Quentin Tarantino is finally confirming his presumed final film.
The director told Deadline that “The Movie Critic” will begin “pre-pre-production” this June, with Tarantino looking for an actor around 35 years old to play the lead. “The Movie Critic” is based on a “porno rag” journalist whom Tarantino read growing up working as a vending machine restocker. The film is set in 1977 Southern California, with a character arc similar to that of Robert De Niro’s as Travis Bickle in Martin Scorsese’s “Taxi Driver.”
“All the other stuff was too skanky to read but then there was this porno rag that had a really interesting movie page,” Tarantino recalled of reading the magazine as a teenager. “He wrote about mainstream movies and he was the second-string critic. I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what Travis Bickle might be if he were a film critic. Think about Travis’ diary entries.”
The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” director added, “But the porno rag critic was very, very funny. He was very rude, you know. He cursed. He used racial slurs. But his shit was really funny. He was as rude as hell. He wrote like he was 55 but he was only in his early to mid-30s. He died in his late 30s. It wasn’t clear for a while but now I’ve done some more research and I think it was it was complications due to alcoholism.”
For “The Movie Critic,” the magazine will be fictionalized as “The Popstar Pages.” As Tarantino summed up, the feature is “based on a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag.”
As for casting, Tarantino noted that he is looking for a male American star in his mid-30s, noting it will be a new collaboration and not a longtime collaborator.
“I haven’t decided yet but it’s going to be somebody in the 35-year-old ball park. It’ll definitely be a new leading man for me,” Tarantino said. “I do have an idea of somebody I can imagine doing it really well…”
The “Pulp Fiction” icon is set to relocate to Los Angeles in June to “start seeing who else is out there” for casting.
“I would say that for the most part that the Americans gave up their own ground,” Tarantino added, citing the influx of British and Australian stars putting on American accents. “I think it’s just a case that a bunch of Brits just became more famous than the others. The Americans ceded their own ground. When I look at ’70s cinema I want to see Robert De Niro, I want to see Al Pacino, I want to see Stacy Keach, you know, I want to see people like that reflecting the culture back to me.”
“The Movie Critic” will be set the same year that “Rolling Thunder” premiered. Tarantino presents “Rolling Thunder” at Cannes this year. The film’s screenwriter Paul Schrader previously told IndieWire that Tarantino approached him about remaking the ending scene from “Rolling Thunder.”