In one of the best interviews with the director we've ever seen, Augustin Trapenard of CANAL+ sat down with Tarantino during the film festival and asked him questions about his inspirations, cinematic process, and philosophy that left him speechless...multiple times.
Watch the fantastic (spoiler-free) interview below.
Nostalgia can drive you
Tarantino was six years old in the late 60s, when the film is set, and he says he purposefully included a lot of the sights and feels of the Los Angeles that he knew.
This nostalgia not only lends authenticity but it can play across generations. I know I light up seeing the Cinerama Dome in the trailer, as it probably was then, before the Arclight Hollywood incorporated it.
Tarantino also says it was important for him to do things practically and actually film on the streets he knew (or to build sets to get things exactly right). He thinks that movies will slowly phase out of shooting practically because it's simply so expensive to do so.
Going full Lelouch
Tarantino says Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is his "most Claude Lelouch-like film," because he sees it as a romantic fairy tale hidden underneath a shell of gritty realism.
Lelouch is a French director whose film A Man and a Woman won the Palme d'Or at the 1966 Cannes Film Festival. (He is also well-known for turning his Mercedes Benz 450 SEL 6.9 into a camera platform for his short C'était un rendez-vous.)
So take note, cinephiles: directors like Lelouch are the ones that help propel Tarantino's creativity. Check out some of his other influences.
What Tarantino wants from his actors
On a surface level, Tarantino picked Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt because he's worked with them before, knows they are big stars, and for the purposes of the film knew they could pass as similar enough that Pitt could play DiCaprio's stunt double.
"I like actors who do character work, who really invest in the character," Tarantino says.
He wants his actors to care about the story first, then care about the parts they are playing. He wants them to explore who that person is and seek answers about their behavior.
"I like actors who do character work, who really invest in the character."
Tarantino claims to know everything about the characters in his story, but he's happy for actors to come up with additional details outside the story he's trying to tell.
"But then the other thing that, to me, makes a really good actor is they know their dialogue," Tarantino says.
Things he wishes were different
Tarantino is a purist and quite open about his hatred of shooting digital, and he repeats that in this interview. He wants everyone to shoot on 16 mm film, all the time. He wants films like the ones at Cannes to play on 35 mm or 16 mm.
He also wishes he could uninvent every cell phone, for what that's worth.
He believes that Kodak and film will endure, due to his commitment and the commitment of other directors like Christopher Nolan and the studios who support them.
Nine films out of ten
Hollywood will be Tarantino's ninth feature film. He's said for a long time he's only going to make ten, so the interviewer asks about what the tenth might possibly be. Tarantino says he's ready to take roughly a year off, and hopefully, an idea will "present itself in that time."
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes out July 26.