Quentin Tarantino is celebrating 20 years of filmmaking with the release of a DVD box set of all eight of his films — plus the Christmas release of his latest big-screen opus, “Django Unchained.” Film fans and the journalists who have covered Tarantino’s career for just as long are reevaluating his work, as well.
One of the writer-director’s first major interviews took place way back then with Paul Zimmerman, then a contributor to the Detroit alternative weekly Orbit. Zimmerman later became executive editor of Film Threat, and he has recently collected many of his interviews with future auteurs in a new e-book, “Virgin Noir: 1st Time Directors’ Landmark First Interviews with Paul Zimmerman.”
From “Virgin Noir”:
After the issue came out, I talked with Miramax publicist Gina Gardenia, who said, "When Quentin got the Orbit issue you sent he was jumping around the Miramax offices like a little kid going, 'Look, I got a cover! I got a cover!'" I sent Tarantino a gift package that included the next Orbit issue with the full ‘Reservoir Dogs’ interviews and an Orbit T-shirt with "Orby," the magazine's cartoon mascot, on the front.
The shirt was later featured as part of Tarantino’s wardrobe for his role in “Pulp Fiction.”
What follows is Zimmerman’s original 1992 interview with Tarantino that took place at Toronto’s Sutton Place hotel. As a bonus, we’re also offering 5 free copies of “Virgin Noir." To enter to win one click HERE.
PAUL ZIMMERMAN: I was surprised so many people have missed the humor in the film.
QUENTIN TARANTINO: When I was in Cannes, the French journalists were getting it, but the American journalists wouldn’t bring up the humor, just “the violence, the violence…” In the trailer that I love, the humor is emphasized as well as the tough stuff. And, you know, the humor is emphasized in the movie. You get the sense that it’s a funny movie at the same time. In New York Magazine, they had a list of films coming out in October, [and "Dogs" is] listed as a black comedy, which I like, because I think it’s a funny movie. The problem is, early on, from time to time, I’d show it to an audience, and they didn’t know they were supposed to laugh.
I watched it on video with another writer, and we had to stop it a bunch of times. Not to stroke you too much, but we were laughing so hard.
Oh, that’s great man, that’s cool. What I like is getting you to laugh. All right? Like laugh, laugh, laugh, and then — BOOM! [smashes fist into palm] Knock you down. And then you are shell-shocked for a little bit, and then to get you to laugh again after that. I mean, the fact that the biggest laughing scene in the movie is Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi) saying, “I don’t wanna be Mr. Pink,” and that happens after the torture sequence. A little bit afterwards, but the fact that after that sequence I could get you to laugh again must be pretty cool. I really like that. [chuckles]