Director/producer Quentin Tarantino is interviewed by Scott Foundas amid a studio audience during
‘SiriusXM’s Town Hall with Quentin Tarantino’ at the SiriusXM Studios in New York City.
Photo Credit: Kevin Mazur / WireImage for SiriusXM
During ‘SiriusXM’s Town Hall with Quentin Tarantino,’ the director/producer said he is happy his [character] “Django” joins a long list of rip-offs.
Tarantino sat down for a Q&A session in front of an audience of SiriusXM listeners to discuss his award-winning film career, his fascination with violence and movie Django Unchained, which opens Christmas Day. Tarantino tapped into his encyclopedic knowledge of film and detailed the history of the Django character in film during the SiriusXM special event— moderated by Scott Foundas, principal film writer for The Village Voice—explaining that the character “…was so popular that about 40 films exist that are basically non-related, rip-off sequels to [the original spaghetti western] Django,” and declared, “I’m proud to say that my film, Django Unchained, can join the long line of unrelated Django rip-offs.” He also reveals what three films he watched growing up have had the biggest influence on his directing style, and the invaluable advice he received from Terry Gilliam before he directed his first film Reservoir Dogs on how to achieve your vision as a director.
On the history and influence of the Django character and films (and the Jimmy Cliff connection):
Video link here: http://youtu.be/WsyG6Rtwdew
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 [Jimmy Cliff] 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.”
On the three films that watched when he was young that had the most influence on him and the development of his style of directing:
Video link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7hRNh-gFEE&feature=youtu.be
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 seven or eight- 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.
Tarantino on Terry Gilliam giving him some of the best advice he’s ever gotten before he made his first film Reservoir Dogs:
Video link here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NG_DGFc7_Y&feature=youtu.be
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.’”