotting retirement after his tenth movie?
“If I can’t shoot on film or release to some degree on film, I’ll leave it at ten,” the outspoken director vowed at Comic-Con, where he debuted a crowd-pleasing look at his violent Western The Hateful Eight—presented in “glorious 70mm” this Christmas, as star Samuel L. Jackson hammered home in a pre-taped message on Saturday.
Also at Comic-Con, Tarantino dropped the biggest movie geek news of the day: Ennio Morricone (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly) is scoring Hateful Eight, marking the legendary 86-year-old Italian composer’s first Western score in four decades.
After hearing Hollywood’s No. 1 film geek wax ecstatic over celluloid and lament the demise of film projection, the retirement shocker prompted resounding cheers, not gasps, from the Tarantino faithful. Not that fans of the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs helmer really believe he’ll ever stop making movies.
Hateful Eight—his eighth feature film—was dead just a year ago, after all. When the first draft of Tarantino’s talky R-rated Western leaked online he reacted by canning it himself, reducing the ensemble project to a one-time staged script read.
Seeing his script come alive with readings by Kurt Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Tim Roth, Walton Goggins, Bruce Dern, and Michael Madsen only fortified Tarantino’s love for Hateful Eight. He made it anyway, “even though I kicked and screamed” over the leak controversy, he admitted.
Jennifer Jason Leigh and Demian Bichir joined his octet of ragtag ruffians whose lives and pistols cross one night in the snowy post-Civil War wilderness. Now Tarantino says it’s the second of three Westerns he hopes to make—before retiring, of course.
With Hateful Eight back on, Tarantino insisted on shooting not just on film, but on 65mm. He turned to Panavision asking for the widest lenses they had—and ended up with the very same Ultra Panavision lenses that Ben-Hur was shot on.
At Comic-Con, Tarantino didn’t reveal how he pulled off the real trick of Hateful Eight: getting distributor The Weinstein Co. to release it in a limited 70mm roadshow release this Christmas. (He did reveal he came to the pop-nerd confab two years ago in disguise, walking the floor in a lucha libre mask: “If you see Blue Demon, it’s me.”) But it’s no secret that the Oscar-winning filmmaker is a bleeding heart champion of film.
“I am not a fan of digital projection,” he told fans. “By losing projection, to me, we’ve already ceded too much ground to the barbarians.”
Not even a split release, dropping a few token 35mm prints into rotation while the majority of theaters push a button on a digital projection, will satisfy Tarantino’s purist heart any more. “No. That’s not the movie industry I signed up for,” he declared.
Digital projection, he slammed, “is just HBO in public.” And with O.G. film stock and exhibition swiftly becoming extinct, Tarantino hinted at a move into television. “Maybe there’s ten movies and a mini-series,” he grinned, expressing interest in an 8-hour Quentin Tarantino TV project.
He also stoked hopes for the long-rumored third installment of his Kill Bill saga, which would pick up several years after Uma Thurman’s Bride dispatched ex-fellow assassin Vernita Green in front of Vernita’s young daughter.
“We’ll see,” he teased. “Never say never when it comes to Kill Bill 3. Uma would really like to do it… we’re still waiting for Vernita’s daughter to get old enough to kill her.“
Naturally, as soon as Tarantino announced his impending retirement he reconsidered a few seconds later. “I might just say the hell with that and make 15… but I like the idea of getting out, leaving you wanting a little bit more.”