There is perhaps no more colorful filmmaker working today than Quentin Tarantino. Opinions of him vary; is he the film world's delightful goblin, or a crazed auteur painting his pictures in blood? Or is he both?
The director's new interview with New York magazine only amplifies that split. His quotes range from the incredibly progressive — a fervent defense of President Barack Obama, gleefully decrying the end of "white supremacy" — to the strangely out-of-touch — does he really think The Newsroom was a great HBO series? For better or worse, however, it's all incredibly Tarantino.
Here are the nine quotes, on topics like The Hateful Eight, Ferguson and why Jennifer Lawrence is the new Bette Davis, that stand out.
On his goals for The Hateful Eight: How will Tarantino's newest movie connect to 2015? According to him, he didn't mean it to. "I'm not trying to make Hateful Eight contemporary in any way, shape, or form," he said. "I'm just trying to tell my story."
On how The Hateful Eight is contemporary: Just because he didn't mean to make it modern doesn't mean it isn't, though. The movie uses the Civil War as a setting of sorts, dealing with questions of "white supremacy," connecting to contemporary scenes in Ferguson and Baltimore.
"It just happens to be timely right now. We're not trying to make it timely. It is timely," he said. "I love the fact that people are talking and dealing with the institutional racism that has existed in this country and been ignored."
On Obama: Tarantino supported Obama's candidacy, and the president has lived up to the director's expectations, particularly recently. "He's my favorite president, hands down, of my lifetime," he said. "His he-doesn't-give-a-shit attitude has just been so cool. Everyone always talks about these lame-duck presidents. I've never seen anybody end with this kind of ending."
On casting actors who look realistic instead of gorgeous: Tarantino unfavorably compared Ben Affleck's The Town to David O. Russell's The Fighter, two films from the same year, based on the realism of their casts.
"It was a good crime film. However, next to The Fighter, it just couldn't hold up, because everybody in The Town is beyond gorgeous," he said, adding Affleck was the only star that could get away with it because of his Boston accent. "Then, if you look at The Fighter, and you look at those sisters, they're just so magnificent."
On why he cast Jennifer Jason Leigh instead of Jennifer Lawrence: While Tarantino thinks Lawrence is a star — "another little Bette Davis" in the making, he called her — he cares about her age. This is in stark contrast to Russell, who has cast Lawrence as characters significantly older than her three times.
"Daisy should be a little older. She should fit in with the guys," the director said of Leigh's part. "She went for a couple of things that other people just kind of playacted. She had to act like she got shot, and she just screamed bloody murder."
On watching movies on an iPhone: "The idea that somebody's watching my movie on a phone, that's very depressing to me," he said. Tarantino is a noted defender of traditional film, even debuting The Hateful Eight in 70mm format before digital. So think next time you want to watch Inglourious Basterds on a train: What would Quentin say?
On his peculiar TV tastes: Maybe Tarantino just doesn't have friends recommending the right TV to him. While he enjoyed the very Tarantino-friendly Justified, he also watched How I Met Your Mother. Does one of our most ambitious artists really love such a simple sitcom? Was he also disappointed by the finale?
Most surprisingly, he loved the hate-watch-worthy The Newsroom, chalking up any dissent about it to premature judgment. "Who the fuck reads TV reviews? Jesus fucking Christ," he said. "TV critics review the pilot. Pilots of shows suck. Why would it be surprising that I like the best dialogue writer in the business?"
On True Detective: Turns out Tarantino wasn't a fan of the HBO series. "I tried to watch the first episode of season one, and I didn't get into it at all. I thought it was really boring. And season two looks awful," he said. "It's so serious, and they're so tortured, trying to look miserable with their mustaches and grungy clothes." Give it to Tarantino: There may be mustaches and grungy clothes in The Hateful Eight, but no one looks miserable.
On critics of his use of violence and racially loaded language in his movies: He's not sorry. "Social critics don't mean a thing to me," he said. "It's really easy to ignore them, because I believe in what I'm doing 100%. So any naysayers for the public good can just fuck off."