Congratulations on the movie. Why did you
want to make a movie with slavery as a theme? Did that just come with making a Western in
that period? I’ve always wanted to explore slavery in
a film before. But I think actually my real reason – I’ve always wanted to explore
slavery but I guess the reason that actually made me put pen to paper was to give black
American males a Western hero. Give them a cool folkloric hero that could actually be
empowering and actually pay back blood for blood.
And that’s the revenge bit. Is that essential for making a hero?
Well in this story – well in the case of laying waste to a genocidal white racist class
in the institution of slavery, yes, that would be the reason to do it. As opposed to just
a historical story where this happens and this happens and this happens and this happens
and that happens. So you can’t be surprised by the controversy
that’s come along with it? Well you can’t – I don’t think you can
actually make a movie about slavery in America that is not going to be controversial.
Are you very disappointed by some of the reactions, Spike Lee especially?
I couldn’t be happier with the reaction to this movie, it’s been fantastic.
Its good publicity I suppose but I mean- No no no it’s creating a nice debate, even
the people who don’t like the film. I am responsible for people talking about slavery
in America in a way that they have not in thirty years.
But you must care very deeply that this doesn’t become a film that stands out from the rest
of your body of work, as one that is trashed by more people or anything like that.
It’s not trashed by more people. What you are saying is not correct.
No I’m not saying it is, I’m saying are you concerned?
No no no I’m not talking about the movie right now, you’re talking about, you know,
there is actually a dialogue going on about slavery right now that has not been happening
at all. It’s a subject people are afraid to talk about and now because of this movie
people aren’t afraid to talk about it. People are talking about it. Somebody likes the movie
and they write a review on this – especially in a world right now where you actually have
the internet where actually anybody can actually now speak publicly, which was not the case
before. So now somebody actually writes a review for the movie and they like it. You
read the comment section and some people who don’t like it attack them and say their
saying. Somebody who doesn’t like the movie writes a blog about it and the people who
like the movie hold them to task in the comment section. That’s an actual dialogue.
Let me ask you about violence. You said, everyone knows you make violent movies, you like violent
movies. Why do you like making violent movies? I don’t know, it’s like asking Judd Apatow
why do you like making comedies? You just get a kick out of it or you just
enjoy it or? It’s a – I think it’s good cinema. I consider
it good cinema. You sit there in a movie theatre when these cathartic violent scenes happen
and I’m talking about cathartic violent scenes, I’m not talking about… There’s
two types of violence in this movie. There’s the brutality of the violence in the day put
upon the slaves The rape of the women and the-
I don’t think there’s any rape going on in the movie. But there’s brutality to the
slaves. That hasn’t been dealt with in America to the extent that I deal with it and I’m
showing you that there was two holocausts in America, this is one of them. We’ve dealt
with the Indian holocaust, the holocaust of the American-Indian in America. But we haven’t
been dealing with the holocaustic aspects, the Auschwitzian aspects of the slave trade
in America. My movie deals with that. Then there’s the cathartic violence of Django
paying back blood for blood. And is that why you think people like watching
violent movies? People who are not violent people or twisted people in any way, but why
it’s okay to go into a movie and enjoy the violence?
Yeah, well it’s a movie. It’s a fantasy. It’s a fantasy, it’s not real life. It’s
a fantasy, you go and you watch a Kung-Fu movie and one guy takes on a hundred people
in a restaurant. That’s fun. But why are you so sure there’s no link
between enjoying movie violence and enjoying real violence?
Well I’m going to tell you why I’m so sure – Do not ask me a question like that.
I’m not biting. I refuse your question. Why?
Because I refuse your question and I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You
can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.
I can’t make you answer anything I’m just asking you interesting questions.
And I’m saying I refuse. I was just asking you why, that’s fine.
See Jamie Foxx has said “We can’t turn our back and say that violence in films-“
Well then you should talk to Jamie Foxx about that. And I think he’s actually here so
you can. I’d love to, but it’s interesting that
you have a different view and I’m just trying to explore that.
And I don’t want to. Because I’m here to sell my movie. This is a commercial for
the movie make no mistake. So you don’t want to talk about anything
serious? I don’t want to talk about what you want
to talk about. I don’t want to talk about the implications of violence. The reason I
don’t want to talk about it; because I’ve said everything I’ve had to say about it.
If anyone cares what I have to say about it, they can google me and they can look for twenty
years what I have to say about it. I haven’t changed my opinion one iota.
No but you haven’t fleshed it out. It’s not my job to flesh it out.
No it’s my job to try and ask you to. And I’m shutting your butt down.
That’s entirely your right. This is a commercial for my movie.
I know, but it’s my job to try and export some serious themes as well
I invite you to explore some serious themes, but not the themes I’ve already been on
the record for talking about. But violence is such a big part of all of
your movies and it’s an enjoyable part of your movies for so many people and that’s
why I’m talking about this. It’s a very sensitive time at the moment. The Vice-President
is talking to people in the movie industry today about violence and response-
And you know where I stand on it. Which is that there is no relationship.
Yes. But you haven’t said why you think there
is no relationship. It’s none of your damn business what I think
about that. Well, it’s my job to ask you why-
And I’m saying no. And I am shutting you down.
But you have a responsibility as a film maker surely to explain a little bit about what
you’re doing? No I don’t have any responsibility to you
to explain anything I don’t want to. Not to me, but to your viewers, to you fans.
To people who care about what it is that you’re doing.
They know where I’m coming from. And I have explained it. And I have explained even what
you’re talking about it, I’m just not giving it to you.
Why? Because I don’t want to, because I’ve
done it already. I have explained this many times in the last twenty years. I just refuse
to repeat myself over and over again because you want me to. For you and your show and
your ratings. It’s not about our ratings.
No it is, it’s about you want me to say it for you, for your show, this show right
here right now. Well look, this is a news program not a film
program so we export serious themes, that’s the difference.
But you want me to do what I’ve already done before and I am refusing.
Fine, that’s your right. Let me also ask you: You said in a playboy interview recently
that you thought movie directors didn’t get better as they get older. Are you getting
better as you get older or worse? They don’t get better when they get old.
I think I’m still in the sweet spot. Well I hope. That’s up for everyone to decide.
Am I? I enjoy your movies. You probably wouldn’t
believe that. I was just wondering what you think is left, you’ve done several big movies.
Let me answer your question about that. I just feel like filmmaking directors are like
boxers. They have their time. They have their time. Hopefully, I’m on the right side of
my time. But at a certain point a boxer loses. And it’s all about knowing when?
It’s all about knowing when to hang up the gloves or in my case I guess the megaphone.
Quentin Tarantino, thank you very much. Thank you.