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Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction (1994)Via IMDb

Read an early interview conducted by a 20-year-old Quentin Tarantino

In 1982, ten years before he made his directorial debut with Reservoir Dogs, the filmmaker sat down with Apocalypse Now co-writer John Milius

Quentin Tarantino may be one of the most famous filmmakers of all time, but back in 1982, he was just another 20-year-old hoping to get into the film industry. However, unlike many of his peers, the young Tarantino somehow managed to score an interview with Apocalypse Now co-writer John Milius, the transcript of which has just been published online.

“This interview with writer-director John Milius was conducted when I was 20 years old (and boy does it show),” Tarantino wrote in an introduction on LA’s New Beverly Cinema’s website. “The last film he had done at the time was Conan the Barbarian. I just called up his assistant and told her I was writing a book, and she set me up with an interview with him. I met with him twice for the interview. The first time was in his office on the Paramount lot. The second time was on the set of the film Uncommon Valor, which he was producing.”

Tarantino adds that in 1995, “before the Academy Awards”, he was taken duck hunting by Milius, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis. “John and I sat in a duck blind all day, sipping whiskey out of a flask, talking about movies and shooting the tail feathers off of the ducks.”

In the subsequent interview transcript – which Tarantino says is “only part of it”, adding that he’ll transcribe more at a later date – the two filmmakers discuss Milius’ oeuvre. “Starting off, I’d like you to know, The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean is my favourite screenplay,” opens Tarantino. Milius replies: “Gee, thank you. I really like that too. I hope you read my screenplay. The screenplay is much, much better than the movie.”

As the interview goes on, the pair discuss Milius’ nickname, Mr Macho, which he acquired in reference to his “high-octane” body of work, which, according to film critic Leonard Maltin, is “populated by characters whose political leanings would not win them positions in Bill Clinton’s cabinet”. Though, speaking to Tarantino, Milius asserts that he’s a “hopeless romantic… above everything else”, adding that all his movies are “filled with rapid romanticism”.

Later, Milius says a sentence that Tarantino reveals he later used as an exact line in Pulp Fiction. “If people are loyal to each other, that’s very meaningful.” The scene in question sees hitman Vincent Vega (played by John Travolta) speaking to himself in the mirror after excusing himself from Marsellus Wallace’s wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) after their ‘date’. 

Tarantino recently announced that he’s considering writing a novel adaptation of his 2019 film, Once Upon A Time in Hollywood. The director previously revealed that he’s directing a spin-off of the film, set around its fictitious TV show, Bounty Law, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Rick Dalton as gunslinger Jake Cahill – an actor playing an actor playing an actor!

Read the full transcript here.