Quentin Tarantino has been making the international press rounds in support of his “Cinema Speculation” book tour, recently speaking to Spain’s Diari ARA about how one of his only box office bombs shook his confidence as a film director. That bomb would be “Death Proof,” Tarantino’s 2017 stuntman action-thriller starring Kurt Russell that was released domestically as one half of the movie “Grindhouse.” The other half was Robert Rodriguez’s “Planet Terror.” The “Grindhouse” release earned $25 million, while “Death Proof” picked up only $30 million overseas in its standalone release.
“I have been lucky enough to write stories that have connected with many people, and this has allowed me to practice my art without the restrictions that most filmmakers have,” Tarantino told the publication. “Now, a funny thing happened: for a while I was getting a lot of project proposals, until the studios ended up assuming that I do my stories and it wasn’t worth the effort. But after ‘Death Proof,’ which didn’t do well at the box office and was a bit of a shock to my confidence, I started getting proposals again.”
“They must have thought, ‘Perhaps now he’s touched and his temper has gone down, now is the time,’” Tarantino added. “And there’s nothing wrong with making commissioned movies for Hollywood. They always offered me interesting projects. But I preferred to reinvest in myself and made ‘Inglourious Basterds.’”
The filmmaker admitted in a 2021 interview with Empire magazine that he over-estimated audience’s excitement for a double feature release like “Grindhouse.”
“With ‘Grindhouse,’ I think me and Robert just felt that people had a little more of a concept of the history of double features and exploitation movies,” Tarantino said at the time. “No, they didn’t. At all. They had no idea what the fuck they were watching. It meant nothing to them, alright, what we were doing. So that was a case of being a little too cool for school. But as far as the movie playing in England as the movie, I think people took it okay.”
The filmmaker also touched upon the lack of nudity and sex scenes in his movies while speaking to Diari ARA. Outside of Robert De Niro and Bridget Fonda in “Jackie Brown,” there isn’t much sex to be found in Tarantino’s filmography.
“It’s true, sex is not part of my vision of cinema,” Tarantino said. “And the truth is that, in real life, it’s a pain to shoot sex scenes, everyone is very tense. And if it was already a bit problematic to do it before, now it is even more so. If there had ever been a sex scene that was essential to the story, I would have, but so far it hasn’t been necessary.”
Tarantino is eyeing a fall start for what will be his 10th and final feature directorial effort, “The Movie Critic.” While rumors have claimed the 1970s-set movie is inspired by Pauline Kael, Tarantino has said the movie will be centered on a male film critic.