Director Quentin Tarantino went after what he called a culture of “white supremacy” and institutional racism in America in an extensive interview with New York magazine published Sunday.
Discussing his latest project, The Hateful Eight, with the magazine, Tarantino said he was “very excited” that the film, a Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming, feels contemporary as the United States struggles to deal with race issues in 2015, although he claims he didn’t intend for that to happen.
“I’m not trying to make Hateful Eight contemporary in any way, shape or form. I’m just trying to tell my story,” the Pulp Fiction director told the magazine. “It gets to be a little too much when you try to do that, when you try to make a hippie Western or a counterculture Western.”
When New York writer Lane Brown asked Tarantino whether his new film would be similar to the classic Western The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, the director said the films differed in their use of the Civil War as a historical backdrop.
“The Good, the Bad and the Ugly doesn’t get into the racial conflicts of the Civil War; it’s just a thing that’s happening,” Tarantino explained. “My movie is about the country being torn apart by it, and the racial aftermath, six, seven, eight, ten years later.”
Tarantino said he was “excited” that the film feels timely with regard to issues of race.
“Finally, the issue of white supremacy is being talked about and dealt with,” he said. “And it’s what the movie’s about.”
“It was already in the script,” Tarantino added of how Hateful Eight incorporated recent events in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore.
It was already in the footage we shot. It just happens to be timely right now. We’re not trying to make it timely. It is timely. I love the fact that people are talking and dealing with the institutional racism that has existed in this country and been ignored. I feel like it’s another ’60s moment, where the people themselves had to expose how ugly they were before things could change. I’m hopeful that that’s happening now.
The interview with New York veered heavily into the director’s past work and his thoughts on the state of film today.
When asked whether criticism of violence and the excessive use of the n-word employed in his films has gotten to him, Tarantino told the magazine his critics can “f**k off.”
“Social critics don’t mean a thing to me,” he said. “It’s really easy to ignore them, because I believe in what I’m doing 100 percent. So any naysayers for the public good can just f**k off. They might be a drag for a moment, but after that moment is over, it always ends up being gasoline to my fire.”
Tarantino also addressed his earlier statement that he would retire after completing his tenth film (The Hateful Eight will be his eighth). He said a third installment of the Kill Bill franchise is “not off the table.”
“It would be wonderful to make my tenth movie my best movie — go out with a big bang, or with a small chamber piece after a big bang. I think about that every once in a while, but it’s not a real consideration. I just make one thing at a time. There are a few movies I’d like to do, but once I’m done with Hateful Eight and I’ve had a little time to myself, anything I think I’m going to do now, I know it’s what I won’t do later. I’ve got to leave myself open for the right story that talks to me.
Tarantino was also asked what he thought of President Obama’s job performance; the filmmaker reportedly contributed $5,000 to the Obama campaign and another $30,800 to the Democratic National Committee during the 2012 election.
“I think he’s fantastic,” Tarantino said. “He’s my favorite president, hands down, of my lifetime. He’s been awesome this past year. Especially the rapid, one-after-another-after-another-after-another aspect of it. It’s almost like take no prisoners. His he-doesn’t-give-a-sh*t attitude has just been so cool. Everyone always talks about these lame-duck presidents. I’ve never seen anybody end with this kind of ending. All the people who supported him along the way that questioned this or that and the other? All of their questions are being answered now.”
Check out Tarantino’s full (and lengthy) interview with New York magazine here.
The Hateful Eight hits select theaters on Christmas Day before opening wide on January 8.