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Quentin Tarantino is back for the last time.
The filmmaker behind some of the most indelible movies of the past three decades, Pulp Fiction and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood among them, is putting together what sources say is being billed as his final movie.
The Movie Critic is the name of the script that Tarantino wrote and is prepping to direct this fall, according to sources.
Logline details are being kept in a suitcase, but sources describe the story as being set in late 1970s Los Angeles with a female lead at its center.
It is possible the story focuses on Pauline Kael, one of the most influential movie critics of all time. Kael, who died in 2001, was not just a critic but also an essayist and novelist. She was known for her pugnacious fights with editors as well as filmmakers. In the late 1970s, Kael had a very brief tenure working as a consultant for Paramount, a position she accepted at the behest of actor Warren Beatty. The timing of that Paramount job seems to coincide with the setting of the script — and the filmmaker is known to have a deep respect for Kael, making the odds of her being the subject of the film more likely.
The project does not have a studio home; it could go out to studios or buyers as early as this week, according to sources. One frontrunner could be Sony, where Tarantino has a tight relationship with topper Tom Rothman. Sony distributed Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, the filmmaker’s 2019 opus on 1960s moviemaking, and also gave him a unique deal in which the copyright reverts to him over time. Hollywood also won two Oscars after nabbing 10 nominations and grossed over $377 million worldwide.
Tarantino has for two decades commanded the ability to attract the most coveted actors, working with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt two times each. He directed Christoph Waltz to two Oscar wins. Samuel L. Jackson is a frequent collaborator. If this truly is his final film, he will have no shortage of thespians dropping everything to line up for roles.
The filmmaker has long maintained he had a finite number of movies in him, saying he wanted to direct 10 films or retire by the time he was 60. The writer-director has made nine (if you count the two Kill Bill movies as one) and turns 60 later this month.
He also has espoused a philosophy that directors get out of touch as they age. In 2012, he told Playboy, “I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f—s up three good ones. I don’t want that bad, out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, ‘Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago.’ When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty.”
Tarantino is one of Hollywood’s most celebrated auteurs, obsessed with film history and throwaway genres that tended to operate on the fringes of the industry, such as Spaghetti Westerns, blaxploitation and chopsocky. But his modern and elevated take on those genres has earned him two Oscar wins for best writing (for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained), three best directing nominations and one best picture nomination.
Even though he plans on retiring from filmmaking, he has expressed interest in other creative outlets, noting in interviews that he could direct limited series or plays. In 2021, he published his first novel, a novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.
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