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Quentin Tarantino Planning 'Inglourious Basterds' Spin-Off 'Killer Crow,' Says He "Hates" John Ford

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by Oliver Lyttelton
December 27, 2012 11:37 AM
47 Comments
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Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is now in theaters (and doing pretty damn well for an R-rated Western), but the outspoken director is still on the publicity circuit, and as ever, he's causing a stir wherever he goes. The film is causing furious debate thanks to its subject matter (Tarantino's old adversary Spike Lee weighing in most recently), and now the director has laid into one of cinephiles' most sacred cows, in the form of legendary Western director John Ford.

In an excellent, extensive interview with Henry Louis Gates Jr. of The Root (via Movieline), Tarantino talks about his dislike of D.W. Griffith's "Birth Of A Nation," saying "it really can only stand next to 'Mein Kampf' when it comes to just its ugly imagery," and explains that Ford's role as an extra in the silent epic inspired a scene in "Django Unchained." "Oddly enough, where I got the idea for the Klan guys [in 'Django Unchained']," he told Gates, "as you may well know, director John Ford was one of the Klansmen in 'The Birth of a Nation,' so I even speculate in [an as-yet-unfinished article he's written]: Well, John Ford put on a Klan uniform for D.W. Griffith. What was that about? What did that take? He can't say he didn't know the material. Everybody knew 'The Clansman' at that time as a piece of material... And yet he put on the Klan uniform. He got on the horse. He rode hard to black subjugation. As I'm writing this -- and he rode hard, and I'm sure the Klan hood was moving all over his head as he was riding and he was riding blind -- I'm thinking, wow. That probably was the case. How come no one's ever thought of that before? Five years later, I'm writing the scene and all of a sudden it comes out."

And then he continues, more specifically about Ford, "One of my American Western heroes is not John Ford, obviously. To say the least, I hate him. Forget about faceless Indians he killed like zombies. It really is people like that that kept alive this idea of Anglo-Saxon humanity compared to everybody else's humanity -- and the idea that that's hogwash is a very new idea in relative terms. And you can see it in the cinema in the '30s and '40s -- it's still there. And even in the '50s."

Tarantino has a point, but it's certainly a surprise to see him publicly attack a filmmaker who's so often named as one of the very greatest in the history of the medium. We certainly wouldn't dispute the points that Tarantino raises here, but we'd also perhaps suggest that Ford's views may have evolved over time; one of his final films, "Cheyenne Autumn," was described by Ford as an 'elegy' to Native Americans, and something of an apologia for the way they'd been treated in his earlier pictures. We wonder what Spike Lee thinks of the whole thing...

Away from Tarantino's views on other filmmakers, he's suggested that there might be more button-pushing material to come, hinting at a closing part of his "Inglourious Basterds"/"Django Unchained" trilogy, named "Killer Crow," focusing on African-American soldiers during World War Two, and made up of material excised from 'Basterds.'

The director tells Gates "There's something about this that would suggest a trilogy. My original idea for 'Inglourious Basterds' way back when was that this [would be] a huge story that included the [smaller] story that you saw in the film, but also followed a bunch of black troops, and they had been f--ked over by the American military and kind of go apes--t. They basically -- the way Lt. Aldo Raines and the Basterds are having an "Apache resistance" -- [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland... I was going to do it as a miniseries, and that was going to be one of the big storylines. When I decided to try to turn it into a movie, that was a section I had to take out to help tame my material. I have most of that written. It's ready to go; I just have to write the second half of it... That would be the third of the trilogy. It would be [connected to] 'Inglourious Basterds,' too, because Inglourious Basterds are in it, but it is about the soldiers. It would be called 'Killer Crow' or something like that."

The director's hinted at a potential trilogy before, and separately at this second WW2 movie, but naming the film as "Killer Crow," which would be set in 1944, after the Normandy invasion, is the first serious detail we've heard about it tying into this trilogy, and seems to suggest that there'll be returning roles for Brad Pitt, Eli Roth and the rest of the Basterds. The indication is that it wouldn't be his next film -- that could be a 1930s-set gangster tale -- but it's intriguing to know that Tarantino is planning a project that seems to fall at the exact midway point between his last two pictures.

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47 Comments

  • Red Allover | March 2, 2013 4:58 PMReply

    John Ford fought racism in person and in his films. See for yourself.
    FORT APACHE(1948) was a pro-Indian Western three years before the first recognized in this genre, BROKEN ARROW.
    Similarly, years before Sidney Poitier and IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT, Ford made the great Woody Strode the star of SERGEANT RUTLEDGE(1960)!

    RUTLEDGE (1960), his tribute to the African USd Cavalry "bufallo soldiers."

  • DRDR | February 9, 2013 9:55 AMReply

    Django is not art. At its best it is still nothing more than a glorified B movie. That said, I do agree that it was the most entertaining film of 2012. Sadly that's not saying much about the current state of cinema.

  • Ava T. | January 24, 2013 1:21 AMReply

    I completely agree with Quentin Tarantino regarding John Ford's westerns. They are hideous advertisements for white Europeans slaughtering an entire native population. Ford's films are virulently anti-Indian. His movies are filled with mockery of native people and customs. Ford isn't all that kind to blacks either. Ford's films are also poorly acted, especially the awful John Wayne. The director let him get away with too much hammy stuff. Ford's movies may look good, although they are stupid in terms of locale. No one ever lived in Monument Valley. Humans can't subsist there. "The Searchers" is especially repulsive, a pack of lies about Native Americans. It's a racist tract, a grotesque attempt to depict native peoples as savages and perpetuate the white man's vision of Indians as animals. IT WAS THEIR LAND FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Shame on both Johns, Ford and Wayne. And high praise for Tarantino.

  • Alexandra | January 22, 2013 8:21 AMReply

    Quentin and his heavy dose of white liberal guilt. Yawn.
    He knows how to play the game.

  • Jeff Heise | January 18, 2013 11:23 AMReply

    QT hates John Ford....he considers him a racist for being an extra in BIRTH OF A NATION...does that mean that EVERYONE connected to that film is also racist? So Lillian Gish, Karl Brown, Erich Von Stroheim, Donald Crisp and all the people who were involved in that film were RACIST? I think Quentin needs to examine race relations at the time of that film's making and realize that, to many people in 1915, BOAN was considered mainstream, and that only a vocal minority protested the film and had any authority to do something about it at the time. I admire the film and its technical brilliance-I loathe the racism in it and some of the acting is over-the-top, but if you have the intellect to keep the film in a historical context while watching it, you can see why so many people reacted the way they did and why it was perhaps the most successful film of the silent era.

    I would also love to see what Tarantino's opinions of THE SEARCHERS, CHEYENNE AUTUMN and SHE WORE A YELLOW RIBBON are-if he has even seen them or would be willing to take the time. Ford's attitude towards Native Americans in those films is a lot more progressive than QT gives Ford credit for, and if you are going to hate a director's films, go for Uwe Boll....

  • Helgi | January 6, 2013 6:58 PMReply

    Can someone stop this bubblemouth who thinks he is Oola the sungod?

  • Brian | January 2, 2013 12:16 PMReply

    I'm a huge fan of Tarantino and I consider John Ford one of the five greatest filmmakers ever. But Ford had an incredibly paternal attitude toward blacks. It's a problem in films like JUDGE PRIEST and its 20-year later remake/reboot/revamp, THE SUN SHINES BRIGHT. Yes, he made the first film about the black cavalry, SERGEANT RUTLEDGE (1960), but in THE MAN WHO SHOT LIBERTY VALANCE, two years later, John Wayne introduces Woody Strode, who plays his servant, as "my boy, Pompey." In 1962, while civil rights battles were being fought with great violence in the South, it wouldn't have been such a bad idea to change the line to "my man" or "my hired man" or something, would it? I think it's fair to call Ford out on this issue, although I would be happier if Tarantino were to also acknowledge Ford's more thoughtful treatment of the White-Indian conflict in films like FORT APACHE, THE SEARCHERS, TWO RODE TOGETHER and CHEYENNE AUTUMN.

  • purplerain | January 2, 2013 6:30 AMReply

    QT's keepin' it real like always. He ain't dissin' Ford the director just the man's personal beliefs. He's entitled to his opinions just like anybody else.

    PS Pulp Fiction is NOT as good as Jackie Brown. Don't believe all the hype! :)

  • SAMPFFFFFF | December 31, 2012 8:46 PMReply

    Apologia is ancient Greek for "defense". I think you meant apology.

  • JP | December 30, 2012 9:30 PMReply

    I like some of Tarantino's films, but in most of his interviews, he's insufferable. Here, he's just plain ignorant. Really, John Ford just killed off Native Americans like they were zombies? I'll have to give "Fort Apache," "The Searchers" and all of Ford's pictures another look, because apparently that's all Ford intended to show - any ambiguities or complexities in those films must've been illusory, unlike the subtleties of "Django Unchained."

  • John Ford | December 30, 2012 3:11 AMReply

    I don't like him either.....

  • Whodatninja | December 29, 2012 8:41 PMReply

    Although one may not agree with Tarantino's point of view, you have to admire the balls to call out sacred cows on their past b.s. and shortcomings. Tarantino surely has a enough weight as an Oscar winner, Oscar nominee, acclaimed filmmaker and popular culture icon to be allowed to voice his opinion...volatile as it is.

  • Drof | December 29, 2012 9:27 AMReply

    I love John Ford and Hate Tarantino. I think Tarantino's movies do more to stir racial tension than anything Ford directed or acted in.
    It's a bologna statement from a purveyor of video game caliber entertainment. Tarantino can go fuck himself.

  • David Summers | January 1, 2013 7:19 PM

    Video Game calibur entertainment?! What's that supposed to mean, considering video games are some of the best forms of entertainment in the market today?

  • Ryan Oliver | December 28, 2012 3:41 PMReply

    While I don't always agree with motormouth Tarantino - even though he is one of my top three filmmakers - it must be pointed out that he said that he hated John Ford as a person, he said nothing about the quality of his films or his filmmaking, he only commented on racist undertones in his film and Ford being a Klansman in "Birth of a Nation." You can hate the filmmaker all you want, and still like SOME of their films. I despise Spike Lee, but I think "Do The Right Thing" and "25th Hour" are undisputedly great. And I hate, hate, hate Michael Bay with every inch of my soul, but I can't help but enjoy "The Rock" and, to some degree, "The Island."

  • Rayne | December 28, 2012 2:16 PMReply

    Mr. T is correct about John Ford's racist oeuvre. There is no question that Ford was a racist and to think otherwise is naive and misinformed. T is a provocateur with post-modern cinematic style both intentionally and unintentionally. Spike Lee has made some of my favourite films but he has to chill - for anyone to say they hate a film without even seeing it undermines their own argument. We need T. to challenge the mainstream and academic circles so that American cinema can create a revisionist historical approach to American History. T. films are not meant to be seen as historical reproductions of a period but rather a creative thought experiment on slavery that is rarely shown in film. Django is simultaneously both entertainment and art.

  • amo | January 14, 2013 11:47 PM

    This is really worth a read, if you haven't: "The Margin as Center: The Multicultural Dynamics of John Ford's Westerns." http://bit.ly/RVgtDF

  • rufus | December 28, 2012 5:32 AMReply

    Ford is an American Master. Often working under considerable studio budget restraints & interference, he produced works of often breathtaking beauty. While he has often been rightfully criticized for being overly sentimental, he could also illustrate scenes of injustice that moved audiences.

    T has his own cultish followers...but so do many 'outrageous' directors (such as Ken Russell). When his output exceeds 10 movies, he can put on his big boy pants and be taken seriously.

  • rufus | December 28, 2012 5:21 AMReply

    Quent's entire catalog isn't worth as much as Ford's jockstrap. Ever tried to sit through the painfully boring scenes in "Death Proof"? Tarantino has a gift, but like Stephen King, he hasn't ever grown up enough to edit himself. So many of his scenes come across as self-indulgent, bloated crap (Kill Bill would have been a fantastic single movie instead of two flawed, overly-long visions of excess). Tarantino needs to give specific examples of his objections to Ford's depiction of Indians rather than a generic condemnation and that stupid complaint about Ford appearing in BOAN. What a conceited idiot (the same fool who opined that he might give up directing because of the move to digital in theaters). I enjoy (most) of his movies, but he is like a talented kid who has been turned loose in the candy store with no one to tell him when he's pooping in his pants. If he were directing "Stagecoach", he'd digress during the scene in which Indians attack the coach to show the backstory of several members of the tribe.

  • Dizzy | December 29, 2012 11:23 AM

    "he is like a talented kid who has been turned loose in the candy store..."

    ...Don't understand the strange "pooping" bit which follows in this nonsensical analogy... but congratulations: it *appears* you understand why people love Quentin Tarantino.

    "If he were directing "Stagecoach", he'd digress during the scene in which Indians attack the coach to show the backstory of several members of the tribe."

    ...And? Just what would be wrong with that directorial decision to involve the viewers more into the scene? It's kind of clear why you're a fan of Ford; you sound about as racist as him, as apparently it would bother you to have to endure character details of characters you've, for some reason, already deemed inferior or unworthy of such inspection. "A pack of wild Indians attacks stagechoach" furthers the plot along more than sufficiently for your tastes, I see.

    fyi Quentin never attacked Ford's ability. He called him a racist. Can you defend that accusation? Or are you fine to continue wasting space on the internet? Pooping when no one's yelled "Poop".

  • alish | December 28, 2012 2:10 PM

    Why is his complaint about Ford appearing in BOAN stupid?

  • BillD | December 28, 2012 3:41 AMReply

    QT, You are TRIPPING!
    I know of course you want the press to make a big deal that you are dissing John Ford.
    You are smoking crack though, John Ford kicks your ass in every single way.
    I enjoyed Pulp Fiction but dude you are no John Ford, not even in the same league. Sorry bro.
    You know it and it probably pisses you off, Mr. Ego man.

  • David | December 28, 2012 2:38 AMReply

    Tarantino is right on. And Im ure alot of Native Americans would disagree with both the writer of this article and stephenM on whether Fords movies especially "The Searchers" was a critique on racism. You have your opinion but unless your at least half native American it really doesnt count for much in this particular conversation. Same as I don't feel whites have anything to say about whether or not quentin disrespected the african american community in this latest movie.

  • StephenM | December 27, 2012 11:05 PMReply

    I love Tarantino's movies, and most of the time his opinions of other movies are quite interesting, but in this case he's way off. He doesn't seem to have seen John Ford's The Sun Shines Bright or Sergeant Rutledge or Cheyenne Autumn, or for that matter thought very hard about Judge Priest, Fort Apache, The Searchers, or Two Rode Together, every single one of which is a critique of racism. And half his other movies are critiques of other sorts of prejudice. . . . . . . When The Birth of a Nation came out in 1915, John Ford was about 19 years old. And yes, he acted as an actor in the film. But let's not pin the racism of that film on a man who would go on making movies for another 50 years and profess many, many times his own abhorrence of prejudice--it's unfair, inaccurate, and simply bad movie criticism.

  • StephenM | December 27, 2012 11:06 PM

    *acted as an *extra*, not an actor, sorry

  • m | December 27, 2012 9:11 PMReply

    Slowly going from fav of my generation to the point where I don't know if I want to watch as badly. You know when a coach out coaches himself? That is what Tarantino does to himself, Tarantino really likes himself some Tarantino!

  • Max Myers | December 27, 2012 5:27 PMReply

    Tarantino is, for me, the greatest filmmaker to have emerged in the last 20 years. Don't like his art, simple, don't watch it.

  • rufus | December 28, 2012 5:22 AM

    You need to watch more films.

  • rob | December 27, 2012 5:13 PMReply

    dear quentin: please stop. just please stop. you are not edgy or interesting or nearly as smart as you wish you where.

  • Yod | December 28, 2012 11:44 AM

    Funniest post I've read in ages. Read what you just wrote.

  • Lars | December 27, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    Bah! QT is always talking about sequels to this and that which never come to light. I'm still waiting on the Vega Brothers, Quentin!

  • Lars | December 27, 2012 3:49 PMReply

    Bah! QT is always talking about sequels to this and that which never come to light. I'm still waiting on the Vega Brothers, Quentin!

  • Lars | December 27, 2012 3:47 PMReply

    Bah! QT is always talking about sequels to this and that which never come to light. I'm still waiting on the Vega Brothers, Quentin!

  • Broomhilda | December 27, 2012 2:49 PMReply

    Django was easily one of the best films of 2012, if not the best. It was a visceral, entertaining, ironic, and thought-provoking western that broke new ground. The performances were incredible. I saw a packed, late night screening and the audience, which was made up of a mix of ethnicities, broke out into rapturous applause when the film finished. Django is both a critical and financial success and is already gathering heat on the awards circuit. Tarantino haters need to face the fact that QT will go down in cinematic history next to the likes of Kubrick, Kurosawa, Wilder, Allen, and Hitchcock.

  • rufus | December 28, 2012 5:26 AM

    Surely you jest. You're just trying to be a provocateur...no sane film fan would compare T to any of the geniuses cited. T is great at imitating and producing mash-ups of his fav genres, but he isn't original at all. Just sayin' (and I'm a fan of his movies).

  • james | December 27, 2012 1:52 PMReply

    Jamie Foxx should give Clint Eastwood his hat back. It's too big for his pointed head.

  • Zware | December 27, 2012 12:49 PMReply

    Uh his he serious? Did he watch Django? Where he reverted every white person to a stereotype, and killed them all like "zombies," not to mention somehow be offensive to black people as well (the n-word is uttered over 100 times). Tarantino is a hack who is at his best when he's stealing other superior artists source material and commercializing them, then he has the balls to call John ford out? Tarantino couldn't and hasn't directed one film as good as anything Ford has done, go F--- yourself and learn how to do something original and tonally consistent

  • dickie | December 27, 2012 10:29 PM

    Cock.

  • V | December 27, 2012 7:25 PM

    I'm wondering if YOU watched Django at all honestly, it was probably the truest portrayal of slavery ever put on film.

  • DG | December 27, 2012 12:35 PMReply

    Also it's pretty fuckng redundant to hear him taking up issue with another filmmakers work based on moral grounds. His work does the EXACT same thing, he just manipulates the audience ahead of time. This more than anything is what I find shaky about about his movies and his peers (Eli Roth) movies, the notion that you can show any manner of terrible thing happening to a person as long as you really make the audience hate them first. I'm not saying every movie needs to have some kind of standardized moral compass to guide it or even any moral compass at all (Django does not) but if your movie doesn't, don't critize others on those grounds. Also, last thing, all the mountains scape cinematography in Django is gorgeous and Christophe Waltz was amazing in it. That is all.

  • hey | December 27, 2012 12:29 PMReply

    What the fuck is up with Tarantino's breathing? He sounds like he's going to die in that interview.

  • james | December 27, 2012 1:50 PM

    That breathing is the result of too much cocaine.

  • DG | December 27, 2012 12:27 PMReply

    I'm getting pretty tired of hearing this dude talk. Django wasn't the worst film ever but it did absolutely nothing his previous movies haven't already done. Dude is a good writer, a little showy but witty, I just want to see himdosomething different. No more genre revenge stories, get out of the comfort zone a bit.

  • PaulRevere2013 | December 27, 2012 12:14 PMReply

    This movie is disrespectful to both black and white Americans. Quentin Tarantino produces nothing more than pornography. Don't pay to watch it, if you must see it download it for free.

  • dickie | December 27, 2012 10:33 PM

    Fag.

  • Ron | December 27, 2012 12:27 PM

    As a black man, NOPE ! I don't take any offence to it, at all. Period.

  • Daniel | December 27, 2012 12:13 PMReply

    Tarantino is crazier than a shithouse rat. He's also a genius. It's nice to see a perfect combination of the two. I love this guy.

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