Quentin Tarantino was at the Rome Film Festival last night to receive a lifetime achievement award from the festival and Italian horror legend Dario Argento.
During a wide-ranging on-stage talk about his career with fest head Antonio Monda, Tarantino discussed his influences, behind-the-scenes anecdotes from his movies and his appreciation for Italian cinema.
At one point, Tarantino was asked whether he would consider making a movie in Italy, specifically at Rome’s famous Cinecitta Studios, site of classic movies including Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, La Dolce Vita and more recently, The English Patient.
The American filmmaker responded enthusiastically: “I would love that. I know my wife would love that. That would be special and wonderful, especially to shoot at Cinecitta. I need to come up with the right story.”
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About Italian films of the 70s and 80s, the Pulp Fiction and Django director said: “I was lucky enough to come of age in the 70s. Italian exploitation movies were still released theatrically in the U.S. In the 80s all the movies were released on video. I enjoyed them. The great Spaghetti Westerns and gialli are great movies. When I looked at Italian exploitation movies it seemed that there was a sense of operatic grandeur to them. They were bigger than life. It’s the number one thing I respond to in Italian cinema.”
The director said he wasn’t sure what his next project would be, but he revealed that he hopes to work in a spaghetti western element to one of his next projects.
“I’ve got an idea. It’s not my next movie. It’s a piece of something else I’m thinking about doing. Part of this thing, there’s supposedly a spaghetti western in it. I want to shoot it in the spaghetti western style with everyone speaking a different language [to their native language],” he laughed.
The on-stage interview was full of laughter and recollection. The director recalled how his first choice to play the role of Bill in Kill Bill had been Warren Beatty, and how John Travolta was instrumental in coming up with dance moves from the famous Jack Rabbit Slim’s dance scene with Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. The director said that he had choreographed Thurman’s dance moves but that Travolta brought a bunch of ideas to set.
Tarantino also told the audience that the first film he remembers seeing — aged around five — was British spy movie Deadlier Than The Male, directed by Ralph Thomas, with Richard Johnson in the lead role.
It was only many years later when he started his own personal film collection that the director bought Deadlier Than the Male and realized it was the first movie he had ever seen: “All of a sudden, about midway through, that scene comes on and I go: ‘Oh my God! This is the fucking movie! This is the first movie I ever fucking saw!,’” Tarantino recounted to audience applause.
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