Quentin Tarantino talks Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and what's changed since his last film.
One of the things I liked about the movie is your take on Los Angeles. Can you talk about that lost Hollywood and what inspired you?
I think one of the things that I really brought to the movie is that I lived in Los Angeles in 1969. I don't know if it would have the same resonance if I hadn't personally listened to KHJ radio back then, as every kid in school and everybody in my family did and everybody I knew did. If I hadn't spent so much time sitting in a Karmann Ghia, driving around Los Angeles, seeing the city pass by, looking at the billboards and the bus stops and all the ads and remembering what was on TV at that time and remembering the songs that were on the radio, just remembering the town, that is what makes it my "Roma". What I mean by that is that it's a piece made up from my memory.
You're regarded as the most subversive director in Hollywood. Is it hard to remain your regular troublemaking self?
To tell the truth, if there's real power in an artist who is a provocateur, that power only really happens when the culture turns against him. And it's not easy to be a provocateur anymore. It's easy to be a radical in radical times. But at the end of the day, what you are referring to is what I call "societal compromise". And there is no place in my art for societal compromise. I do what I do and it can be rejected and it can be accepted and maybe if it's rejected now it will be accepted later - or vice versa. But I'm not going to change it for the times, I'm going to do what I do and then I deal with the consequences. It's not life or death.
Your career has spanned about 27 years. What are you proudest of?
I have so many things to be proud of. I guess the real answer to that question would be the body of work, the films themselves. But to go a little bit more in the spirit that you mean with the question, I think my proudest moment as far as a signifier along the way would be winning the Palme d'Or for Pulp Fiction. At the end of the day it's just a trophy - but it's a pretty great trophy.
Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio are like the supermodels of the 80s in that movie stars of that calibre don't exist any more. Do you think the qualities they have - that stardom, that movie star quality - is over?
I don't know if it's over but I do think the last group of, at least male actors, the last group that actually have what I would consider that bona fide movie star quality, was in the 90s and maybe the first 10 years of the 2000s. In this last decade of the 2000s, I might be forgetting somebody but I don't see them being replenished. Now part of that though is just perception, part of that is, well, of course, the way we feel about Brad and Leo because they have been around for 20 years. Johnny Depp as well.
You've made nine films - for some people that is not a lot - so, do you feel like a seasoned film-maker or do you still feel like a new kid on the block? And you always said that you plan to retire after your 10th film. Is that still the case?
Yeah, that's still the case. Yeah, I feel like a very seasoned film-maker and no, I feel like I have done what I meant to do and what I was supposed to do and now it's time to call the horses into the corral.
Your name is synonymous with films, theatre, posters, the passion for movies but you also have a personal life and you got married not long ago. What can you reveal about your life away from the persona?
I am betting I am the happiest man around. Her name is Daniela. We met a few years ago but we got together a couple of years ago and I have never been married before. I am happy as a clam and she is a great woman. I am living a really blessed life right now. And this is the first time I have ever been in a super, super-serious relationship while I made a movie. And there was always kind of a thing about running away from the world and climbing Mt Everest on my own. And so this is the first time I climbed Mt Everest with a partner. And it was lovely. She created a wonderful home for me where I left every day to go and do my work and then I'd come back every day and there was a wonderful home waiting for me. And on one hand, I didn't know what I was missing before but at the same time I am glad I missed it, because I waited for the right girl. I am very happy, it all worked exactly the way that it was supposed to.
Is she in the business?
She is a model and a singer in Israel.
Has she had an effect on your mind and as a creative artist?
I am definitely a less angry man. I am not an angry young man anymore - I am neither young nor angry. But I don't have any axe to grind and I don't have anything that I am trying to push or prove. I am in a very contented, nice place.