Quentin Unchained: Watch Tarantino’s ‘I’m Shutting Your Butt Down’ Rant on British TV

Quentin Tarantino loses the plot with a British television host

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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.”

(REVIEW: Django Unchained: Tarantino Frees the Slaves)

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.”

(LIST: Reservoir Dogs Turns 20: A Look Back at the Films of Quentin Tarantino)

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.

MORE: Quentin Tarantino Cools His Jets – Top 10 Celebrity/Paparazzi Showdowns

31 comments
Jinky
Jinky

Moments earlier Tarantino says he loves that his film has sparked a debate about slavery and is happy to talk about that. He's also happy repeating himself about many issues that he's talked about over the years. But when asked about the correlation between violence in movies and in real life he simply dodges the question and goes on the defensive. Sure it's his right to do so, but I think he's chickening out. 

Right now in America there is a big debate on violence in society and gun-rights with the NRA (a very vocal and powerful lobby) pointing its finger at Hollywood as one of the main causes of violence in society. This was a chance for Tarantino to fight back and put the NRA in its place with a very smart, passionate, and well-thought out answer. But he can't. Makes me wonder if he feels there really is a correlation that he cannot defend. As a fan, I was very disappointed.  

SamWatkins
SamWatkins

Talk about a waste of golden opportunity.

You have a great director in the studio, come to do an interview, the BBC assigns some troll who apparently doesn't even like his movies to do the interview.

And so, instead of making a great interview he just wastes his time and pisses him off.  FAIL.

derekcottrell
derekcottrell

@SamWatkins nothing to do with the BBC, Britain has more than one excellent non sycophantic broadcaster.

SamWatkins
SamWatkins

I don't mind so much that the troll interviewer asked a Troll question.

But he should respect the director, and take "No" for an answer, not waste 5 minutes prodding him.

It's really rude and disrespectful to waste QT time like that.  Disrespectful to the viewer, also; we don't want to see that pathetic attempted power struggle.

jsahn
jsahn like.author.displayName 1 Like

Guru-Murthy is dumb and Levy is dumber. it was awesome to see Tarantino shutting him down.

Jinky
Jinky

@jsahn Guru-Murthy has a degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University.  Not what I'd call dumb.

SamWatkins
SamWatkins

@jsahn  absolutely, the interviewer is a troll.
Levy apparently a troll-sympathiser.  Or just in fact looking for attention.

Controversy attracts attention, but I can't respect BBC Channel 4 NEWS or Time magazine for wasting Tarantino's time, or for trying to get readers with this garbage.

Heian
Heian

A lot of people seem to think that was a "bait" question - trying to "get" Tarantino on movie violence in some link with real-life violence, like it was some kind of trap. If that had been the case, the question would have been much more directed, such as "Do you think movies that glorify violence, like yours, have a link with real-world violence?" The phrasing of the question wasn't aggressive or suggestive of blame. It was an question to open discussion on a subject that is prominent in the media today.

Honestly, the more talk about it with people who can dismiss such ridiculous connections is important, and the more it's seen and heard, the better. It could have gone into a great discussion about the differences in reactive and random violence, or how seeing the results of violence affects viewers and their opinions of violence, or anything in the spectrum of a short, thoughtful conversation given the context of recent events.

Seeing somebody who makes violent movies act overly aggressive and petulant isn't exactly a step in the right direction for disproving the baseless assumption that involvement in fictional violence affects a person's personality.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Heian

Your example:  "Do you think movies that glorify violence, like yours, have a link with real-world violence?"

The Interviewer's Question (quoted verbatim):  "Why are you so sure there's no link between enjoying movie violence, and enjoying real-life violence?"

In your example, the subject of the question is "Movie Violence In-General."  However, the subject of the interviewer's question was, "The Certainty/Surety of Tarantino's Position on Movie Violence."  

Let's not mince words:  That's about as "directed" a question as you can get.  

The interviewer clearly had Tarantino's position in mind, and clearly was intent on getting an explanation out of him.  If you're at all in doubt about that, watch the clip from the 4:20 mark until the end. 

Also, there's no question that violence is a 'prominent subject in the media today.'  However, as Tarantino stated, the point of the interview was to serve as a commercial for his movie.  Commercials are supposed to sell products/services.  Unfortunately, the interviewer did not fully appreciate Tarantino's business acumen (who wants to watch a Socratic-discussion filled commercial?).  As such, the interviewer got shot down.

As I said below, "there's a time and a place for everything."  The interviewer did not seem to fully grasp that critical concept.

Heian
Heian

And a followup, in terms of "a time and place for everything". Are you saying that an interview is not the time and place for questions?

All I see points to you having absolutely no understanding of what an interview is.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Heian 

For this "follow-up," I find it fascinating that you accused me of "twisting" your words.  The implication in your follow-up question is a total twist on my words.  We both know what an interview is, but we differ on what's appropriate questioning strategies/focuses on an interview-by-interview basis.

Heian
Heian

@mrbomb13 @Heian Sorry, but no. You are completely misrepresenting to twist things to fit your views. If you don't understand what "directed question" refers to, you are more or less arguing on the basis of your ignorance.

If you can't acknowledge the difference between "Movies" and "Movies like yours", you're just plowing forward with your initial opinion regardless of presented counterpoints.

And, an interview is not strictly a "commercial for a movie". That's what commercials are for. Those already exist. Or are you saying that it was the interviewer's job to just pander to Tarantino and lob softball questions to him?

 It is called an "interview", not a "celebrity monologue". That you're trying to represent it as such is very telling of a stark misunderstanding on your part.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Heian @mrbomb13

In the interest of continuing the discussion:

1) As a point of information, I have attached the following link with examples of Directed Questions which are styled very similarly to the interviewers.  I invite you to examine, and then comment on the link:  http://onlineacademy.org/modules/a205/support/a205b0_40100.html  

2) "Movies" refer to movies; "movies like yours" is a simile used to compare other movies to 'yours.'  Please precisely indicate how exactly I am, "just plowing forward with your initial opinion regardless of presented counterpoints" when I clearly can acknowledge the difference.

3) I understand that, "an interview is not strictly a 'commercial for a movie'."  However, it appears that Tarantino was led to believe ahead of time that the interview would focus on solely aspects of the movie.  As such, the interview would be tailored for Tarantino to publicize the movie.  If you understand the basics of Public Relations 101, you know that a company/executive/director wants to emphasize positive aspects of the product/service.  Such emphasis does not bog the viewer down in unrelated tangents.

Imagine if the interviewer interviewed the CEO of Hershey Chocolate Co. about Hershey's hypothetical new chocolate bar.  The point of the interview is to discuss just the chocolate bar.  Now, imagine if that interviewer brought up the harsh labor conditions of the South American farmers who have to harvest the cocoa beans (main ingredient in chocolate).  Ask yourself:  is that relevant to the interview, or is it a irrelevant tangent meant to generate negative PR?

4) Following that, it is the job of the interviewer not to mislead the interviewee.  Tarantino was walking into an interview about his movie - NOT his personal feelings about violence in society, etc.  Again, there's a time and a place for everything.

Imagine if a director went on Access Hollywood to discuss his movie, and then got questions on environmental control policy lobbed at him.  In that setting, "Gotcha!" questions are not appropriate.

rihannk
rihannk

I think Mr Tarantino is paranoid.

gustavo_menezes
gustavo_menezes like.author.displayName 1 Like

I love Tarantino's work, but he didn't have to be so unpolite.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Good for Tarantino!  Way to stick it to the god-damn politically correct, liberal media!

Heian
Heian

@mrbomb13 I can't tell if this is sarcasm or just ignorance.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Heian @mrbomb13 

I will also add that, "there's a time and a place for everything."

As Tarantino stated, he has given his views on violence in movies, and the lacking connection between violence in society before.  In the interview, he repeatedly stated that the interview was a "commercial" for the film.  In other words, the interview was meant to sell the film.  That message of "sell, sell, sell!" gets muddled in a deeper (borderline philosophical) discussion about connecting movie violence to societal violence.

In other words, the interviewer "picked the wrong time and place" to question (and question and question) Tarantino on that topic.  He should have realized that he was engaging a business-oriented director, and not a social commentator.  

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

@Heian @mrbomb13 

Actually, it's neither.

That interviewer was going for a "Gotcha!" question, and was clearly trying to set Tarantino up for a Lose/Lose Situation (all the while pulling in viewers for the network).  

To borrow a baseball analogy, Tarantino knew better than to attempt "swinging" at a pitch that was clearly aimed for his head.  Instead, he caught the ball, and hurled it back at the pitcher/interviewer.

Seriously, what else would you have expected him to do?  The interviewer was trying to degrade Tarantino's film.  The film has been wildly successful, and rebutted the racial-driven critics (read: Spike Lee, Al Sharpton).  Tarantino knew he was selling a popular product, so he had no reason to play nice-nice with the interviewer.

So, while my comment is neither sarcastic or ignorant, it is realistic.  The liberal media attempts to play the "YOU'RE A RACIST/POLITICALLY INCORRECT" card, and gets called out by a guy with a titanium pair of cojones.  What would you expect?

LeAnneKatz
LeAnneKatz

Loved it. Loved QT's position and the stand he took on his position. Didn't think his responses were bizarre.Yes Guru-Murthy WAS asking the same tired question that filmmakers have been asked for well over 50 years and being very persistent about it. And No QT doesn't have to answer it over and over again.   I personally would have used fewer words... said essentially "I'm tired of that question. Let's move on" as many times as it took for Guru-Murthy to finally got it... but then that's just me. 

janeem
janeem like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I couldn't disagree more. You can't continually make violent movies and not answer questions about that violence in NEWS program interviews,  just because you've 'answered those questions before' - how lame. If he has an opinion that he's ok with why not just say it - who cares if he's repeating himself - he does that in the theme of his movies all the time!. Control freak.

ColinSenhouse
ColinSenhouse

@janeem why is it ALWAYS Quentin Tarantino has to be the whipping boy for some people's disgust with movie violence?   He has enthusiastically explained his reasons over and over, during the last twenty years. Scapegoating him is quite lazy and ridiculous.I hope that same British NEWS person was as equally "probing" with Sam Mendes (Skyfall) and Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Rises) about the showing of violence in their movies (I can argue which are even MORE disturbing than Tarantino's movie.) 

MikeWilliamsk
MikeWilliamsk

@janeem Whats the point in reporting on something that already been reported?  Like he said "Google him." He is there to sell his movie. Starting a debate on the heavy subject of violence will easily deter people from it light of the current issues of America. Also you think the "news" is some importance? Check your sources kiddo, its all about the gatekeeper.

janeem
janeem

@MikeWilliamsk @janeem   Kiddo...?! How patronising! Way to have a civilized debate! He's there just to sell his movie? Then how come he has such a commentary on slavery, and why does he take pride in - as he calls it - opening up a debate on slavery. I guess for him it's ok to have a debate on the heavy subject of slavery, but not on the 'heavy subject of violence' as you call it. It's easy to say its just a movie when it suits you.  Yes - the type of show he's on is important - this isn't Entertainment Tonight and the conversation isn't going to be about who's wearing what  - do your research (and maybe Tarantino should have done his) Guru-Murthy is a news journalist and anchor - he's going to ask 'heavy' questions - if Tarantino didn't want to answer them, he shouldn't have gone on the show!

GabiHoover
GabiHoover like.author.displayName 1 Like

Tarantino rules... That's such a good example of bad journalism and bad interview. Agreed with @duyn9uyen . 

duyn9uyen
duyn9uyen like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

What a dump and luring interview question.  Krishnan Guru-Murthy was definitely trying to get a "bite." It's cinema! Movies have ratings. It is the responsibility of the viewer or parent, to choose what to watch or what not to watch.  If every artist had to censor themselves or be a moral role model, there would be no freedom of speech or expression.

Heian
Heian

@duyn9uyen It's a contextual question. I don't know why people want softball questions to be lobbed during an interview. There are many ways that prepared question could have been more aggressively phrased to tempt a "bite".