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Good and Brad

Superstar claims he hasn’t read a review in ages and has his own ‘gauge’ to judge films

By Amit Roy

  • Published 2.08.19, 3:29 AM
  • Updated 2.08.19, 3:29 AM
Brad Pitt in a scene from the film.
Brad Pitt in a scene from the film. (AP)

Brad Pitt claims he has not read a review of one of his own films, good or bad, for nearly 20 years. He made the remark at the premiere of Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood, in London’s Leicester Square, on Tuesday.

“Truthfully I haven’t read a review since, I don’t know, ’02,” he said.

“But I have my own gauge and I think it’s a pretty damn good film. I’m really proud to be a part of it.

“Any time you work with Tarantino you know it’s going to be something fresh and original.”

There might be another reason why he has avoided the papers. Angelina Jolie has given him a rough time since she filed for divorce in 2016.

He might also have picked up something of the utter contempt for the press shown by Tarantino, who routinely gets enraged when asked by journalists to justify the violence in his films or his treatment of women.

In 2013, for example, Tarantino “clashed with Channel 4 News anchor Krishnan Guru-Murthy during a fractious interview ahead of the London premiere of his film, Django Unchained. The Oscar-winning filmmaker repeatedly refused to offer an opinion on the link between screen violence and true-life violence and at one point told Guru-Murthy: ‘I’m shutting your butt down.’ “

In Tarantino’s latest movie, Pitt, 55, stars alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, 44, in the portrayal of ’60s Hollywood, set against the backdrop of the notorious Charles Manson murders in 1969.

Leonardo plays Rick Dalton, an actor with a slight off-screen stammer who had his own Western TV series in the 1950s, but now, after an ill-advised attempt to break into the movies, has to content himself with guest spots as “the heavy” in younger actors’ series.

His best friend, played by Brad with a John Wayne drawl, is Cliff Booth, his stunt double in the 1950s TV show, and now his driver and all-purpose assistant.

The third main character is a real person. Mixing fact with fiction, as he did in Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino includes Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), a radiant blonde starlet who has just moved in next door to Rick with her husband Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha).

Ahead of the film’s world premiere in Cannes, The Guardian had commented on “the presence of Tarantino himself, back at the festival that has done more than any other to burnish his reputation as one of filmmaking’s most recognisable, not to mention controversial figures”.

Quentin Tarantino and wife Daniela Pick (extreme right) at the premiere.
Quentin Tarantino and wife Daniela Pick (extreme right) at the premiere. (AP)

Tarantino made his Cannes debut 25 years with Pulp Fiction. It is worth noting that although Bollywood actresses preen and pout on the red carpet, their films never make the cut. In marked contrast, the festival authorities will do anything to get entries from Hollywood despite criticism of the content.

“Actors including Busy Phillips and Jessica Chastain have also criticised the sexual violence found in many of Tarantino’s films,” The Guardian continued.

“Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood maintains many of the director’s longstanding preoccupations: stylised violence, genre elements, rat-a-tat dialogue and a period soundtrack.

“(Sharon) Tate was murdered in 1969 by Charles Manson’s acolytes, and so the tension in the film comes from our awareness that, in some way or other, Tarantino is eventually going to address that horrific tragedy.”

After the press screening, there was a news conference where Tarantino snapped at New York Times reporter Farah Nayeri who had annoyed the director by asking why Margot, playing Tate, had not been given more to say in his latest film.

“I reject your hypothesis,” responded the scowling Tarantino, who shuts down any interview in which he is asked about his almost gratuitous use of violence.

Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood was released in US cinemas on July 26, with a UK release due on August 14. Even with bad reviews it would be a smash hit simply because the director is Tarantino. But Peter Bradshaw, who gave it five stars in his Guardian review, said “it’s shocking, gripping, dazzlingly shot in the celluloid-primary colours of sky blue and sunset gold.

“Quite simply, I just defy anyone with red blood in their veins not to respond to the crazy bravura of Tarantino’s film-making, not to be bounced around the auditorium at the moment-by-moment enjoyment that this movie delivers - and conversely, of course, to shudder at the horror and cruelty and its hallucinatory aftermath.”

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