Thanks to a couple of our readers in Brazil (specifically Salvador) for alerting me to this…
In short, courtesy of Brazilian newspaper O Globo, Quentin Tarantino and some of his "Hateful Eight" cast were in Sao Paulo promoting the upcoming film earlier today (it opens in Brazil on January 7, 2016). During the press conference, Tarantino was asked whether he would ever work with Spike Lee again (Spike directed Tarantino in "Girl 6"). The reasons why the journalist asked him that question aren’t given, nor is any context provided. I’m just going based on the translation from Portuguese to English that was provided for me, based on O Globo’s write-up.
And in response, Tarantino, seemingly put off by the question, replied, "Never!" Apparently, he initially left it there, and moved on to field other questions, but returned to it, maybe to further explain his position, and then said, emphatically: "I have two more films to direct and I will not spend any of them working with that son of a bitch. He [Spike] would be very happy the day I accept to work with him. But it will not happen."
Oh, the arrogance! I think Spike would have something to say about that. Does he even want to work with Tarantino?
The apparent feud between these 2 filmmakers has been well-documented over the years. In summary, Spike has always been vocal with his criticism of some of Tarantino’s choices, notably the repetitive use of the so-called "N" word by characters (black or white) in his movies.
I’d say that their feud likely went public after "Jackie Brown," when Lee expressed his concern for the excessive use of the "N" word in the movie (something like 38 times I believe was the count). As Spike is reported as saying at the time: “Quentin is infatuated with that word… What does he want to be made—an honorary black man?”
Naturally Tarantino responded, stating: “As a writer, I demand the right to write any character in the world that I want to write. And to say that I can’t do that because I’m white… that is racist.”
There wasn’t much public beefing between the two after that, until "Django Unchained" was released 3 years ago. Lee vocalized his disapproval of Tarantino’s slave-revenge fantasy, and vowed he would never see the movie, calling it “disrespectful to my ancestors.”
As Lee said: "I cant speak on it ’cause I’m not gonna see it… All I’m going to say is that it’s disrespectful to my ancestors. That’s just me… I’m not speaking on behalf of anybody else."
Of course Lee faced much backlash from Tarantino fans.
Spike later tweeted, in response, verbatim: “American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them.”
Tarantino was asked about Spike’s disapproval, but he chose not to address it – at least, not directly. Tarantino simply countered that he would not “waste time” responding to Lee.
Given Tarantino’s comments while pushing "Hateful Eight" in Brazil, it’s obvious that the feud has yet to be squashed. Although, this is still very much a business, and it wouldn’t at all shock me if, one day, both filmmakers do work on a project together, in some capacity. Imagine how talked-about that would be. The press (and fanboy/girl) coverage would be immense, given what has apparently been a long-standing, almost 20-year feud, as of today.
I would be remiss if I didn’t highlight the fact that Tarantino did say that he has just 2 more movies left in him, before he moves on to some other creative medium. As he told the press in Sao Paolo: "The ‘Hateful Eight’" is my eighth film. The next will be the ninth, and the next [after that] will be the last."
"I have a mythological perspective with respect to myself and my career," he said, adding that he’d likely devote his time to producing the work of others after ending his career as a director.
For the rest of the story, visit O Globo’s website, although it’s not in English.
Both filmmakers will seen new films released in theaters next month, and both will be talked about: Spike’s "Chi-Raq" has already inspired much debate (it’ll be out on December 4); and Tarantino’s "The Hateful Eight" (a less controversial film for him, it appears; it opens December 25).