The Internet has been abuzz this week about Quentin Tarantino’s explosive interview with a British journalist for Channel 4, in which the director snapped after being asked why he didn’t think film violence and real violence were connected. “Don’t ask me questions like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question,” he retorted. “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not your monkey.” Though he goes somewhat off the handle, Tarantino is right about one thing — he has been asked about violence quite a bit. And so have many other directors that use it in their films. After the jump, we’ve collected a few of their answers, which range from quippy to sincere, to get a better view of how violent Hollywood views itself. Any good quotes we’ve missed? Add to our list in the comments.
Quentin Tarantino (Inglorious Basterds, Django Unchained)
A few highlights:
“Violence is just one of many things you can do in movies,” he said. “People ask me, ‘Where does all this violence come from in your movies?’ I say, ‘Where does all this dancing come from in Stanley Donen movies?’ If you ask me how I feel about violence in real life, well, I have a lot of feelings about it. It’s one of the worst aspects of America. In movies, violence is cool. I like it.” (Speaking at a press conference, in Newsday, 1994)
“What happened during slavery times is a thousand times worse than [what] I show,” he says. “So if I were to show it a thousand times worse, to me, that wouldn’t be exploitative, that would just be how it is. If you can’t take it, you can’t take it.
“Now, I wasn’t trying to do a Schindler’s List you-are-there-under-the-barbed-wire-of-Auschwitz. I wanted the film to be more entertaining than that. … But there’s two types of violence in this film: There’s the brutal reality that slaves lived under for … 245 years, and then there’s the violence of Django’s retribution. And that’s movie violence, and that’s fun and that’s cool, and that’s really enjoyable and kind of what you’re waiting for.”
From the same interview:
Tarantino: Would I watch a Kung fu movie three days after the Sandy Hook massacre? Would I watch a Kung fu movie? Maybe, because they have nothing to do with each other.
Gross: You sound annoyed. I know you’ve been asked this a lot.
Tarantino: Yeah. I’m really annoyed. I think it’s disrespectful to their memory, actually.
Gross: To whose memory?
Tarantino: To the memory of the people who died to talk about movies. I think its totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health. (Fresh Air interview, 2013)