[Editor’s Note: Jim Brown died May 18 at the age of 87. In honor of his memory, IndieWire is reposting this piece from October 2022 about Quentin Tarantino’s love of Brown’s films.]
Quentin Tarantino has finally revealed his goal for cinema: return to the feel of movie theaters in the 1970s.
The Oscar winner detailed the formative moviegoing experience that shaped how he viewed masculinity after his mother’s boyfriend took him as a child to see “100 Rifles.” Starring Jim Brown, Burt Reynolds, and Raquel Welch, the film is a classic American Western about a thief (Reynolds) who is trying to outrun the local sheriff (Brown).
Tarantino explained on “Real Time with Bill Maher” while promoting the book “Cinema Speculation,” out November 1, that he watched “100 Rifles” with an all-Black audience, and the crowd loudly complained about opening film “The Bus Is Coming.”
“The first time I ever heard, ‘Suck my dick’ was someone in the audience,” Tarantino said. “Being taken to a Jim Brown movie at an all-Black theater, that was the most masculine experience I have ever had.”
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” auteur added, “Either as a movie consumer or when creating movies for an audience — that goal of a Jim Brown movie on a Saturday night in 1972 is what I’m trying to recreate.”
Tarantino allegedly told “Django Unchained” star Jamie Foxx to decidedly not imitate actor Brown’s charisma in the 2012 Western film. “He’s a slave. He’s not cool. He’s a fucking slave,” Foxx recalled Tarantino saying. “He doesn’t know how to read. You come in with your fucking Louis [Vuitton] bag and your Range Rover. He’s not Jim Brown. He’s a fucking slave. And then, and then he becomes the hero. Lose that shit.”
“Django Unchained” has been in the news as of late, with Kanye West claiming Tarantino stole the idea for the film from him after meeting to helm the “Gold Digger” music video, also featuring Foxx.
“There’s no truth to the idea that Kanye West came up with the idea of ‘Django’ and then he told that to me, and I go, ‘Hey, wow, that’s a really great idea. Let me take Kanye’s idea and make ‘Django Unchained’ out of it,'” Tarantino said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!.” “That didn’t happen. I’d had the idea for ‘Django’ for a while before I ever met Kanye.”