Quentin Tarantino has never been shy about the fact that he views his own filmography as a solid unit of movie-making finesse. He’s not wrong about that, of course. Tarantino is one of the most respected writer-directors of all time, but no matter how many prizes the industry showers upon him (he’s racked up two Oscars and counting), it seems there’s simply no one that values and protects his work quite as much as he does.
Now that he’s amassed eight official titles to his cinematic collection -- his early short films, including the lost My Best Friend’s Birthday, don’t count for purposes of this list -- Tarantino’s starting to talk about the end game and what he’ll do to close out his celebrated career. As of right now, he’s sticking firm with the fact that he’s got two good films left in him.
As reported by Variety, the Hateful Eight director appeared at this week’s Jerusalem Cinematheque to present his second full-length feature Pulp Fiction, and he told the crowd that for him, 10 is the lucky number.
“I’m planning on stopping at 10. So, it’ll be two more,” he said. While he didn’t spill on exactly which titles those would be, he did say that whatever they are, they’ll be the only ones that really count for purposes of the inevitable QT collective box-set edition:
“Even if at 75, if I have this other story to tell, it would still kind of work because that would make those 10. They would be there and that would be that. But the one he did when he was an old f---ing man, that geriatric one exists completely on its own in the old folks’ home and is never put in the same shelf next to the other 10. So, it doesn’t contaminate the other 10.”
Tarantino has long said that he’s Quittin’ at Taran-ten-o (sorry, bad pun), so, as of right now, that’s still the plan. As for what those two last movies might be? In December, Tarantino hinted that he might adapt an Elmore Leonard (whose Rum Punch became Jackie Brown in 1997) book called Forty Lashes Less One. Doing so would mean he can truly collect his western director stripes, but instead of defaulting to a big screen adaptation, Tarantino hinted that he’d rather use a four-to-five hour TV mini-series medium for that one. There’s also the possibility of him revisiting the story world of his sixth film, Inglourious Basterds, by way of Killer Crow, which was originally a part of the script for a much-longer version of Basterds (a second installment could bring back Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa, Tarantino’s favorite character of all his creations, too).
Meanwhile, a lot of his fans are really holding out hope that he’s saving a spot for him to ultimately circle back on the Kill Bill: Vol. 3 option as well, and while Tarantino didn’t say whether he’s still committed to making that movie as one of his last two, he did continue to dangle the carrot by agreeing that he’s a three-part kind of guy.
He agreed with a critic who he’d heard clump his film into groups of three, like so: the initial trio of gritty crime stories a la Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and Jackie Brown; Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, and his Death Proof from the Grindhouse collaborative; and Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, and The Hateful Eight comprising his pseudo-historical suspense period.
“[The critic] goes: ‘He makes movies in threes. The first two movies are very symbiotically connected, almost complement each other in a different way. The third movie usually is linked by genre to some degree or another to the first two, but it almost always exists as a rebuke to the first two. It almost exists as a bastard child of the first two and is usually never as popular as the first two.’ He’s onto something. Even the idea that the third one is almost, in its own way, a critique of the first two. And I thought that was really interesting and it held more water the more I thought about it.”
While the critic he mentioned sorted Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 into two separate works for purposes of that hypothesis, Tarantino still mentions that he sees it as a single movie. So, in theory, if he were to finish up with Kill Bill: Vol. 3 it could just be a third part of that original movie and not take up another space in the 10? Maybe?
Plus, if those rumored Vol. 3 plot plans remained firm -- that he wants to circle back on The Bride once little Nikki (the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s slain Vernita Green) grows up to collect her promised shot at revenge -- that’d certainly fall in line with this idea that his third films up-end the other two, wouldn’t it? Then he could have the western front, his ragey street crime trilogy, his war epics, and a single, three-part samurai series. That's 10 (fingers crossed)!