“The Hateful Eight” was released in December 2015 under The Weinstein Company, nearly two years before the wave of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein went public. While the movie would be the last Tarantino film produced and distributed by Weinstein, it was made with the full backing of Harvey and TWC. Clearly the film mogul was unaware his behavior had inspired the despicable John Ruth character. Tarantino wrote John Ruth as a bounty hunter who brutalizes his prisoner, the female outlaw Daisy Domergue Jennifer Jason Leigh.
Tarantino wrote the script for “The Hateful Eight” circa 2013-2014, and he was aware at that time of Weinstein’s alleged history of sexual harassment and abuse. Following the initial reports about Weinstein in October 2017, Tarantino came forward in an interview with The New York Times to admit he was aware of Weinstein’s behavior. Tarantino said his former girlfriend Mira Sorvino had told him Weinstein had touched her and made unwanted advances on her. The director added he was aware Rose McGowan had reached a settlement with the producer. McGowan has accused Weinstein of raping her.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” Tarantino said. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn't secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things. I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard. If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Tarantino added, “What I did was marginalize the incidents. Anything I say now will sound like a crappy excuse...I chalked it up to a '50s-'60s era image of a boss chasing a secretary around the desk. As if that's ok. That's the egg on my face right now.”
The allegations against Weinstein collapsed The Weinstein Company, which had produced and distributed every Tarantino movie starting with “Death Proof.” Weinstein distributed Tarantino’s previous movies through Miramax starting with the director’s feature debut “Reservoir Dogs.” Tarantino joined a major Hollywood studio for the first time when Sony announced it would be making “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which opened in theaters this summer.
Over the last quarter-century, Quentin Tarantino has managed to occupy a very unique spot within the American film industry. He’s one of only a handful of filmmakers who are as recognizable to people the world over as many movie stars. How many directors are known on a one-name basis, aside from Steven Spielberg? Tarantino is similarly popular, and that meteoric rise to fame started with the theatrical release of his second film, Pulp Fiction, unveiled 25 years ago this month to unsuspecting audiences in the United States.
In honor of Pulp Fiction’s 25th anniversary, we’re counting down the 20 best scenes in Tarantino’s films, including a couple from his summer-2019 release Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. As with all lists, this ranking is legally binding and official, so let’s get into it.
20. Bagheads, Django Unchained
How do you make the Ku Klux Klan funny? Admittedly, Quentin Tarantino wasn’t the first filmmaker to ponder this question — if you go back and rewatch O Brother, Where Art Thou?, you’ll see Joel and Ethan Coen grappling with the same question and coming up with a scene that makes them inherently goofy by turning their rituals into something out of Busby Berkeley. Tarantino goes the route of Monty Python, as we watch some Klansmen, played by Don Johnson and Jonah Hill, among others, struggling with their masks in a way that renders them utterly pathetic and ridiculous. There’s plenty of historical revisionism in Django Unchained, but the way Tarantino turns the Klan into something akin to the Keystone Kops is akin to how Mel Brooks made a laughingstock out of the Nazis.
19. Changing hands, Jackie Brown
The key setpiece in Jackie Brown all involves money changing hands, and the various people overseeing this handoff, from criminals to the Feds. The eponymous flight attendant Jackie Brown is at the center of all of it, even though Tarantino unfolds the events through different versions of the same timeline. The tension is raised as we watch how associates of Ordell Samuel L. Jackson are involved, and how ATF Agent Ray Nicolette Michael Keaton is trying to make sure nothing too untoward goes down. It all takes place in a very non-flashy location, a mall, but Tarantino uses the camera in such a way to keep things tense and fast-paced even in such a nondescript locale. The enjoyment and entertainment value of Jackie Brown is a bit more low-key than with other Tarantino films, but this sequence is a high point.
18. Butch and Marsellus join forces, Pulp Fiction
One of the many charms of Pulp Fiction isn’t just that you’re watching multiple stories playing out over an unexpectedly twisty, thorny timeline. It’s that characters from one story end up appearing in another in surprising ways. Most of all, there’s Marsellus Wallace Ving Rhames, who hovers over the entire proceedings: his wife Mia Uma Thurman is the same woman hitman Vincent Vega John Travolta has to squire around town in one segment, and he’s the same gangster who gets mad at boxer Butch Bruce Willis for not throwing a match. But though he and Butch don’t see eye to eye, even after the two men stare each other down as Butch is trying to escape town, they end up working together in a most unusual situation: they’re held captive by some white-trash types at a weapon store before being sodomized. Butch and Marsellus are able to escape their bonds and bring down the pain — going “medieval” on the white trash — in a visceral, intense sequence that maintains Pulp Fiction’s bold tone.
17. Candieland shootout, Django Unchained
There’s always violence in a Quentin Tarantino film, and just like Inglourious Basterds, his 2012 epic Django Unchained wasn’t going to revel in the bleak cruelty of American slavery without giving the main character a chance to deliver just desserts to the enactors of that cruelty. The climax of the film, set in Candieland, the plantation owned by Calvin Candie Leonardo DiCaprio, is full of violence and gore as Django Jamie Foxx returns without his German benefactor to get his wife back and kill whoever gets in his way. As thrilling as the finale of Basterds, Django ends with an orgy of violence that’s grimly satisfying as a way to rewrite the ugliness of American history.
16. House of Blue Leaves, Kill Bill, Vol. 1
The two Kill Bill movies and yes, this writer does regret to inform you that he’s very much on the “There are two Kill Bill movies” train balance Tarantino’s gift of gab with outrageous bloodletting, baked into the very premise. The Bride Thurman has to kill a lot of people before she can enact her revenge on Bill himself. In terms of bloodshed, there’s no scene with more of it that the extended climactic battle of Volume One, in which the Bride enters the House of Blue Leaves to fight off O-Ren Ishii Lucy Liu and the Crazy 88, her elite team of yakuza. The fight is wild, comic, violent and as Grand Guignol as Tarantino’s violence ever gets. The two Kill Bill films have lots of death, but none as memorable as those here.
15. Final massacre, Inglourious Basterds
What would it have been like if Adolf Hitler and his fellow Nazis were all killed at the same time? What would have happened if Hitler didn’t get the chance to off himself in a bunker in 1945? The answer to these questions comes in the form of the last major setpiece of Inglourious Basterds. The fierce heroine Shoshana Melanie Laurent has, after escaping Hans Landa in the opening scene, reinvented herself as a moviehouse matron in Paris who has, by sheer fate, managed to score a hell of an event: a screening of a Nazi propaganda film attended by basically every major leader in the Third Reich, up to Hitler himself. She’s prepared to go out with a flash, setting fire to nitrate film prints; lucky for her, the eponymous American soldiers are prepared to take down the Nazis as well. Though the plans don’t go entirely as expected, the upshot is that lots of characters bite the big one here, in a scene that’s both gruesome and intentionally outlandish. Of course the scene’s not realistic: it’s a bloody fever-dream fantasy meant to give catharsis that the descendants of WWII victims never received.
14. Naturalistic as hell, Reservoir Dogs
You can never know for sure how much the characters in Tarantino films are telling the truth about themselves. To wit, the revelation in the second half of Reservoir Dogs that one of the unnamed criminals involved in the heist gone wrong isn’t a criminal at all: he’s an undercover cop. Mr. Orange, played by Tim Roth, is a young cop who, as we see in a lengthy flashback, is being taught the right way to successfully do his job undercover. Mr. Orange, as he learns, has to be a great actor because of how much he has to convince his criminal cohorts that he is who he says he is. In the end, he fools just about everybody, even after being shot; in fact, it’s precisely because he fools Mr. White Harvey Keitel that his fate is sealed, as the somewhat less ruthless Mr. White is shocked to his core that his potential protege was a double-crosser. The flashback scene stands out both because it reflects a Tarantino hallmark — character reversals — and because it ends up raising tension for what’s going on in the present.
Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is returning to movie theaters in the thick of awards seasons with a special re-release that will include over 10 minutes of new footage. Sony Pictures has announced the re-release will begin in 1,000 theaters across the U.S. and Canada beginning Friday, October 25. Tarantino’s re-release will include four never-before-included scenes bookending the theatrical cut.
Adrian Smith, President of Domestic Distribution for Sony Pictures Motion, said in a statement announcing the re-release: “Audiences have shown tremendous support for this movie, and we look forward to offering them another opportunity to see the film as it's meant to be seen — in theaters on the big screen — with more sights and sounds of the sixties from Quentin Tarantino as an added treat.”
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” opened in U.S. theaters July 26 to critical acclaim and instant box office success. The movie debuted to $41 million, making it the biggest box office opening of Tarantino’s career. To date, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” has grossed $139 million in the U.S. and $368 million worldwide. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a television actor questioning his place in a changing Hollywood while struggling to break into the movie business. Brad Pitt plays the actor’s stunt double, while Margot Robbie stars as model and actress Sharon Tate.
As IndieWire previously reported, Tarantino's first assembly cut of “Hollywood” ran four hours and 20 minutes. The film's theatrical cut came in at just over two hours and 40 minutes, meaning there were several scenes Tarantino left on the cutting room floor. Scenes starring Tim Roth as Jay Sebring's butler, James Marsden as Burt Reynolds, and Danny Strong as Dean Martin were cut from the movie. “Hollywood” producer David Heyman also told IndieWire that 10-year-old breakout Julia Butters had material cut. Heyman said one of Butters' cut scenes was so good it would have made her a lock for an Oscar nomination.
The news of the “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” re-release comes on the heels of news that Tarantino would not be cutting the film in order to secure a China release. The film’s China theatrical opening was cancelled last week for unconfirmed reasons, though it has been reported that Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon filed a complaint to China's National Film Administration because of her issue with the movie’s depiction of her father. Whether that in any way affected this National Film Administration’s decision is unclear. Representatives for Shannon Lee did not respond to IndieWire’s requests for comment.
“Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is opening in theaters just as Sony revs up its Oscar campaign for the drama. The movie is expected to be a major player in top races for Best Picture, Best Director, and more. Sony recently confirmed that Brad Pitt would be campaigned for Best Supporting Actor, leaving DiCaprio to to run for Best Actor without facing competition from his co-star.
u know you’ve made it as a filmmaker when they’re making films about you. After a big year bolstered by the release of his already-beloved awards contender “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” Quentin Tarantino has now become the subject of yet another film. Tara Wood tackles QT’s filmography, legacy, and influence in the wide-ranging “QT8: The First Eight,” which appropriately enough digs into the first eight films made by the American auteur.
Per the film’s official synopsis, it will take audiences “on a journey through the first 8 wildly divergent films that Tarantino has helmed, narrated by the actors and collaborators who have worked with him. From ‘Reservoir Dogs’ through ‘The Hateful Eight,’ from the video store to the fall of Harvey Weinstein, QT8 digs deep into the story of the most important and controversial filmmaker of our time.”
The film’s zippy first trailer hints at some of the secrets and revelations to come, along with plenty of nods to the future of Tarantino’s filmmaking which he has long hinted would end after ten films, a concept that appears to be gently rebuffed by even his closest pals. While “Hollywood” is not examined in the film, “QT8” has plenty of material to plow through, from Tarantino’s early days in the industry at least one interview subject recalls thinking he was just a big film geek, to the successful screenplays he was never able to direct, to the current period, which finds Tarantino hailed as perhaps the best filmmaker of his generation. It’s must-watch stuff for Tarantino fans, but cinephiles of all stripes should find something revelatory within it, too.
The film features a bevy of talking heads and interview subjects, including frequent Tarantino collaborators like Zoe Bell, Louis Black, Bruce Dern, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, Richard Gladstein, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Kruger, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Stacey Sher, Scott Spiegel, and Christoph Waltz.
“QT8: The First Eight” recently showed in theaters for a special one-night-only event, but it will be available on digital and on demand on December 3. Check out the first trailer for “QT8: The First Eight,” available exclusively on IndieWire, below.
The new Quentin Tarantino documentary “QT8: The First Eight” covers many of the biggest talking points that have emerged out of the writer-director’s feature films, so it’s inevitable the doc briefly lands on Tarantino’s controversial use of the N-word. The director has long been criticized for overusing the racial slur in his scripts, most aggressively in “Django Unchained.” Tarantino's slavery drama featured nearly 110 uses of the N-word. Samuel L. Jackson has already defended Tarantino’s use of the slur, but in “QT8” he goes a step further and calls out the industry for accepting the language in a film like “12 Years a Slave” and not in a film like “Django.”
“You take ’12 Years a Slave,’ which is supposedly made by an auteur. Steve McQueen is very different than Quentin,” Jackson says on camera. “When you have a song that says n-gger in it 300 times nobody says shit. So it’s ok for Steve McQueen to use [the N-word] because he’s artistically attacking the system and the way people think and feel, but Quentin is just doing it to just strike the blackboard with his nails. That’s not true. There’s no dishonesty in anything that [Quentin] writes or how people talk, feel, or speak [in his movies].”
Jackson is referring to a moment in McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” where Paul Dano’s character repeatedly uses the N-word while singing a racist song to a group of slaves. The actor previously reacted to the backlash against Tarantino’s dialogue in an interview with Esquire, saying, “It's some bullshit…You can't just tell a writer he can't talk, write the words, put the words in the mouths of the people from their ethnicities, the way that they use their words. You cannot do that, because then it becomes an untruth; it's not honest. It's just not honest.”
Jackson’s “Django Unchained” co-star Jamie Foxx also appears in “QT8” and defends Tarantino’s dialogue. Foxx has long supported Tarantino’s language, telling Yahoo Entertainment in July 2018, “I understood the text. The N-word was said 100 times, but I understood the text — that's the way it was back in that time.”
Foxx reveals in the documentary that his comfortability with Tarantino’s use of the N-word put him in the position of reassuring co-star Leonardo DiCaprio that it was ok to say the word on set. DiCaprio stars as a racist plantation owner in “Django” and contributed heavily to the movie’s racial slurs.
“Leonardo Dicaprio had a problem saying the word n-gger,” Foxx says. “He said, ‘It’s tough for me to say this.’ I remember Samuel L. Jackson going, ‘Get over it motherfucker. It’s just another Tuesday mothefucker.’ I said, Leo we are not friends. This is your property, these aren’t humans. This is your proprety. When Leo came in the next day, he didn’t speak [to me].”
“QT8: The First Eight,” directed by Tara Wood, made its debut in theaters October 21 for one night only through Fathom Events. The documentary will be available to stream on VOD platforms beginning December 4.
The movie about the race between Thomas Edison Benedict Cumberbatch and George Westinghouse Michael Shannon to illuminate the 1893 World's Fair is being released roughly two years after the former Weinstein Company film was shelved in the wake of sexual misconduct claims against Harvey Weinstein.
Roughly two years after being shelved when the then-Weinstein Company film got caught up in the sexual misconduct allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's The Current War is finally set to hit theaters on Friday, this time as a director's cut.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter at the New York premiere of the 101 Studios film on Monday night, the director described the journey from the near-death and eventual rebirth of his film, which follows the dramatic race between Thomas Edison played by Benedict Cumberbatch and George Westinghouse Michael Shannon to illuminate the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, as emotionally wrought. But that pain would also lay the groundwork for the movie he wanted to make.
"There was a period there when it was quiet, there was uncertainty, and no one knew what was going to happen to the film. It was a very difficult time," Gomez-Rejon told THR. "But I never stopped editing the movie in my head. Looking back on it — not in the moment because that was deafening and painful — but looking back on it, it was a blessing. That moment of silence between, for as painful as it was, allowed me to recut the movie in my head, knowing what I had — what he reality of the footage was — and knowing what I needed."
Both the director and writer Michael Mitnick were thankful that their film is seeing the light of day.
"It doesn't feel real," Mitnick said of the movie's release. "I still will not believe it until I go to a theater and buy a ticket myself to see it. It's been 11 years on this one, but I feel incredibly lucky that we got a chance to make the film that we wanted. I feel fully aware of how rare that is. So I'm just grateful and excited."
Gomez-Rejon said the outcome, as well as the hard learning experiences that came with it, reaffirmed his unflinching passion for the craft of filmmaking. "Every film you decide to make has to be worth fighting for, dying for," the director said. "There has to be a very clear idea of why you're making it because the next one may be as difficult, maybe more difficult than this one. God, I hope it is not, but you still have to have a reason to keep fighting, and that has to be very clear before you undertake any project."
This dedication was shared with Mitnick, producers and cast members Tuppence Middleton, Shannon and Cumberbatch, whose "most beautiful show of support" during reshoots, was echoed at the premiere.
"This film coming back to life had to do with all the people involved in it, the cast, crew, the incredibleChung-hoon Chung, Alfonso and Michael Mitnick with his script. People worked hard, and it's about honoring that hard work," Cumberbatch said. "That's why I'm here talking about this film."
Executive producer Adam Sidman echoed Cumberbatch's sentiments about the film's release being a true group endeavor. He also championed Gomez-Rejon's care for his cast and his story, as well as his "uncanny ability to be very meticulous and never compromise." That's all why, Mitnick said, the director was the "perfect fit" to steer this film.
"He's a visionary, the same way as Edison and Tesla," the film's producer Timur Bekmambetov told THR. "When I met him for the first time, I understood that he had something. He enjoys creating a world, not just telling a story. For him, it's not just a story. It's more than a story."
"He's so creative. He's so kind. He's a very gentle soul," said Middleton of her Current War director. "I feel really lucky to have been one of I think two women who are kind of at the forefront of this film, and it was really fortunate that Alfonso also really cared about the female story in the context of this film."
The director's deep care stretched throughout the film's production and re-shoots, but it became especially important while in the re-editing process, which Sidman says saw the director staying up in the 101 Studios offices until 2 or 3 a.m. for months. During that time, Gomez-Rejon cut, reflected on and recut the movie again to make it truly his.
The result is "an entirely different movie," said Sidman, and one, Middleton told THR, that really allowed Gomez-Rejon's modern way of shooting what could've been a straight period piece to shine. "I think it's partly because he works with the amazingChung-hoon Chung. They worked on Me and Earl and the Dying Girl together, which I loved," Middleton said. "They had a very unique way of looking at it. It's very pace-y, the momentum is always kind of going with the help of these crazy camera angles."
For the director, refusal to give up was about telling the world the 2017 cut, which screened at the Toronto Film Festival to less than rave reviews, was not only not his version but not who he was as a director.
"One can get confused with the notes and the chaos and the noise and the opinions and losing leverage and getting it back and losing it again," said Gomez-Rejon. "It was important to me to be able to look people in the eyes and tell them I did my best. There was a time in the past where I couldn't. To have the second chance to really go all out and feel that I did my best — to have the cast and crew follow me on this journey — it means the world to me."
It's a second chance that everyone in attendance was proud of. "Whatever happened in the past, we've moved behind us," Sidman told THR. "We know that it's Alfonso's film and it's the strongest film that it can be."
"Everyone deserves a second chance, you know?" said Bekmambetov. "And really it's not a second chance, it's the first chance because the first one was not a chance."