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"Making the Movie on the Page": Rare 1992 Interview With Quentin Tarantino for 'Reservoir Dogs' (Exclusive Book Excerpt)

By Paul Zimmerman | Indiewire December 24, 2012 at 10:00AM

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.
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"Virgin Noir" book cover

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.”

READ MORE: Review: Quentin Tarantino's Wild Western Pastiche 'Django Unchained' Is Messy As Hell, But We Love Him For It

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.”

READ MORE: 'Lincoln,' 'Django Unchained' Lead 2013 Golden Globe Nominations

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.

Tarantino's first cover: Orbit, "Reservoir Dogs," 1992.
Tarantino's first cover: Orbit, "Reservoir Dogs," 1992.

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]

This article is related to: Quentin Tarantino, Interviews, Django Unchained, Reservoir Dogs, Virgin Noir







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