Quentin Tarantino is a great interview subject in general because he's so goddamned enthusiastic and loquiacious. He likes to talk about stuff, but the problem with him is keeping him on target. QT goes places and often interviewers are just trying to keep up. Lane Brown of New York Magazine keeps up.
Brown spoke to QT as part of the magazine's fall preview issue, and while they hit on the topic of The Hateful Eight, the interview is far wider reaching and absolutely delightful. You should read the whole thing, which you can find here, but these are the bits I truly loved:
On race, white supremacy and The Hateful Eight:
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly doesn’t get into the racial conflicts of the Civil War; it’s just a thing that’s happening. My movie is about the country being torn apart by it, and the racial aftermath, six, seven, eight, ten years later. Finally, the issue of white supremacy is being talked about [in the media today] and dealt with. And it’s what the movie’s about.
It was already in the script [before Ferguson]. It was already in the footage we shot. It just happens to be timely right now. We’re not trying to make it timely. It is timely. I love the fact that people are talking and dealing with the institutional racism that has existed in this country and been ignored. I feel like it’s another ’60s moment, where the people themselves had to expose how ugly they were before things could change. I’m hopeful that that’s happening now.
On how his thoughts about casting have changed, and what matters to him now:
I’ve been making movies for 20 years, and as great as some of those decisions I made in the first ten years were, I probably wouldn’t make them again. What I mean is, I really liked the scripts I wrote, and I really liked my characters, but I wasn’t overenamored, and I wasn’t that precious about them. Back then, I got much more excited by cool casting. I liked the idea of taking an actor I’ve always liked but wasn’t being used much anymore and putting him in the movie and showing people what he could do. But I don’t feel that way anymore. Now it’s all about my characters. I actually think my characters are going to be one of my biggest legacies after I’m gone. So I have no obligation whatsoever other than to just cast it right.
On whether he feels competitive:
This might come across as egotistical, but I don’t really feel in competition with anybody anymore. I’m in competition with myself. David O. Russell can have the biggest hit of the year, and that doesn’t take anything away from me. I couldn’t have been happier that Rick Linklater was at the Oscars this year.
The last time that I felt competitive was when I was doing Kill Bill and my competition was The Matrix Reloaded. That was the sword of Damocles hanging over our heads. I saw Matrix Reloaded at the Chinese Theatre the day it opened, and I walked out of the cinema singing that Jay Z song: “S-dot-Carter / Y’all must try harder / Competition is nada.” I was like, Bring it the fuck on. I was worried about that? Ho-ly shit.
On superhero movies:
I’ve been reading comic books since I was a kid, and I’ve had my own Marvel Universe obsessions for years. So I don’t really have a problem with the whole superhero thing right now, except I wish I didn’t have to wait until my 50s for this to be the dominant genre. Back in the ’80s, when movies sucked — I saw more movies then than I’d ever seen in my life, and the Hollywood bottom-line product was the worst it had been since the ’50s — that would have been a great time.
On outrage culture:
Social critics don’t mean a thing to me. It’s really easy to ignore them, because I believe in what I’m doing 100 percent. So any naysayers for the public good can just fuck off. They might be a drag for a moment, but after that moment is over, it always ends up being gasoline to my fire.
There's so much more in that interview, including a lot of smart film discussion, but these are the five quotes that got to me. I feel a lot of what Tarantino is saying (especially about 80s movies, which sucked), and I love his new perspective on his career. I have seen some people comment that he comes across as a bit full of himself, but he is QUENTIN TARANTINO. I hate when great artists put on a faux humble presentation. The guy knows he's good. That's refreshing.