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Quentin Tarantino Never Saw ‘Selma,’ He Writes (EXCLUSIVE)

Quentin Tarantino Never Saw 'Selma,' He Writes (EXCLUSIVE)

Quentin Tarantino got slammed in many quarters this week for some of his candid remarks to Bret Easton Ellis in a recent New York Times interview. Tarantino wrote me via Facebook to clarify one point: he never saw Ava DuVernay’s “Selma.” His note (edited slightly for typos) is below:

Dear Anne, 

I’m writing you to pass on that the quote from the NY Times piece about “Selma” is wrong. I never saw “Selma.” If you look at the article, it was Bret who was talking about “Selma,” not me. I did say the line “it deserved a Emmy,” but when I said it, it was more like a question. 

Which basically meant, “it’s like a TV movie?” Which Bret and myself being from the same TV generation, was not only understood, but there was no slam intended. Both Bret and myself come from the seventies and eighties when there were a lot of historically based TV movies: the King mini-series written by Abby Mann staring Paul Winfield; “Crisis at Central High” with Joanne Woodward. And “Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys.” These were great TV movies. I’d be honored to be placed next to those films. However, I haven’t seen it. Does it look like a seventies TV movie? Yes. Does it play like one, I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. 

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Just for the record, Tarantino’s under NO obligation to see SELMA before talking about it or implying that it’s the equivalent of a TV movie. Nor is he under any obligation to see SELMA before dating black women.


Bret Easton Ellis is an opportunist, suck-up weasel. He did the same thing with Kanye’s ‘Yeezus’ and Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years A Slave’ a couple of years ago – ever so politely pitting two important black works of art ‘against’ each other and finding a ‘victor’ – as if his worthless validation adds a greater sense of purpose to the ongoing cultural discourse concerning race, cinema and music. Typical, white male Hollywood complex. I’ll admit, as a Tarantino super-fan, I was incredibly mad at him for ‘saying’ such nonsense. He’s always been just a little too emboldened when criticizing Spike Lee, so it didn’t seem totally out of the realm of possibility with him dissing the maverick brilliance of Ava DuVernay’s ‘Selma’. Now the truth has been told, it is clear that Tarantino wasn’t that stupid. I can live my life in peace now.


prints sad


Godzilla,ok!,yea something was sad on the other side of competition "Tarantino said the scam mm mm vs armed-robbery" was it that.


when I was Jesus Cadilac with ill try" to get the 3 for 5’s in the Casino stills to.Oh the trial" mm the toned down ones aquitted unique "mm what deals" im back in line for a bond hearing with Craig Lawn service job,well Gee I think that’s just Crack **ore’s serving us on tips.send a souple more Atalia Satan’aviod a diria shadow war. "oh yes squint"


Godzilla,which one was sad on the other side of competition "don’t tell anyone your scam"


Anyone who can reach back to Crisis at Central High as a reference is way cooler than someone from the herd who is overdefensive about Selma. QT has always seemed like a sweetheart to me.


QT is the cool grandpa you hit up for what old movies to watch. Occasionally he has smart, interesting things to say about how movie folks thought and told stories. He’s literally white noise now, about what’s beyond those old movies continue to relate to our day to day lives now, or how they should be in hands who (came up) different than his.


Godzilla,I found out what was sad on the other side of competition from ages 18-mid 26 the fold.It was moments theres something in the she moves,hero ahh. "3 for 5 though straight from the Dome of the Rock kapasa! mm moments"


I bet he never saw Notes on a Scandal either.


FROM THE ARTICLE: ‘We touch on this year’s Oscars and the supposed Oscar snubbing of Ava DuVernay’s Martin Luther King movie ‘‘Selma,’’ which caused a kind of national sentimental-narrative outrage, compounded by the events in Ferguson, and which branded the Academy voters as old and out-of-it racists — despite the fact that ‘‘12 Years a Slave’’ had won Best Picture the year before. Tarantino shrugs diplomatically: ‘‘She did a really good job on ‘Selma’ but ‘Selma’ deserved an Emmy.’’’ QT, that certainly makes it seem like you said it. trash. I love your movies, QT, but I’d also love to punch you in the head.

James Smith

He was generally quite condescending to other film makers in the interview. He’s already acting like his films are culturally critical when no one’s had time to re-appraise. Love Tarantino’s work, but he’s kind of an asshole.


Is it true that Tarantino has dated Black women? But he hasn’t seen one of our best films MADE BY A BLACK WOMAN?! If so, that’s disrespectful. Sistas, don’t give it up to him, no mo’!

Wise Woman

There IS a controversy here. For a filmmaker to say a feature film looks like a television film is to put down her work. I saw the television film about Dr. King wirh Paul Winfield at the time it was originally aired and it was pretty lousy, which was the consensus at the time. For Tarantino to say Selma, which was directed by Ava DuVernay, deserved an Emmy is a rather nasty thing to say. Selma has a better script, is very well cast and directed. Since Tarantino didn’t see the film, why was he even discussing it? The more he talks, the more he comes across as an asshole.

brian fantana

what is even more hilarious is the headline is almost a condemnation of Tarantino for not seeing Selma – how dare he (that being said it is definitely worth a look)


How can he be even critical of a black filmmaker whose movie(s) he hasn’t even seen?


Being quoted out of context IS a controversy.


What controvery are you talking about? A white filmmaker was supposedly critical of a black filmmaker’s movie?

This is another example of the media trying to promote problems when they don’t really exist, something that Indiewire is particularly good at.

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