Quentin Tarantino has been an omnipresent presence on the media circuit while promoting his spiky first collection of film criticism, Cinema Speculation. He’s always been a voluble, opinionated interlocutor, and the fact that he’s being interviewed about a book filled with opinions means that he’s been dropping gems all over the media—including a few tantalizing hints about what he wants to tackle next.
First, as far as future projects: At a New York book event with movie critic and historian Elvis Mitchell, Tarantino coyly revealed his plans to shoot an eight-episode television show next year, but he didn’t share any details about the project. He hasn’t directed TV since 2005, when he took on a two-part season finale of CSI; before that, the only television he’d done was a 1995 episode of ER. (He did work on the other side of the camera in the early aughts, appearing in three episodes of J.J. Abrams’ underrated spy adventure Alias as a bad guy. Maybe we’ll see him dust off his small screen acting chops too?)
Other than his own projects, Tarantino isn’t feeling good about the current age of cinema. On his Video Archives Podcast, Tarantino ranked it among the worst: “Even though the ‘80s was the time that I probably saw more movies in my life than ever, at least as far as going out to the movies was concerned, I do feel that ‘80s cinema is, along with the ‘50s, the worst era in Hollywood history. Matched only by now, matched only by the current era!”
That answer jibes with his general indifference to the superhero movies that dominate today’s box office. (In 2020, he told Deadline he saw original films and franchise IP as being in something of a “war” within the industry.)t When asked by the Los Angeles Times why he’s never shown an interest in doing a major superhero film for Marvel or DC, he said, “You have to be a hired hand to do those things. I’m not a hired hand. I’m not looking for a job,” he said. However, in the New York book talk, Tarantino said that if he had to adapt a comic book, it would be Sgt. Fury and His Howling Commandos, which would allow the director to reteam with Pulp Fiction and The Hateful Eight star Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Fury in the MCU.)
As for the struggling state of movie theaters in the Covid era, Tarantino said he thinks that large movie theater chains are going to have a tough time surviving in the present entertainment industry. However, he did say that smaller cinemas will succeed: It should be noted that he owns one such small theater, L.A.’s New Beverly Cinema, though it is a revival house, playing the kind of old action and horror movies that informed and elated a young Tarantino.
As for his own filmography, he finally picked a favorite. When Howard Stern asked him to select one that rose above the rest, Tarantino admitted that he used to give the diplomatic, “They’re all my children” answer to that question, but he’s since decided to give a single, straightforward answer. “I really do think Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is my best movie,” he said.
And finally, while appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live in October, he weighed in on Kanye West…though only on an issue that he took personally: He refuted ‘Ye’s claim that he gave Tarantino and Jamie Foxx the idea for Django Unchained. “I’d had the idea for Django for a while, before I ever met Kanye,” said Tarantino. “He wanted to do a giant movie version of College Dropout, the way he did the album. He wanted to get big directors to do different tracks from the album and release it as this giant movie.” They met and West pitched him an ambitious music video concept in which he was playing a slave. “He did have an idea for a video, and I do think it was for the ‘Gold Digger’ video, that he would be a slave.”