Quentin Tarantino’s awards season journey with “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is coming to an end this week at the 92nd Academy Awards, where the filmmaker’s ninth feature is up for 10 Oscars. “Hollywood” already has one Oscar win in the bag thanks to Brad Pitt for Best Supporting Actor, and it could very well earn Tarantino his third honor for Best Original Screenplay. The director also happened to be a topic of discussion on this week’s season premiere of Showtime’s “Desus & Mero,” courtesy of special guest David Letterman. The former “Late Show” host surprised the late night hosts with a wild story about the time he angered Tarantino after mocking the director during a television interview.
“There was one guest on the show and her girlfriend was someone [Tarantino] was dating. Famous star,” Letterman said. “And I was saying, ‘No, you’re not dating Quentin Tarantino.’ And she said, ‘Yes, yes I am.’ And I said, ‘No please tell me this isn’t true.’ Now I’m joking! I’m thinking the idea is Quentin Tarantino is this movie store nerd from when you were able to go take out movies from the store. He was a self-described movie nerd. So I’m [joking] about how this glorious movie star is dating this little squirrelly guy.”
As Letterman tells it, Tarantino called the late night host two days after the interview and launched into a tirade against him. “He starts screaming at me, ‘I’m going to beat you to death, I’m going to kill you. I’m coming to New York and I’m going to beat the crap out of you. How can you say that about me?'” Letterman said, calling Tarantino “full blown, clinically goofy.”
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The phone call continued to escalate after Letterman asked Tarantino, “How do you want to do this? Bat or fists?” Letterman said Tarantino chose a bat so that he could “beat the hell out of” him.
“There’s no cooling off,” Letterman said. “It just keeps blowing up.”
It wasn’t until years later when Tarantino was visiting “The Late Show” to promote “Inglourious Basterds” that the two men confronted one another face to face. Letterman said he went to Tarantino’s dressing room to try and smooth things over before their on air interview, but he ended up telling the director, “I think you owe me an apology.” Letterman said Tarantino’s publicist pushed him to apologize, which he did. Letterman ended things by joking about bringing up their beef during their interview.
Watch Letterman relive the entirety of his fight with Tarantino in the video below.