Trivia: Quentin Tarantino Was Offered ‘Man From U.N.C.L.E.’, Received Career Advice From Steven Spielberg and Tony Scott After ‘Grindhouse’
Posted on Friday, November 16th, 2012 by Angie Han
Here’s another one to file away in the Blu-ray collection of your wildest fantasies: Quentin Tarantino‘s Green Lantern. Crazy as it sounds, the filmmaker confirmed in a recent interview that he was approached for the gig, all the way back in the movie’s early stages.
Although Tarantino’s never been the comic book tentpole type, the timing of the project apparently made Warner Bros. believe it had an outside shot: Tarantino was coming off of Grindhouse‘s box office flop, an experience which had left his confidence so shaken he sought advice from master filmmakers Tony Scott and Steven Spielberg. Hit the jump to read Tarantino discuss Grindhouse‘s aftermath, Spielberg and Scott’s words of wisdom, and how he killed The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
While some filmmakers — really, some people — are loath to admit their fears and failures, Tarantino was candid about his sadness after Grindhouse‘s failure:
My confidence was rocked a little. It’s like in a breakup, when she’s the one does the leaving, and you’re shaken. And I called Tony and Steven Spielberg. They said a lot of the same things, how fortunate I was to do what I do, and that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. One of the things Spielberg said that was cool was, he goes, “Well, Quentin, you’ve been pretty lucky. You’ve had a success, to one degree or another, every time out. It’s almost like playing the game and not paying for it. All right? Today you paid for it. And it can make you a more well-rounded person, having done that. But the other thing though is the next time you have a success it’s going to be even much more sweeter because you learned what it’s like to have the cards fall the other way.” My confidence was rocked, but in this way: instead of taking a job, or writing something new, I went back to Inglourious Basterds, old material that I knew was good. I said, let me solve it now, quit fucking around, and just solve it.
And Inglourious Basterds, as we all know, turned out very well. But at the time, it wasn’t necessarily the obvious next move. The Grindhouse misstep had studios calling, wondering if Tarantino wanted to get back on track with a blockbuster:
[A]fter Grindhouse flopped, I actually started getting like aggressive offers for some big Hollywood hot project movies. And I felt like, I see where they’re coming from. They’re thinking I’m a little insecure right now and that I’m going to want to get back on the horse right away, in a solid situation. And I was a little insecure, but I didn’t quite bite. That Friday before Inglourious Basterds opened, I remember being so glad I had stuck to my guns.
Among the possibilities at various points were Green Lantern (which eventually went to Martin Campbell), and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (which has also cycled through David Dobkin, Steven Soderbergh, and Guy Ritchie in the past few years):
They did get in touch with me in the very early, early, early, early stages of Green Lantern, and a couple of other things. They’ve learned. I actually got things unmade because I showed a little interest in them, but never quite go all the way, and they don’t want to move on. I did that with The Man From UNCLE every time somebody new got the rights. They’ve probably learned not to call me, they know I write my own shit.
So we probably won’t be seeing his name on the Justice League shortlist anytime soon, then. That’s probably for the best. If he really does only have three more films in him, here’s hoping they’re all as quintessentially, uniquely Tarantino as his first seven.