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'Pulp Fiction in space': What will Quentin Tarantino's 10th and final film be?


And then there was one.

With the release Friday of Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood , his ninth film, writer-director Quentin Tarantino has just one title left before he shuts the doors on his movie career.

In 2016, Tarantino, now 56, emphatically confirmed he would retire after he finished his 10th film.

“I’m planning on stopping at 10. So it’ll be two more,” Tarantino said from the stage of the 2016 Jerusalem Film Festival . His reasoning? He didn’t want to have any blemishes on his oeuvre.

And during his recent press tour for Once Upon a Time , he’s been doubling down on his claims.

“I think when it comes to theatrical movies, I’ve come to the end of the road,” he said in a recent interview with GQ Australia . “I see myself writing books and starting to write theatre, so I’ll still be creative. I just think I’ve given all I have to give to movies.”

He’s even suggested that Once Upon a Time could be his last.

“If it’s really well received, maybe I won’t go to 10,” he said. “Maybe I’ll stop right now! Maybe I’ll stop while I’m ahead. We’ll see.”

The film is an unabashed throwback to the Golden Age of Tinseltown, with Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt starring as an over-the-hill TV actor, Rick Dalton, and his stunt double, Cliff Booth, trying to make their way in a changing town. Margot Robbie plays their next door neighbour, Sharon Tate, the rising starlet who was murdered by followers of Charles Manson.

The all-star cast also includes Al Pacino, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Kurt Russell, Lena Dunham and the late Luke Perry.

“In Hollywood, there are people with great success and great failure and medium potential — will they ever live up to their potential? — living right next to each other, in this case literally. It’s just right there,” he said in an interview with IndieWire .

“Sharon and (her husband) Roman (Polanski) represent the new Hollywood, and Rick is notably not part of it. He doesn’t understand it. He was taught that the way to be a leading man was the audience had to like you.

“If he was offered Joe Buck (Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy ), he would turn it down. He’d walk out of Easy Rider in the first 10 minutes! If he was offered Straw Dogs : ‘I’m not going to play that little wimp!’ ”

The film premiered to rave reviews at May’s Cannes Film Festival. Afterwards, he hinted he still wasn’t finished tinkering, revealing that an early cut ran four hours and 20 minutes. There was talk he wanted to put more back in (the final cut of 161 minutes runs two minutes longer than the Cannes cut).

The 10-and-done retirement plan has been at the back of Tarantino’s mind for at least five years.

“I don’t believe you should stay onstage until people are begging you to get off,” he told Deadline in 2014. “I like the idea of leaving them wanting a bit more. I do think directing is a young man’s game, and I like the idea of an umbilical cord connection from my first to my last movie. I’m not trying to ridicule anyone who thinks differently, but I want to go out while I’m still hard. … I like that I will leave a 10-film filmography … If I get to the 10th, do a good job and don’t screw it up, well that sounds like a good way to end the old career. If, later on, I come across a good movie, I won’t not do it just because I said I wouldn’t. But 10 and done, leaving them wanting more — that sounds right.”

Pitt says the director is serious. “No, I don’t think he’s bluffing at all,” he said in the same GQ interview.

So what could the 10th movie be? There’s talk of an R-rated Star Trek. Then there’s Bond. In the mid-2000s, Tarantino was being eyed to helm Casino Royale and after next year’s Bond 25, producers will likely be looking for a fresh face (and a new director) to put a different stamp on the franchise. Of course, who wouldn’t want to see Kill Bill 3 ?

Maybe it’s all a ruse. Tarantino might get to film No. 10 and then decide he’s had a change of heart. When he talked about his retirement plan, he did offer one caveat.

“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.”

We’ll have to wait and see what the future holds for the Oscar winner. In the meantime, let’s ponder the possibilities.

Star Trek

After the release of 2016’s Star Trek: Beyond , Tarantino hatched an idea for an R-rated mission for the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Producer J.J. Abrams and Paramount signed off on his concept and a script (from Revenant scribe Mark L. Smith) now exists.

Simon Pegg, who plays chief engineer Montgomery Scott in the rebooted series, told the Sun that the story has “been put in the bank.”

“I think he had us in mind when he came up with the idea — he likes the new cast. But he’s going to be so busy … that I can’t see him doing it for five or six years, by which time we might be too old anyway.”

In a recent interview with CinemaBlend , Tarantino edged the door open to the possibility of directing Trek and making that his final film.

“I guess I do have a loophole, (if) the idea was to throw a loophole into it. Which would be (to go), ‘Uhhh, I guess Star Trek doesn’t count. I can do Star Trek … but naturally I would end on an original.’ But the idea of doing 10 isn’t to come up with a loophole. I actually think, if I was going to do Star Trek, I should commit to it. It’s my last movie. There should be nothing left handed about it. I don’t know if I’m going to do that, but that might happen.”

In a separate interview with Deadline last week, Tarantino said his Star Trek would be like Pulp Fiction in space.

“If I do it, that’s exactly what it’ll be. It’ll be Pulp Fiction in space. That Pulp Fiction -y aspect, when I read the script, I felt, I have never read a science fiction movie that has this s— in it, ever. There’s no science fiction movie that has this in it. And they said, I know, that’s why we want to make it. It’s, at the very least, unique in that regard.”

James Bond

In the ‘90s, Tarantino wanted to jump into the franchise pool by taking on 007. First he tried to acquire the rights to Casino Royale , then he pitched his idea to former Bond Pierce Brosnan over a flurry of martinis.

He envisioned an adventure that would be shot in black and white set in the ‘50s and ‘60s.

It was deemed “unfilmable,” but with a Bond reboot on the distant horizon when current star Daniel Craig hands in his licence to kill, Tarantino might just be the perfect director to help usher in a new star.

The Vega Brothers

This is an oldie and, once upon a time, it sounded like a dandy. After the release of Pulp Fiction in 1994, Tarantino eyed a Pulp Fiction / Reservoir Dogs mash-up that would have seen Michael Madsen’s character in Reservoir Dogs , Vic Vega, and his fictional brother, Vincent Vega, John Travolta’s character in Pulp Fiction , starring in their own film.

“Quentin was going to make a film called The Vega Brothers,” Madsen recalled in an interview with the Hollywood Reporter last year. “And I said: Quentin, we’re both dead. We both get killed in those movies. He said: well, it’s a prequel. And I said: you know, John and I don’t really look that young anymore, I don’t think it’s going to work. So he said: OK, I’ve got a better idea. So now he told me the scenario of The Vega Brothers, but it was so complicated I can’t explain it.”

Tarantino opened up about the idea in an interview with the film blog So Is It Any Good? when he was promoting 2015’s The Hateful Eight .

“I did think about the idea of the Vega brothers, taking place before the movies when like Vin was in Amsterdam and his brother Vic/Mr. Blonde comes and visits him, and their adventures.”

That story might be down at the bottom of the barrel of things Tarantino might still consider revisiting, but it sounds like something I’d still plunk down $13.50 to see.

A Marvel film

Now that Marvel boss Kevin Feige has tied a nice tidy bow on the Infinity Saga with the release this summer of Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home , the MCU will shoot off in different directions. So wouldn’t it be nice to see Tarantino put his stamp on cinema’s most dominant genre? It’s not like he’s totally opposed to superhero films either.

“I’ve been reading comic books since I was a kid, and I’ve had my own Marvel Universe obsessions for years,” Tarantino admitted in an interview with Vulture way back in 2015. “So I don’t really have a problem with the whole superhero thing right now, except I wish I didn’t have to wait until my 50s for this to be the dominant genre.”

He even has a favourite flick when it comes to Marvel — Thor: Ragnarok .

“I loved it,” he told Empire in a recent interview. “It was my favourite one of the series since The Avengers — drastically my favourite.”

Kill Bill Vol. 3

Way back in 2004, Tarantino told Entertainment Weekly of his plan to pick up the story 15 years later after the events of the first movie with Nikki, the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s Vernita Green, seeking revenge against Uma Thurman’s Beatrix Kiddo, aka the woman who killed her mom.

“I need at least 15 years before I do this again,” Tarantino said at the time. “I’ve already got the whole mythology: Sofie Fatale will get all of Bill’s money. She’ll raise Nikki, who’ll take on The Bride. Nikki deserves her revenge every bit as much as The Bride deserved hers.”

Would he dust this idea off and close the circle?

“I’m not committing to it, but I wouldn’t be surprised if The Bride made one more appearance before the whole thing is said and done,” he told Variety in 2015. “I am talking to Uma about it just a little bit. Some of the stuff that I’d written that never made it into the movie that maybe I could use.”

So maybe he’d just write it and let someone else direct? A loophole that would let him close the circle once and for all. Only time will tell.

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood opens Friday, July 26

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