Four years after world premiering Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood to Cannes Film Festival, Quentin Tarantino returned to the festival last month with the tease of a secret screening. Considering the recent “death” of Leonardo DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton––for which Tarantino delivered a two-part, two-hour-plus eulogy to the fictional character (more on that below)––rumors swirled it may be the discussed extended cut of his 2019 feature. However, it turned out to be the 1977 Paul Schrader-scripted gem Rolling Thunder, a film that Tarantino wrote about extensively in “Cinema Speculation” and which he aims to recreate in his own vision for his forthcoming final feature The Movie Critic.
While at Cannes, he also took part in a 70-minute masterclass which has now been published in its entirety. While the on-stage French translation means it’s a bit briefer than a standard talk of this variety, it’s replete with a wealth of wisdom, including further thoughts from the director on violence (he says he would never kill an animal in one of his films), revising history in his films, his issues with Taxi Driver, getting into fights about his love for Brian De Palma, how Schrader has detached himself from Rolling Thunder as much as Tarantino has for Natural Born Killers, and more. Though if you’re looking for new details on The Movie Critic, you’ll have to wait.
However, he did share his thoughts on this streaming age with Deadline. “I’m probably going to be doing the movie with Sony because they’re the last game in town that is just absolutely, utterly, committed to the theatrical experience. It’s not about feeding their streaming network. They are committed to theatrical experience. They judge success by asses on seats. And they judge success by the movies entering the zeitgeist, not just making a big expensive movie and then putting it on your streaming platform. No one even knows it’s there. I mean, and I’m not picking on anybody, but apparently for Netflix, Ryan Reynolds has made $50 million on this movie and $50 million on that movie and $50 million on the next movie for them. I don’t know what any of those movies are. I’ve never seen them.” He added, “I haven’t ever talked to Ryan Reynolds’ agent, but his agent is like, ‘Well, it cost $50 million.’ Well, good for him that he’s making so much money. But those movies don’t exist in the zeitgeist. It’s almost like they don’t even exist.”
Watch the masterclass below, and listen to QT and Roger Avary’s aforementioned eulogy to the “late,” fictional Rick Dalton below.