Hey, remember that cringeworthy clip of a film critic and Samuel L. Jackson where Jackson aggressively insisted that the reporter actually come out and say the forbidden word he was being asked to defend, and the guy was like, Please god, let a hole open in the Earth and swallow me right now? You wouldn't think another Django Unchained interview could possibly top that profoundly awkward moment -- but wow, did Quentin Tarantino ever do just that.
The latest almost-too-uncomfortable-to-watch video comes courtesy of an interview between Tarantino and British news reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, and it starts sliding off the rails when Guru-Murthy asks Tarantino to offer his opinions on the connection between movie violence and real violence. Tarantino starts by red-facedly refusing to answer, then progresses right to insisting that "I'm not your slave! I'm not a monkey!"
Yeahhh, you're gonna want to see this one.
In the clip, Guru-Murthy addresses the violence present in Tarantino's slavery revenge western Django Unchained -- and grills him on why he likes making violent movies in general. At first Tarantino seems in control of the situation: It's as silly as asking Judd Apatow why he likes making comedies, he reasons. But when Guru-Murthy asks why Tarantino's so sure there's no link between enjoying movie violence and enjoying real violence, Tarantino kind of ... loses it.
I refuse your question. I'm not your slave and you're not my master. You can't make me dance to your tune. I'm not a monkey. (...) It's none of your damn business what I think about that. If anyone cares what I have to say about it, they can Google me. (...) I'm shutting your butt down!
Here's the clip -- and if you want to fast-forward right to the increasingly awkward part, it starts at 4:30:
You know, I understand that it must be extremely frustrating to hear the same questions over and over. Tarantino has likely been asked about the controversial violence in his films a million different times, and you can't really blame him for being visibly sick and tired of it.
However, there's a reason the interviewer is asking about the subject, and it's not because he didn't do his homework on Quentin Tarantino. It's because of what happened in Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, and regardless of how unfair Tarantino might think it is for someone to explore whether real-life violence has any connection to the sort of entertainment provided in Django Unchained, I sure don't think he offers a very good defense by reacting with such anger.
In other words, I totally disagree with the opinion of this Guardian writer:
(...) you ask him questions that he was unpicking 21 years ago when he promoted his debut Reservoir Dogs? Tarantino's indignant response was proportionate and refreshing.
Proportionate and refreshing? Jesus, I thought he was going to have a stroke right there on camera. For crying out loud, there's an explosive national debate happening about gun violence in America, and a massive pro-gun lobby with deep pockets targeting Hollywood. Here you are, perhaps the most provocative director in the industry who could have taken the opportunity to defend your artistic freedom, and you peevishly remind the interviewer that "I'm here to sell my movie. This is a commercial for my movie, make no mistake"?
I wouldn't call that refreshing, actually. Next time, I think Tarantino needs to suck it up and given an honest, articulate answer to this question, even if he's done so in the past. He may be more interested in promoting his movie than taking a political stand, but he's a smart guy who should have had the balls to engage.
What do you think about how this interview turned out? Do you think Tarantino did the right thing by refusing to answer the question?
Image via YouTube