Remember the old joke about guys only reading Playboy for the interviews? Well, this month film fans might want to read Playboy for the interview.
Quentin Tarantino is the subject of this month’s chat, and the hyperactive filmmaker speaks at length about his upcoming film Django Unchained, who was in the running for the lead role, and how he plans to end his career.
Jamie Foxx ultimately landed the title role in Tarantino’s epic, and we knew that Will Smith was in the running for the lead at one point, but some of the other contenders may surprise you. Tarantino breaks down the initial list as follows:
“I met six different actors and had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all of their work, Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, M.K. Williams [from HBO's Boardwalk Empire], Tyrese. They all appreciated the material, and I was going to put them through the paces, make them go off against one another and kind of put up an obstacle course. And then I met Jamie and realized I didn’t need to do that.”
We may have dodged some bullets there – Tyrese and Chris Tucker don’t really sound appealing to us.
The filmmaker eventually opted for Foxx because “He was the cowboy… Forget the fact that he has his own horse — and that is actually his horse in the movie. He’s from Texas; he understands. …He understood what it’s like to be thought of as an ‘other.’”
From there, Tarantino gets around to his Hollywood exit strategy, which is sure to be bad news for fans.
“I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f—s up three good ones.… When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty. I’m on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something. You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice. I’ve made seven. If I have a change of heart, if I come up with a new story, I could come back. But if I stop at 10, that would be okay as an artistic statement.”
While there’s certainly something to be said for going out on a high note, we’ve never been fans of choosing an arbitrary number of films as an ending point. We hope QT will re-evaluate where he’s at when he gets to the mythical 10th film before just calling it a career.
Finally, the Kill Bill director reflects on competing against his earlier success, saying:
“I want there to be anticipation. I was actually quite proud when I read that Django is one of the most anticipated movies coming out this year. It’s a black Western. Where’s the anticipation coming from? I guess a lot of it is me. That’s pretty f—ing awesome.”
It sure is. For all the beef Tarantino takes for “paying homage” to older cult films, it’s hard to argue against the idea that his work resonates with a wide range of movie fans – no small feat in the fickle world of modern filmmaking.
Check out the full interview in the December issue of Playboy.