You’d think that life was going pretty smoothly for the celebrated director Quentin Tarantino. His new movie, the slavery-revenge western Django Unchained, has not only taken more than $100 million at the U.S. box office, but had a pretty decent showing at Thursday’s Oscar nominations, scoring five nods including one for Best Picture.
But it’s hard to figure out QT’s bizarre behavior during an interview with the Channel 4 Evening News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy, in which the 49-year-old auteur lost his cool with the British journalist, telling him, among other things, “I’m shutting your butt down.”
Tarantino began to act erratically once Guru-Murthy started to ask him about a possible link between on-screen and off-screen violence — much in the news due to last month’s tragic school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and the ongoing political debate over gun control.
Yet rather than engage with Guru-Murthy or bat him off with a polite response, Tarantino went on the offensive, saying, “Don’t ask me questions like that. I’m not biting. I refuse your question.” Pushing back, Guru-Murthy said it was his job to flesh out Tarantino’s opinion, which resulted in the now infamous line, “I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not your monkey.”
Tarantino calmed down a bit and tried a different tack. “I’m here to sell my movie,” he said. “This is a commercial for the movie, make no mistake. I don’t want to talk about the implications of violence.” He continued in this vein, saying “If anyone cares what I have to say about it, they can Google me, and they can look for 20 years on what I have to say about it. I haven’t changed my opinion one iota.”
Guru-Murthy pursued his subject, continuing to ask Tarantino for his views on violence. The director, clearly flustered, waved his hands and said, “I’m shutting your butt down.” The interview didn’t last much longer.
“It’s been a good week,” Tarantino said later the same day at Django Unchained‘s London premiere. It makes you wonder how the interview would have gone had he been having a bad week.