Quentin Tarantino hints (again) at quitting film to avoid making 'horrible last movies'
Tarantino says most iconic directors usually go out on a bad note, so he's contemplating ending his career on a high after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood's success.
The iconic filmmaker, 58, revealed on a recent episode of the Pure Cinema Podcast that his long-expressed intention to retire after releasing 10 films holds true.
"Most guys have horrible last movies," Tarantino said. "Usually their worst movies are their last movies. And that's the case for most of the Golden Age directors that ended up making their last movies in the late '60s and the '70s, then that ended up being the case for most of the New Hollywood directors who made their last movies in the late '80s and the '90s."
He went on to reference Bonnie & Clyde director Arthur Penn's career trajectory as a prime example of his point: "The fact that Arthur Penn's last movie is Penn & Teller Get Killed is, like, a metaphor for how crummy most of the New Hollywood directors' last, last films were," he explained. "So, to actually end your career on a decent movie is rare. To end it with, like, a good movie is kind of phenomenal. It's just rare."
After winning two Oscars for his Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained screenplays, Tarantino rode universal critical acclaim for subsequent projects, including 2015's The Hateful Eight and his most recent work, 2019's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which scored a Best Picture nomination at the 2020 Oscars and won supporting actor Brad Pitt — who previously won an Oscar for producing — his first Academy Award as a performer in a film.
"I mean, most directors' last films are f---ing lousy," Tarantino continued. "It's making me think that maybe I should not make another movie because I could be really, really happy with dropping the mic on Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."
Tarantino has long been open about his intentions to retire after making 10 movies. During the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Oscar campaign in January 2020, the director told journalist Peter Travers that his new role as a father further confirmed his desire to step back.
"I haven't retired, so me talking about the aesthetics of retiring before I've retired is kind of obnoxious. I do feel that directing is kind of a young man's game, and cinema is changing. I'm now more part of the old guard than I was before," he said.
"I kind of like that now it's time for this third act, to just lean a little bit more into the literary, lean a little bit more into the writing, which would be good as a new father, as a new husband," he continued. "I'm not just grabbing my family and yanking them to Germany or to Sri Lanka or wherever the next story takes place. I can be a little bit more of a homebody, and become a little bit more of a man of letters."
Also on the Pure Cinema Podcast, Tarantino discussed his plan to turn Once Upon a Time in Hollywood into a novel, which he said will reveal the backstory of Pitt's 1960s Hollywood stuntman Cliff Booth.
"In the movie, Cliff is a real enigma, you're kind of like, what's this guy's deal?" said Tarantino of the book, which will be out on June 29. "And one of the things in the book is, there's these isolated chapters that tell you, like, this whole chapter will be about Cliff's past. It goes back in time to tell you about Cliff at this point in time. And then you go further on with the normal run of the story and there's another chapter that goes back in time and tells you about Cliff's past. And every isolated chapter that's just about Cliff's past is like a weird little pulp novel unto itself starring Cliff."
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019 Movie)