Tarantino John Milius interview

Back in 1982, Quentin Tarantino, who was then 20-years-old, had yet to make a feature film. But he did manage to score an interview with the legendary John Milius, the writer-director with credits that include Apocalypse NowJeremiah Johnson, Red DawnConan the Barbarian, and more. Over on the website for his theater The New Beverly, Tarantino has uploaded the nearly 40-year-old interview.

You can read the full interview here, which comes with a new introduction from Tarantino. According to the director, he landed the interview by simply calling Milius’ assistant and telling her he was writing a book (he wasn’t). Later, he actually became friends with Milius, and adds that in 1995, he was “taken duck hunting by John Milius, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis” – a scenario I really hope someone turns into a movie someday.

As for the interview itself, it’s a little rough around the edges – something Tarantino acknowledges in his intro – full of lots of fawning. It’s also going to be a little mystifying if you’re unfamiliar with much of Milius’ work. Still, I particularly like this exchange regarding the film Dillinger:

QT: You describe yourself as a hopeless romantic. But to me the section in Dillinger that doesn’t work are the scenes in the middle when Dillinger (Warren Oates) and Billie Frechette (Michelle Phillips) go off together. The whole sort of romantic montage of them in the rowboat, walking in the woods, it looked like you didn’t really have your heart in it. However, later in the movie, during the big shoot out, Billie Frechette grabs a Tommy Gun and starts blasting G-Men giving Dillinger the cover he needs yelling, run Johnny run! Now that was romantic!

JM: Well loyalty is always a quality that I admire in people. If people are loyal to each other that’s very meaningful. (NOTE: Years later I use that exact line in Pulp Fiction) It’s very easy to be in love with one another. It’s very easy to be enraptured with ideas. But whether or not you can remain loyal is a test of who you are. When you’ve given your word it’s very important – it’s a moral test of one’s self whether or not you can maintain loyalty.

Tarantino also adds that the transcript he uploaded on the New Bev site is only partial, and that he plans to upload the rest later, so keep an eye out for that.

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