Quentin Tarantino On His Filmography: “I Don't Want To Make Rio Lobo”

Last month, American Cinematheque sponsored a special double-feature of Pulp Fiction andInglourious Basterds, followed by a Q&A with Quentin Tarantino. I attended and recorded the conversation, which was moderated by Variety’s Todd McCarthy. (Read McCarthy’s review of Basterds here.) Thanks to the diligent work of DG intern Crystal Hubbard, we now have a transcript, which Tarantino fans can download here, with the caveat that we make no guarantees of 100 percent accuracy.

In one portion of the interview, Tarantino talked about why he plans a short career:

As far as an artist is concerned in this business, it’s about the filmography. That’s what it’s about. It’s about every one being of a piece. And that’s why I want to get out, at a certain part in the game. I want to live or die by that filmography. And you know—we all know—if anyone knows it in this room, it’s you as well—is, the most cutting-edge artist, the coolest guys, the hippest dudes, they’re the ones that stay at the party too long. They’re the ones that make those last two or three movies that are completely out of touch and do not realize the world has turned on them. And they have no idea how corny they are. And I’m really talking about the hippest film makers who ever existed in Hollywood. But you know, you can’t expect these guys to know that life has changed and they’re out of tune or that they’re corny. And I just don’t want to be corny.

I just remember how I found Howard Hawks. I went to a Film-X 32-hour marathon—comedy marathon—and I saw His Girl Friday, which was one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had with an audience this big, in my life. I mean—it was just—I had never laughed that hard, it was like an orgasm. It was just so great....And so I then wanted to see everything that Howard Hawks did. And the next thing on television that I watched was Barbary Coast. Well that was wonderful! That had great dialog, wonderful characters, and that fed in to what I liked about His Girl Friday....

So, I just have this scenario of 30 years from now, some girl or boy is 16 years old and they see one of my movies. And they dig it. They don’t know who the fuck I am, they’ve never heard my name, but they think, “I dig this guy. Who is he? Tarantino? Well, let me find another Tarantino movie.” Now they don’t know about my filmography, they don’t know which one to watch. They don’t know if this one came here or that one came there, they just randomly—like I do with Barbary Coast, thank God, if could have been Rio Lobo—they grab the next one they get their hands on. And I want them to come from the same place. I want all my movies to have some connection to Reservoir Dogs. And I just don’t want to make Buddy Buddy. And Fedora and—what was the Marthe Keller [movie], Fedora, yeah. Sounds like a hat. But I don’t want to make Cheyenne Autumn, I don’t want to make Rio Lobo.