What can we learn from a spat between two Hollywood bigwigs? I'll tell you, but first—some backstory.
This supposed feud started last week, when the German-language version of Playboy magazine published excerpts of an alleged interview with Ennio Morricone, the celebrated composer whose credits include The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Once Upon a Time in the West and more.
In the interview, Morricone seemed to slam director Quentin Tarantino, with whom he has collaborated on multiple projects, from Kill Bill to The Hateful Eight. Morricone allegedly called Tarantino a “cretin” and compared his homage style of filmmaking to “stealing” ideas, or reheating old food. He allegedly said Tarantino would give him unrealistic deadlines and was a “chaotic” director.
The interview also included some disparaging comments about Hollywood and the Oscars.
All this was enough to set the Internet ablaze with gossip, but then, on Nov. 11, Morricone spoke up. In a post on his official website entitled “Quentin and I,” the composer claimed the Playboy interview was entirely fabricated. Yikes.
It has come to my attention that Playboy Germany has come out with an article in which I have stated extremely negative comments about Tarantino and his films, and the Academy. I have never expressed any negative statements about the Academy, Quentin, or his films—and certainly do not consider his films garbage. I have given a mandate to my lawyer in Italy to take civil and penal action.
He went on to praise his relationship with Tarantino. He credits their collaboration as the reason for his first competitive Academy Award, which he won in 2016 for The Hateful Eight score.
In response, Germany’s Playboy editors doubled down on Monday and defended journalist Marcel Anders’ work in a statement to Variety.
“We are surprised that composer Ennio Morricone denies giving an interview to German Playboy,” the company told Variety. “In fact, the conversation took place on June 30, 2018, at his estate in Rome.”
But this morning, Playboy suddenly started whistling a different tune. Editor-in-chief Florian Boitin admitted to Deadline that “the words spoken in the interview have, in part, been reproduced incorrectly.”
They are now referring to Anders as a “freelancer” whose credibility is in question. The article has since come down.
Here’s the thing. Morricone has indeed had beef with Tarantino in the past. In 2013, after Django Unchained, he told students in Rome during a Q&A that he “wouldn’t like to work with him again, on anything.” He made on-the-record complaints about Tarantino’s style of directing and a too-hectic work schedule.
Yet just a couple of years later, Morricone and Tarantino collaborated on The Hateful Eight.
So whether or not this new Hollywood drama is fictitious or real, a lesson we can take away is that sometimes creative people clash, but they can still find ways to work together and produce Oscar-caliber work. Learning to swallow your pride, accept notes and work in styles that aren’t always to your liking will usually help get you farther in the entertainment industry. Collaboration isn't always easy!