Saturday 29 September 2007

Tarantino 'Death Proof' - London Q&A: Pt 3

This is the third and final part of my write up of the Death Proof Q&A Session with Quentin Tarantino and Zoe Bell. Thanks for all the kind comments on various forums, and the insistence from some that I finish this sooner rather than later. It has spurned me on to do this now, even when I can't be bothered!

Don't forget there's also
Part One and Part Two, which are both probably worth reading.

Spoilers below.

So here it is, the last bit. This is where all the left over moments that I didn't mention get dumped. As with the last two posts, I'm writing this off the top of my head with very little in way of sensible editorial control and also, because this final part is actually little moments that didn't fit into parts one or two, it's not very well structured.

My lasting feeling from the events was that both Tarantino and Zoe Bell came across as very nice people (Zoe especially; I hope she continues to do more off the back of Death Proof). Tarantino may have been sniffing an awful lot during the beginning of the Q&A, but I can't possibly speculate as to why, so let's give him the benefit of doubt.

It was really the director's night and Zoe Bell, brimming with as much nervous, excitable energy as you might expect for a newcomer, was careful not to not step on his toes. While I would have been more than happy to hear more from the charming New Zealand star, I was glad she let Tarantino have his say... as he always has a lot!

One of the most interesting revelations of the night was his explanation of his feelings about Jackie Brown. If I recall correctly, someone asked him if he would be adapting anyone else's work again in the future, and Tarantino's answer was quite interesting.

As a sort of disclaimer, he made it clear that he loves Jackie Brown, and he by no means wanted to disrespect it in any way, but at the same time, he described how once it was made, he didn't get the same amount of buzz as when he has created something from scratch. For him the experience was apparently a bit of a let down.

He described how exciting it was to start off with a blank piece of paper, imagine a whole world of characters and situations, and ultimately turn it into an something that he then gets to see other people experience. (And looking around the crowd, the energy on the faces of people still buzzing from having just watched his latest creation was palpable.)

He claimed that this feeling that was missing when Jackie Brown was complete. It wasn't his world, they weren't his characters, and as such, there was something missing from the experience for him.

He then told an anecdote about discussing this particular feeling with another filmmaker who had just adapted something for the first time in their career (although he didn't say who, you got the feeling it was someone big), and they agreed with him; the experience was not as satisfying as seeing your own creation come to light, and as such, it just wasn't as exciting seeing it finished.

Again, he made it clear that that has now all this has passed, and it was just a feeling that was missing at that moment in time, and he's very proud of Jackie Brown, etc etc, but in the end, he said that the feeling he felt was strong enough to put him off wanting to adapt anything else in the future. So no more adaptations on the horizon for Tarantino!

Another question asked, in light of his feelings about adapting other people's work, was which of his own characters did he like the most. At this point Zoe Bell piped in with, "not including me, who is obviously your favourite, right?". Tarantino laughed and said, "of course", but then seemed to think about it and added, "actually, you're not my creation, you play yourself!" (which, judging her from the night, she most definitely does).

So, and I hope I'm remembering the full list (see why I left these questions to last?), he thought about it and said: Butterfly, Abernathy, The Bride, Mia Wallace, Mr Pink and Mr Blonde. I remember thinking, "no Mr. White?", but no, he wasn't there. (If anyone is out there going, "but what about Jules and Vincent?", um, well, they may have been there, but I can't remember for sure.)

Someone asked what he thought of Rob Zombie's new Halloween film and I was pleasantly surprised at how candid he was with his opinion, "I liked the first 40 minutes, but after that... I hated it". It's refreshing to hear someone just be honest for a change.

Tarantino was also very open about his general dissatisfaction working with Directors of Photography in general. Death Proof is the first film which Tarantino shot himself, without a DP, and he seemed to appreciate the freedom this gave him. Also, he joked that Death Proof was the perfect project to try it out on, "If it looked bad, I could just say, 'it's supposed to look bad, it's a 70's exploitation film!'".

He talked a little about his frustration of working with DPs, and how all they bring their own staff with them, who then, wanting to keep their working relationship with the DP in question, work for the DP instead of for Tarantino. You got the sense let it was a source of some considerable frustration for him, and that there must have been issues in his previous films, although he named no names.

Aside from Zoe Bell's sweet account of how Tarantino revealed to her just how big a role she had in his latest film (she at first thought it would be a one line cameo at most), which is also told on the Death Proof DVD for those who want to hear it, I'm sorry to say that think I'm out of material.

The whole experience was an incredible one, and one that changed my feelings about, not only Death Proof, but also Tarantino. It was nice to see the director "uncut" and clearly in an environment where he felt comfortable.

Thinking about Death Proof in a more critical light as a result of this evening, my girlfriend came up with a really interesting psychological profile for Stuntman Mike. In her mind, Mike was basically an average guy that got into stunts a little too much. The buzz from surviving car accidents made everything else pale in comparison and he got hooked on the extreme adrenalin rush. Even sex paled in comparison, it just couldn't compare to the life-threatening thrill of surviving a crazy accident. So he developed his own twisted version of sex, or the closest he can get to sex and still feel exhilaration, mixing these terrifying thrills with beautiful young women. I think that's rather a cool background story his character.

I hope you've enjoyed these three weeks of Death Proof madness! Thanks again to all those who have taken the time to tell me they enjoyed these little write ups. And thanks my girlfriend for getting us both tickets to the event (somehow miraculously stumbling across them just as they went on sale!). Cheerio!

1 comment:

Storm said...

Here's what made "Death Proof" hard for me to enjoy; "Big Trouble in Little China" is one of my Top 5 Movies, and Kurt Russell's character was WAY too much like Jack Burton, but gone insane and randomly killing people for no apparent reason. That, and the TALK TALK TALKING; that diner scene is more like "My Dinner With Andre" than it is "Cleopatra Jones". Have mercy.