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Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to the hot seat. Nearly a decade before the controversial director would draw the ire of cop unions nationwide for publicly protesting police brutality (“I have to call a murder a murder and I have to call the murderers the murderers,” he told the crowd at an Oct. 24 rally in New York City), Tarantino faced a cultural backlash for the extreme violence depicted in his Kill Bill films.
When Kill Bill Vol. 1 was released in 2003 (its sequel opened one year later), the film earned $181 million worldwide for distributor Miramax Films and fared especially well among younger moviegoers. THR described it as “ultraviolent” yet “ultrahip” in its review, but many critics questioned whether the popular film was really in society’s best interest.
Tarantino insisted that it was appropriate viewing for both adults and children, and maintained that the violence depicted?in his films could never be linked?to real-world violence. “Kids go? to the movie theater and they can tell the difference,” he told a radio interviewer at the time, leading to a heated argument about the movie’s “violent and vicious” agenda. “Innocent people die along the way because, unfortunately, that’s the story of revenge. Revenge is messy. It never works out the way you want it to,” was his response.
Tarantino has not shied away from violence in subsequent projects, including 2009’s Inglourious Basterds and 2012’s Django Unchained (both financed with the support of The Weinstein Co.’s Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Tarantino’s longtime business partners).
His next project, following a three-year hiatus, promises to be similarly brutal. The Hateful Eight is a Western set in post-Civil War Wyoming, with much of the action taking place in a single location — a restaurant, bar and trading post called “Minnie’s Haberdashery” — during a blizzard.
Despite multiple police-union boycotts of the director, the TWC-produced project, which was the most coveted title at last year’s American Film Market, is scheduled to hit theaters Christmas Day and remains an awards contender. “The Weinstein Co. has a longstanding relationship and friendship with Quentin,” a rep for the company tells THR. “We don’t speak for Quentin. He can and should be allowed to speak for himself.”
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