LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Director Quentin Tarantino has always been a huge fan of B-movies, that juicy layer of popular culture dominated by zombies, psychotic killers, violent car chases and buckets of gore.
Now, four years after the colorful writer/director/producer and sometime actor paid homage to the martial-arts movie with his spaghetti-western-meets-eastern-noodle kung fu gore-fest “Kill Bill,” he’s back with “Grindhouse.”
It’s a double-feature exploitation movie, complete with fake trailers, that he conjured up with B-movie-loving pal Robert Rodriguez, with enough fake blood, state-of-the-art visual effects and scantily-clad women to keep every teenage boy happy.
In a recent interview, Tarantino talked about making a B-film and how he and Rodriguez were able to persuade an A-list cast that includes Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage, Kurt Russell and Rosario Dawson to join in the mayhem.
Q: Was it hard getting stars like Bruce Willis and Nic Cage to be in a B-movie?
A: “To be honest, it was a big surprise to me. I didn’t even know that Bruce Willis was in Robert’s movie until I was on the set, and I was like, ‘What’s he doing here?’ And then I saw his green beret and army fatigues and it hit me — he’s not just visiting the set, he’s in our movie! And neither of us realized that Nic Cage was in Rob Zombie’s fake trailer until we read about it. But obviously they really wanted to be in it, and they’re great.”
Q: You collaborated with Robert Rodriguez on ‘Sin City,’ but this time you each shot your own separate movie. Is there ever a sense of competition between you?
A: “With anyone else it would totally be the case, that we were trying to out-do each other, but it doesn’t happen with us. Our films are ridiculously compatible anyway, and I think people want to see a Robert Rodriguez movie that’s more high-paced, and I think people who want to see a Quentin movie want to hear my dialogue and want to see me slow done a little bit and build up to my big moment.”
Q: Kurt Russell seems to be perfectly cast as Stuntman Mike and looks like he’s having a blast. Was he your first choice?
A: “He actually wasn’t. I had this other actor in mind at the start, but things just didn’t work out. That can be a good thing, as you’ve imagined the role with someone else in mind, so when all of a sudden you change track, now your movie can be anything. It’s very freeing, and once I thought of Kurt, it was, ‘That’s it! If he responds to the character and gets it, the role is his.’”
Q: Is it true you still write your scripts in longhand?
A: “Totally! I used red and black. One of the great things about being a writer is it gives you complete license to have whatever strange rituals make you happy and productive.
“I’m not superstitious in my normal daily life but I get that way about writing, even though I know it’s all bullshit. But I began that way and so, that’s the way it is. My ritual is, I never use a typewriter or computer. I just write it all by hand. It’s a ceremony. I go to a stationary store and buy a notebook - and I don’t buy like ten. I just buy one and then fill it up. Then I buy a bunch of red felt pens and a bunch of black ones, and I’m like, ‘These are the pens I’m going to write ‘Grindhouse” with.’”
Q: What do you like to do when you’re not working on a film?
A: “I like to watch a lot of movies, but I also love to go traveling. I got into a bunch of different adventures after “Kill Bill” and before I did this one. I went on a horseback riding safari in Africa which was great. I’d ridden horses before, but I had to learn properly, so I spent a month just doing that before that trip. Then I got to drive a NASCAR on the NASCAR track - I did 147 mph and eight laps, and that was so much fun.”