Update: In Cannes to present––might this be a clue?!––Rolling Thunder, Tarantino told Deadline The Movie Critic “is based on a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag,” in his film called The Popstar Pages and comparable in tone to Travis Bickle’s diaries. That porno-mag writer will be played by someone “in the 35 year-old ball park,” which excludes Pitt or DiCaprio, and while (obviously) not revealing just who, there is an actor in mind––albeit someone he’s “unsure whether to give it to.” You cannot imagine the calls being made at agencies across Hollywood from now to the long weekend. With work beginning next month, expect big news soon, and (meanwhile) read the original story below.

Master Gardener is out today and you should see it, though this is not a post about that film, or really Paul Schrader. (With whom our contributor M.R. Allan just had a great interview in Vanity Fair.) But while talking to Indiewire he revealed a very enticing possibility on Quentin Tarantino’s next, tenth, final film The Movie Critic, and while I won’t say I called it, a familiarity with Cinema Speculation made this easy enough to guess.

The quote in full:

“Quentin––this may have changed––but about a month ago he was making a film, had something to do with filmmaking in the ’70s. And part of this, he’s going to use clips from movies from the ’70s, but he’s also gonna remake movies from the ’70s. And he asked me, ‘Can I redo the ending of Rollling [sic] Thunder?’ And I said, ‘Yeah, go for it. I’d love to see you redo the ending of Rolling Thunder.‘ Who knows whether he actually will or not. But it was something that was tickling his imagination in a very Tarantino-esque way.”

The title essay of Cinema Speculation posits what might’ve happened had film history gone another route: if Brian De Palma directed Schrader’s script for Taxi Driver. A compelling idea rendered passionately, and (again) reason enough to expect this especially film-focused ’70s piece could take a similar tack. (Rolling Thunder is also written about at great length, in particular how Schrader’s heavily revised script differs from the finished product.) As far as a final transmission from the most influential and cinephilic director of our lifetime: fitting.

It remains unclear how, exactly, The Movie Critic finds focus––it’s been assumed from day one to concern a film critic (see, for instance, the title) but Tarantino told Thierry Fremaux it “is not devoted to a film critic,” and especially not Pauline Kael. And then he said it was about “a real [male] critic.” Confusing. But with production beginning this fall and (wild guess) a Cannes 2024 premiere rather plausible, I’m willing to be patient. Something tells me any wait will be hugely rewarded.

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