Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?

Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?

Quentin Tarantino is throwing a huge fit, someone has leaked his script all over Hollywood and he is now not going to make the movie, but, what is really eating him up? Is Tarantino really that upset that a first draft script was leaked? Could the real problem be one of trust? Is it something else entirely?

Perhaps a brief examination of the facts will clear things up.

So, the story thus far is that Tarantino gave out six copies of a first draft script and someone, out of his “circle of trust” disobeyed the film Meister and let other people read it. Tarantino has now reacted angrily and announced that as far as he is concerned, the film, working title The Hateful Eight has been shelved indefinitely.

To paraphrase William Shakespeare very badly, the writer/director doth protest too much; his anger is all out of proportion to the “crime.” Surely the wunderkind of Hollywood has been hanging around long enough to realise that the word trust and Hollywood do not mix well. Slightly akin to water and oil, Tinsel Town has never been about trust.

A very famous actor, or writer, once said, “How do you say F*** you in Hollywood?” “Trust me,” was his cynical and, somewhat truthful, answer. So it seems that perhaps Quentin’s misplaced trust is not really the issue here. Continuing the line of Tarantino protesting too vociferously about his first draft going “live,” it has to be pointed out that, in the dream factory, first drafts of anything do not equal a finished product. Far from it, in fact.

Hollywood is famous for writing, re-writing, tweaking, adding, subtracting, rewriting again and throwing out scripts that are not in the first stages of progress. It would be safe to say that hardly anyone uses the first draft of any project, whether they, themselves, have written it or not. Tarantino has not said whether or not he had approached any studios to have a look at this draft script. He did, however, give at least one producer one of the scripts, Reggie Hudlin; a producer from Django.

Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?
Bruce Dern in his tiny cameo in Django Unchained. Is he still in the circle of trust?

Hudlin, let an agent read it. Quentin says that he felt betrayed by this action, but, he believes that the draft did not go further than this un-named agent. Of the three actors, Tim Roth has been cleared by Tarantino of being under suspicion so that leaves Hollywood legend Bruce Dern and Hollywood “not-legend” Michael Marsden.

It has been suggested that Dern, due to his advanced years could be the culprit as he “doesn’t understand the Internet.” Besides being pretty damned insulting to one helluva legendary actor, this idea also insults those people who might be eligible to collect their Social Security checks. Quentin Tarantino has said that this betrayal has annoyed him, but, what is really eating him? like Gilbert Grape, is there a deeper meaning to his anger, or, is he really that upset.

Regardless of who may, or may not, have leaked the script, Tarantino has said he is no longer making the film. Instead, he will produce the story as a book and simply move on to one of the “10 other” projects that he has on the boil. Looking on IMDbPro there are not 10 projects listed in development. At least three projects, now that The Hateful Eight has been trashcanned, along with three other films listed as being in post-production leave a grand total of six. Of course that is not counting what he has stored in his head.

In reading about the 50 year-old writer/director and his public ire about his latest baby being handed around to strangers all over Hollywood, it appears that his irritation exceeds the sin committed. Looking at the whole problem from a distance with slightly jaundiced eye, it seems less about the actual act of betrayal and more about getting attention.

Before Django Unchained, Tarantino’s track record was slipping. Pulp Fiction was still his biggest hit to date. His “Grindhouse” film, which he made to coincide with Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror, Deathproof was an exercise in self gratification and a waste of the talented Kurt Russell. Inglorious B*stards was another project that was received well, but, had a limited appeal. The best thing about B*stards was Christoph Waltz.

Django Unchained felt like vintage Tarantino. For the first time since Pulp Fiction the director was firing on all cylinders. Temporarily at the top of the heap for a change, Quentin decided to not mess with his success and follow up his winning western with another one. The Hated Eight was to be a homage to The Magnificent Seven, which was, itself, a homage to Seven Samurai.

Quentin Tarantino: What is Really Eating Him?
1954 still from Seven Samurai, homaged to death…

Now, according to Quentin Tarantino, this film may never be made and will, most likely, begin life as a book. His rage at the betrayal by either Bruce Dern or Michael Madsen has led him to indefinitely shelf the project. The question remains, however, Quentin Tarantino; just what is really eating him? Could the answer be, nothing at all? Is the auteur just stirring up a tempest to focus attention on his “ensemble western” or does he have another film he really wants to make. Either way, with the press looking his way, now would be a good time to either announce he has changed his mind or that he will be making another film entirely. Perhaps the one he mentioned for Bruce Dern. The director knows how to play the game and it appears that is exactly what he is doing.

By Michael Smith




Rolling Stone

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