Don’t mess with Quentin: Oscar-winning director Tarantino puts journalist in place with single-sentence retort // image source: Reuters, as published by The Daily Mail
At a Cannes Film Festival Q&A, regarding his latest film “Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood,” director Quentin Tarantino shuts down a journalist questioning the number of lines allocated to his female lead.
Following a premiere screening of the film, one journalist took umbrage with the apparently limited number of lines allocated to Margot Robbie’s character, Sharon Tate, the real-life actress and wife of director Roman Polanksi.
Introducing her question, the critic says of Robbie that she is “a person with a great deal of acting talent,” before suggesting Tarantino had failed to “really give her many lines in the movie.” The screenwriter and director then leans forward into the mike and bluntly announces, “Well, I just reject your hypothesis.”
He then refuses to say anything further, allowing Robbie to speak for herself, as if defying the implied assessment of the director as a sexist striving to silence women. Of course, any viewing of Tarantino’s previous female-led releases such as “Jackie Brown,” or both volumes of “Kill Bill” – or even “Inglourious Basterds,” whose 19-year-old female protagonist conspires to eradicate the German High Command in an exploding cinema, and essentially end the Second World War – will rebut this.
But hey-ho. I guess he’s a misogynist, as usual.
“The moments that I got on screen,” Robbie elaborates, “gave me an opportunity to honour Sharon.” Tate, 26, was murdered in her home with four others by members of the infamous cult led by Charles Manson, known as the ‘Manson Family’. It has been hinted that Tate’s murder is also depicted in “Once Upon a Time…,” yet Tarantino has been reluctant to discuss the portrayal of violence against women in his films. Meanwhile, addressing the supposed lack of screen-time offered her by Tarantino, Robbie proceeds to outline that “to show those wonderful sides of her could be adequately done without speaking.”
Concluding her thoughts on the interrogative thrown at her director, Robbie comes to his defence in talking fondly of the opportunity to engage with the portrayal of Sharon Tate as penned by Taratino. “I actually really appreciated the exercise,” she says.
Tarantino’s quip at this year’s Cannes Q&A seems to demonstrate an easier handle of difficult questions, which has been interview territory the director has not always comfortably inhabited. In a January 2013 interview for Channel 4 with Krishnan Guru-Murthy, publicising the UK release of “Django Unchained,” a film for which he would win second screenwriting Oscar, the director did not respond calmly to the questions presented to him. Refusing to comment on the link between the portrayal of violence and the outward perpetration of violence, Tarantino famously detonated with the line that has since become a top-tier meme, as seen below.
Perhaps age (or a second Oscar) has calmed the former hothead filmmaker. A little bit, anyway.
For more details surrounding Tarantino’s newest flick, check out our breakdown of the latest “Once Upon a Time…” trailer. That should whet your appetites until the film sees its UK release in August, but God knows I’m going to struggle waiting until then.