Maher questioned the 58-year-old filmmaker’s intent to quit when he is still in his prime, observing that experience can often enhance creativity. He cited Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino’s debut film, and observed that the director would perhaps make a superior version of it from his current perspective. “That’s kind of a ‘capture time in a moment’ kind of thing,” Tarantino demurred, though he conceded having thought of remaking Reservoir Dogs as his final film. “I won’t do it, internet,” he cracked. “But I considered it.”
Even as his displayed his onetime video clerk’s acumen in making the point, Tarantino seemed sincerely committed to the plan. “I know film history and from here on in, filmmakers do not get better,” he said. “Don Siegel – if he had quit his career in 1979, when he did Escape from Alcatraz, what a final film! What a mic drop. But he dribbles away with two more other ones, he doesn’t mean it.”
Maher asked Tarantino about Israel, where he lives with his wife and 15-month-old son, wondering if he misses LA. “Of course,” the filmmaker responded, though he noted the two places have a similar climate and “vibe,” though Israel is comparatively “tiny.”
Tarantino was asked about potentially making his new home country the backdrop for a film, especially since it is, as Maher joked, “the revenge capital of the world” and thereby belongs in the director’s oeuvre. While a political story in Israel isn’t in the cards, his guest said, “If you make a movie in Jerusalem, there’s nowhere you can point the camera where you’re not capturing something fantastic.”
Tarantino was on the show to promote the paperback book companion to his 2019 film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. While the film took up very little of the conversation, the minor controversies around the film did come up, especially the criticism of Margot Robbie’s character, Sharon Tate, having few speaking lines.
Maher congratulated Tarantino for standing his ground against that and other attacks. “Ideology is more important than art,” he grumbled about the cultural climate. “Ideology trumps individual effort, Ideology trumps good, ideology trumps entertaining.”
Battles over artistic choice occur “in waves,” Tarantino said. “Just looking at the 40s, even though it was wartime, that was also when you had film noir. Even with the Hays Code! You had these dark, dark stories being told.”
After the void of the 1950s (“one of the worst decades in Hollywood”), the New Hollywood era kicking off in 1967 was “an absolute positive response” to the strictures that came before. Similarly, artistic expression is apt to prevail in the current climate, which he called “basically the ’80s, part two,” noting Maher’s former ABC series Politically Incorrect was born as a reaction to the PC movement of the 1980s.
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