Quentin Tarantino: “Les Euit Salopards is actually my first real horror film”

Excluded for Première, QT releases the guns.

June 6, 2020 update: Find the interview that Quentin Tarantino had given us for the release of Eight bastards, broadcast for the first time in clear this Sunday on Arte.

Article of January 5, 2016: Les 8 Salopards is your feature film that contains the most references to the rest of your work, and yet you come out with the sensation of having seen your most original film …
Interesting … Can you elaborate?

The start of diligence, right after Django Unchained, places the spectator on familiar ground. Then, when the characters arrive in the hostel, we think of the first scene ofInglourious Basterds. The speech that Samuel L. Jackson delivers to Bruce Dern refers directly to the scene of the Sicilians in True romance… Without forgetting the atmosphere at the Dogs Reservoir that you are the first to point out …
The same thing happened to me when I was writing the streakInglourious Basterds in the cellar. I remember putting my pen down thinking, “Actually, it’s Dogs Reservoir, but in a basement in Germany. “It was not intentional on my part, but yes, the structure of 8 bastards again echoes that of Dogs Reservoir once we are in the hostel: the characters disembark one by one, introduce themselves without really knowing whether or not they are telling the truth and, just before the third act, a flashback puts everything in perspective.

The soundtrack of 8 Salopards

This is also where Les 8 Salopards becomes original, and somehow stands out as your first horror film, evoking in a totally unexpected way evil Dead.
I recently reconnected via the internet with an ex-girlfriend, whom I dated before shooting Dogs Reservoir. I invited her to come and see the film and, after the screening, she asked to interview me for her cultural blog. She was the first to point this out to me during the interview, arguing that The 8 bastards is apparently my second western, but basically it is my first real horror film. Come to think of it, Ennio Morricone’s music is more like a horror movie than a spaghetti western score. We are closer to The Thing than Sergio Leone … And since we’re talking about the classic of John Carpenter, the multiple winks to The Thing in Les 8 Salopards, more or less aware, should not have escaped you: Kurt Russell, the characters trapped in this cabin by a snowstorm, paranoia, pretense, until this explosion of final violence … The most interesting, in all this is that Dogs Reservoir, at the time, was my tribute to The Thing, without snow, special effects, and Kurt Russell.

Are you closing the loop?
There is that. Even if I use these references to say something completely different today. Les 8 Salopards attempts to make a sincere statement about America in the aftermath of the Civil War.

We feel that your filmography has taken a deliberate turn after Death boulevard, as if you were now more concerned with the big story than with your obsession with “cool”.
Undeniably. But I started this new chapter almost in spite of myself, since each time, it was the genre that was my gateway. With Dogs Reservoir and pulp Fiction, I delivered my version of the gangster film; Jackie brown was my tribute to Blaxploitation; Kill bill, my love letter to the martial arts cinema; and Death boulevard revisiting the 1970s chase movies. When you tackle something as powerful as World War II, an event that profoundly changed the face of the world, even if it was through an adventure story as The Canons of Navarone, you are forced to examine your feelings about this conflict. Using the spaghetti western to tackle the problem of slavery was my intention from the start with Django Unchained. From then on, your cinema instantly becomes political. A dimension, which I think will continue to grow.

This development found a fairly spectacular response among the public: Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained are by far your biggest box office successes.
I think it took me ten years to become something other than “the guy who made pulp Fiction ” This is understandable. And even if they brought in more money, I know thatInglourious Basterds and Django Unchained didn’t hit the zeitgeist like they did pulp Fiction. But we’re talking about a phenomenon like it doesn’t happen very often, and I’m incredibly lucky to have experienced this at least once in my career. I’m even more proud of the success of …Basterds and of Django… that they both fit into so-called moribund genres at the box office. The failure of Valkyrie (Bryan Singer) six months ago did not bode well for a WWII movie, and few would have bet on a western – especially with a black actor in the lead role – when Django Unchained is out.

We’ve heard a lot of stories about the chaotic genesis of 8 bastards, that you almost didn’t shoot after hacking into a first version of the screenplay on the Net. How did you get the idea for the script originally?
I never seriously considered making a sequel to Django Unchained, but the idea of ​​a series of novels, which would extend his adventures and could take place both when he was a slave and ten years after the American Civil War, appealed to me enormously. So I started writing a story called Django in the White Hell, which started in a stagecoach. The character of Daisy (interpreted by Jennifer Jason Leigh in Les 8 Salopards) was there, John Ruth (Kurt russell) also, and, with Django, they were heading to an inn where the hero was going to have to solve a mystery. Two years ago, when I was at the Morelia, Mexico festival, where the organizers had arranged a space on the roof of my hotel so that I could write, I realized that this story was too exciting for me. to be a novel – it would become that of my next film. A conclusion was then imposed: I was going to have to withdraw Django of the plot. To function fully, it could not revolve around such a heroic character. His past must have been ambiguous, like the other protagonists. This is where I imagined Major Warren, who is just as iconic in my eyes, but in the manner of a Lee Van Cleef reviewed and corrected by Sam jackson. (To laugh.)

Did you write the rest of the script with these actors in mind – Tim Roth, Michael Madsen – and the idea of ​​composing a cast that looks like a real Tarantino All-Star ?
Yes, that’s what I called them, imagine, the Tarantino All-Star. I was in the middle of writing the script when the Lumière festival in Lyon invited me to receive the Lumière Prize (in October 2013). Tim, Harvey (Keitel), Uma (Thurman) and others I have worked with in the past had made the trip to attend the ceremony. I was aware of the honor I had been given, but I did not know how touched I would be by their affection. After Dogs Reservoir and pulp Fiction, I think a lot of people, me first, had identified Tim roth like my favorite actor, imagining that this collaboration would continue until the end of our careers. We almost ended up on Inglourious Basterds, but at the time, he was caught on his TV series (Lie to me). When I started writing the scenes for 8 bastards taking place in the hostel, just after the Lyon festival, I knew that the time to fix this error had finally arrived. I wrote the character of Oswaldo for Tim, the same way I imagined that of Joe Gage for Michael Madsen.

One more reason to see Les 8 Salopards as a highlight, a crossroads in your career…

So what would be the next step?
We’ll see. I always need a little time before I think about the rest. Having said that, I have the rights to a book that I have wanted to adapt for a long time, and now may be the time to get started. It is Forty Lashes Less One, ofElmore Leonard (published in France under the title “The Zulu of the West”), which could become my third western. However, I see it more as a TV project, not a movie, in the form of a four or six hour mini-series.

It is indeed surprising that someone like you, who always has too much material for his scripts, has not yet developed a TV series …
Whenever I prepare a film, I see myself already shooting sequels, then prequel, until I decide to move on. But for several months, it is: “Yes yes, I’m going to do a third Kill Bill, then another, and then, Kill Bill – Origins! ” (To laugh.)

Do I take it that it’s time for Kill Bill fans to mourn a third volume?
(He resumes his seriousness.) Never say never when talking about Kill bill

Do you still plan to hang up the gloves after ten feature films?
The advantage, if I do this miniseries after Elmore Leonardis that it will not count towards the count. I will always have two films left to shoot.

You already cheated a little by presenting Les 8 Salopards as your eighth feature film. Should we deduce that you are considering the two volumes of Kill bill as one film?
Exactly. I just made you buy two tickets instead of one. (To laugh.)

Can you see your films again?
On the contrary, I have no problem with it. In general, I would say that it does not take eighteen months without having reviewed my entire film at least once. As soon as I stumble across one of the movies by zapping the cable, you can be sure that I will watch several scenes. In my cinema, the New Beverly (a legendary Los Angeles theater that he bought in 2007), we offer every Friday what we call the “Tarantino midnight “: For one month, one of my films is screened every Friday at midnight and I regularly attend the sessions to watch it with the public.

You’re never frustrated by rediscovering certain scenes from Dogs Reservoir or from pulp Fiction ?
I’m not going to lie to you: I love my movies, and I take great pleasure in seeing them again. Certain directing choices in my first feature films are obvious to me, and I would make different ones today. However, whatever their degree of amateurism, I would not change these sequences for anything in the world because they refer me to the filmmaker that I was at the time. I’m not anymore, but I have a great affection for him.

So ten movies and then go, is that your last word?
It is still up to date. For now, anyway. Even more than pulp Fiction, Kill bill is the work in which my idea of ​​cinema is expressed at 3000%. You may not like the film, but I don’t think you can deny the fact that it shows a certain vision. After resetting the counters to zero with Death boulevard, my style has taken an increasingly literary turn. When I get to these ten films, I think I will turn to writing novels, books on cinema and plays that I will no doubt direct. I see this journey as more of an “abandonment”. I don’t want to be one of those aging directors who keeps filming because he can’t do anything else. I like the idea of ​​being an artist who is not there forever, but only for a certain period during which I will remain in full possession of my faculties, and that my films, Dogs Reservoir to the last, are connected by the same umbilical cord. Beyond ten feature films, I don’t know if I will be able to maintain the same degree of concentration. I want to start at the top, maybe not of my glory, but of my skills. And, to be completely honest, the prospect of leaving you hungry is enough for me.

Interview Mathieu Carratier

Les 8 Salopards of Quentin Tarantino with Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt russel, Jennifer Jason Leigh to be released in theaters on January 6

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