VENICE, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 09: Director Oliver Stone attends the "Nuclear" red carpet at the 79th Venice International Film Festival on September 09, 2022 in Venice, Italy. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)
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Oliver Stone Thinks Quentin Tarantino Sunk Natural Born Killers' Critical Chances
Shaking off the disappointment of “Heaven and Earth,” Oliver Stone leapt aboard to direct Quentin Tarantino’s script for “Natural Born Killers.” Stone viewed the film as “a look at the criminal subclass and the road movie concept, but through the mirror of the media”; however, he couldn’t foresee the problems Tarantino would pose for him after the 1994 Cannes Film Festival.
While Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” took Cannes by storm and should have been a boon for “Natural Born Killers,” the young writer-director’s propensity for self-promotion wound up placing Stone’s film squarely in the crosshairs. Stone told MovieMaker, "All over the world — everywhere we went — we were hurt by the critics with him saying we had rewritten the script.”
Stone continued, “He hadn't even seen the movie, but he was commenting on me, saying stuff about my films. It was just outrageous." Tarantino was particularly peeved that Stone had altered a screenplay that was fully envisioned on the page. To his mind, there was no need to depart so sharply from a script that could've easily worked as a plug-and-play adaptation.
When talking directly to the press, the older, somewhat wiser Stone took the long view on the young director's criticism: "I don't think it's right in our filmmaking culture for filmmakers to trash other filmmakers.” Though the filmmakers finally squashed their beef, "Natural Born Killers," like most of Stone's movies, hasn't received much in the way of a critical revaluation.