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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Tarantino Talks DJANGO Influence; Terry Gilliam’s Advice; 3 Most Influential Films (9’42″ total)

Three excerpts from SiriusXM’s “Town Hall,” moderated by Scott Foundas.

Scott Foundas: “Talk about your Django vis-à-vis that [other] Django.”

Quentin Tarantino: ”In the case of Django, this movie became such a sensation; it took spaghetti westerns to a different place—a much more violent place, a much rougher, more brutal and even more surreal type of West. And just as an example of how violent the movie was at the time, it was banned in England up until the ‘90s. You could not show Django in England up until the ‘90s. In fact, one of the only ways to ever see Django in England is in the movie The Harder They Come. Jimmy Cliff goes to a theater and watches Django and you see him in the theater watching Django and you see the villain Django on the screen, and they play a whole mirror aspect of Jimmy Cliff as Django… he’s the outlaw on the run. Andthat was the only time you could ever see Django on the screens of England—[in] the little clip of it that was in The Harder They Come. [The character] Django was so popular that about 40 films exist that are basically non-related, rip-off sequels to [the original] Django. And rarely do they actually try to make it the same character. Only a couple of them have ever tried to do that. It’s just a character name Django. Sometimes the movies don’t even have a character named Django in it. They just put ‘Django’ in the title because they… [thought] that’s what spaghetti western people would want to see. Not to mention any time… [a] …Franco Nero movie—who was the star of [director Sergio Corbucci’s] Django—in particular played in Germany, it was always called ‘Django’ something. Didn’t matter what it was. If he’s doing a modern day cop film in the ‘70s, it was Django the Cop. If he’s doing a movie where he plays a shark hunter [it would be called] Django and the Shark… Django in Vietnam. There were all these complete rip-offs, unrelated sequels to Django and I am proud to say, that my film, Django Unchained, can join the long line of unrelated Django rip-offs.”

Quentin Tarantino: “Before I did my first movie I went to the Sundance Institute. You’re there for a few weeks and new directors or actors or writers that are professionals come in and they kind of mentor you. One of the people they assigned me was Terry Gilliam, who was at the height of his visionary reputation. And he really liked the script for Reservoir Dogs. He thought it was really cool. So he was really invigorated with the idea of helping me on the project. I had never made a movie before. I have all these cool visuals in my mind and I think I can make a great movie but it is all theory until you do it. And I asked him: “…you have a vision and that specific vision is in each of your movies—how do you capture that?’ And [he] literally gave me some of the best advice I’d ever gotten, he said: ‘Quentin, you don’t really have to conjure up your vision. What you have to do is know what your vision is. And then you have to hire really talented people and it’s their job to create your vision. If you hire the right costume designer, you hire the right production designer, you hire the right cinematographer, [get the right] the props, you hire the right people who get what you’re trying to do and…explain it them. If you can articulate your vision and they’re talented, they will give you your vision.’”

Three Influences? Quentin Tarantino: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Mario Bava’s Black Sabbath and Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is probably obvious why it’s been such an influence to me.

Mario Bava became one of the first directors that I got to know by name because I saw Black Sabbath on late night television and would look forward to seeing it pop up again. He’s a great Italian horror filmmaker. And then I started noticing other movies in the TV Guide that had his name and they all had this big, cool operatic quality about them. And I have to say, it was both Sergio Leone and Mario Bava that got me thinking in terms of ‘shots’ as opposed to just, ‘This guy did a movie I like. I’ll see another movie that that guy does ‘cause I like that movie,’ as opposed to just recognizing the name and hoping that another good movie would come out, I actually started recognizing a cinematic style and a signature and a quality in the movies that was just beyond a good movie versus another good movie or, a not-so-good one. Even when I would see a Mario Bava movie I didn’t like I still recognized the style and the same operatic quality. But Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein was probably my favorite movie when I was really, really, really young. And, the thing about why I think it was so influential is I remember at that time period my two favorites types of movies in the world were monster movies, and in particular the universal monster movies from the ‘30s, and physical comedies like Abbott and Costello, I loved them. Every kid I knew at that time loved Abbott and Costello… Jerry Lewis, Abbott and Costello, Laurel & Hardy—I thought all those guys were great. And those were my favorite types of movies. I loved W.C. Fields too. I was crazy for W.C. Fields. So when I watched Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein it bended my mind about the fact that my two favorite genres—even though I didn’t know what the word ‘genre’ meant—could be put into one movie. I didn’t know that you could do that. I always thought there’s this type of movie and that kind of movie. Like chocolate and peanut butter. But the fact that I was a little boy at 7 or 8—or maybe even younger—making genre distinctions not knowing that because I literally thought, ‘Wow this is the greatest movie ever—my two favorite types of movies in one. When it’s scary it’s really scary and when it’s funny it’s really funny. And I guess I’ve been trying to do that, a lot, the whole rest of my career.”

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CATHERINE LACEY: Do you think that your writer DNA was sort of shaped by how your family was displaced by the Nazi regime before you were born?
RENATA ADLER: It’s funny that you should mention that because I think it affects a lot else, specifically being a refugee. I wasn’t born there. I didn’t experience any of it. But they were refugees. So then I was thinking of this business of being a refugee, no matter in what sense.

Prenatal refugee.
Prenatal refugee and actually postnatal refugee. And I thought there are probably things in common between being a child and being a refugee and being an anthropologist.

It gives you a sense of curiosity.
But also a complete displacement. You’ve got to read the situation. You’re the new kid in school all the time. But I wasn’t aware of it then. I’m aware of it now because language affects you differently, or not. But I used to talk to Mike Nichols about it because he was a refugee. Do you envision an audience when you write? Do you envision a particular person? 

No.
Every once in a while I think: Now, what would Mike say to that?

There’s that idea that when you’re blocked, you can always just write as if it was a letter to one specific person.
Oh, that’s good. That’s a wonderful idea. Mine is more in terms of criticism. If someone was to say, “I know what that is. Do you really want to do that?” But anyway, about Mike and his attitude toward language, I remember him saying—it was a question of whether something written was fresh or not—and he would ask, “Why not smell it?” Which, from an English speaker’s point of view, is hysterical.

~ Renata Adler and Catherine Lacey In Conversation 

“Oh it was just hellish. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me. It would be stupid for me to say that I didn’t know what I was getting into. It has taken me five years to decide on a first film and I always held out for something like this. The lesson to be learned is that you can’t take on an enterprise of this size and scope if you don’t have a movie like The Terminator or Jaws behind you. Because when everybody’s wringing their handkerchiefs and sweating and puking blood over the money, it’s very nice to be able to say, ‘This is the guy who directed the biggest grossing movie of all time, sit down, shut up and feel lucky that you’ve got him.’ It’s another thing when you are there and you’re going ‘Trust me, this is really what I believe in,’ and they turn round and say ‘Well, who the hell is this guy?’ If I make ten shitty movies, I’ll deserve the flak and if I go on to make 10 great ones, this’ll probably be looked upon as my first bungled masterpiece.”
~ David Fincher, 1992

 

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