The Popcorn Reel
Thursday, August 20, 2009

Photo and copyright by Omar P.L. Moore/  2009.  All rights Reserved.
Filmmaker Quentin Tarantino in attendance just prior to a private screening of his new film "Inglourious Basterds" last night at
The Castro Theater in San Francisco.  (Photo: Omar P.L. Moore/

A Famous Cinephile Visits San Francisco's Movie Denizens
By Omar P.L. Moore/  SHARE
Thursday, August 20, 2009


Quentin Tarantino entertained the enthusiastic audience here at the famed Castro Theater last night. 

"Are you guys ready to see some Basterds??  Are you ready to fuck up the Nazis??", thundered Mr. Tarantino into a microphone, accompanying his rhetorical flourishes with gyratory kick-ass moves similar to the body language exhibited by some of his most indelible film characters. 

"Let's get this shit rollin'!!!"

And with that the 46-year-old director of "Inglourious Basterds" bounded off the Castro Theater stage as the house lights dimmed, meeting high-fives, delirium and fervent applause from audience members in attendance for a special private screening of the film hosted by SFIndiefest and The Weinstein Company. 

The movie flickered on the big screen anything but ingloriously for film fans. 

"Inglourious Basterds", which stars Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Diane Kruger and a large ensemble cast opens tomorrow in the U.S. and Canada, and this city's largest single movie theater will be among those here playing Mr. Tarantino's film.  "I was just walking around today," he exhorted, "and I had a few people come up to me, 'hey, I'm gonna go see it at the Castro on Sunday!  I'm gonna go see it at the Castro on Monday!"

Mr. Tarantino watched his film at the Castro on Wednesday with the audience, which whooped and hollered during the film's two hours and 32 minutes.  After the end credits, which were accompanied by the audience's vigorous standing ovation, Mr. Tarantino spent 45 minutes on stage answering at least two dozen questions.  Asked by a journalist about the strong, confident and brave women characters he writes and where the inspiration or origin of such characters arose, the energetic filmmaker responded: "I don't know.  It's what I do, I'm a writer, you know?  And -- I'm not being facetious.  Am I not supposed to do that?  I know that's not what you're saying (with the question) but it's too long of a story to tell where (his positive portrayals of women characters) comes from.  Who knows where the fuck that comes from, alright?  I know I like to see it.  And it's cool."  He added that he would continue to give his onscreen ladies "all the strength I possibly can."

The Tennessee-born director confirmed that it was he who actually strangles a character during his new film.  "Before I even cast [the performer] I said, 'it's not gonna feel good, but you're gonna be okay.'"  Trust, he added, was a crucial ingredient.  "We're gonna get what we're gonna get" for the sake of the scene, Mr. Tarantino said he told the thespian whose character meets a demise.

Photo and copyright by Omar P.L. Moore/  2009.  All Rights Reserved.
Quentin Tarantino on stage at The Castro Theater last night in San Francisco prior to the screening
of his latest film "Inglourious Basterds".  (Photo by Omar P.L. Moore/

Asked whether he would direct a third "Kill Bill" film Mr. Tarantino said he definitely would, but needed a ten-year gap before he got the Bride (played by Uma Thurman) to take her sword down from the wall again.  "It's coming up -- we're not far off," he said of the ten-year mark, which would be 2014 after the 2004 release of "Kill Bill Vol. 2".  Mr. Tarantino said that he had the idea for "Inglourious Basterds" in 1998 but decided to shelve it when the script for the Shosanna character became unwieldy.  Many of the qualities he originally devised for Shosanna were transferred to the Bride in the "Kill Bill" films though unintentionally.  "Shosanna was originally this ultra bad-ass killer," he said.  Mr. Tarantino finished writing the screenplay for "Inglourious Basterds" in July 2008.

The filmmaker said that he was very lucky to be making "dream projects", whether "Reservoir Dogs", "Pulp Fiction", "Jackie Brown" and so on, later stating that filmmakers eager to direct the next script that isn't their own eventually end up losing their own personal voice as a director.  Mr. Tarantino had turned down the offer to direct "Speed", a film he said he liked a lot.  (Jan DeBont directed the Keanu Reeves-Sandra Bullock starrer.)

"Thank Christ you didn't direct that," said one audience member.

Despite concerns from some attendees that Hollywood had gone off the rails with many film releases over the last few years, Mr. Tarantino said that "I actually think they're doing pretty good right now.  How many of you saw "District 9?"  (A strong affirmative response from the crowd.)  Mr. Tarantino started to talk about the film when some shouted, "don't give it away!" 

"I'm not going to spoil it!" 

Mr. Tarantino kept his word and praised "District 9" and "Funny People", Judd Apatow's film, as solid and unpredictable stories, hailing August as a good month for films.  "Part of my problem with them is . . . a lot of the movies that come out of Hollywood now -- and I'm not Hollywood-bashing because there are some good movies that justify them -- to me, most of the movies that come out are basically just movie versions of situation comedies.  And what I mean by that is they set the situation up in the first 15, 20 minutes and the rest of the movie is living up to that situation."

One audience member asked the "Death Proof" director if he thought that "Inglourious Basterds" would be a big Hollywood blockbuster hit film.

"From your lips to God's ears," Mr. Tarantino replied.

"Inglourious Basterds" is now playing in the U.K. and opens tomorrow in the U.S. and Canada.

Related: Melanie Laurent, One Beautiful Basterd

Related: Christoph Waltz, Living An Anti-Basterd Life

Related: Audio Popcorn - A Conversation with Melanie Laurent

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.    SHARE