Quentin Tarantino is well known for his brutally violent films. When you think about movies like Django Unchained, Inglorious Bastards and Pulp Fiction, it would be easy to assume that Tarantino has an affinity for violence at his core. To the contrary, Quentin recently spoke out against police brutality at a rally in New York just two weeks ago. The rhetoric he used was full of conviction and passion. When asked what he was doing at the rally, he replied:
"I'm a human being with a conscience. And if you believe there's murder going on then you need to rise up and stand up against it. I'm here to say I'm on the side of the murdered."
The Spark Heard Around The Country
Tarantino's declaration of his position on this issue has sparked an equally charged response by police unions throughout the US. In protest, many of these organizations are boycotting his latest film, The Hateful Eight, set to hit theaters this Christmas. This includes the largest union in the country, the Fraternal Order of Police, standing 330,000 members strong. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, executive director Jim Pasco gave Quentin a very cryptic warning. He stated:
“Something could happen anytime between now and (the premiere). And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable. The right time and place will come up and we’ll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that’s economically.”
Needless to say, Tarantino's words have fueled a fire that will continue to gain the attention of the public in the time leading up to his film's release. The issue of police brutality is one that tends to bring people to a boiling point - regardless of their position. While Pasco's threat seems to have gone too far, he does mention that the damage they want to see Quentin suffer is of a financial nature. The FOB wants to see Tarantino's box office numbers plummet. Whether or not this will happen remains to be seen.
To Take Or Not To Take Sides
Many celebrities and news agencies have joined the debate. Fox News recently did a segment on the controversy. They highlighted footage of actor Robert Davy speaking out in support of the police and they expressed their own personal support as well. Also in the corner of the boys in blue is Quentin's father, actor Tony Tarantino. Denouncing his son, he has become vocal regarding his son's words, saying while he respects his son, Quentin is dead wrong.
However, many familiar faces are standing behind Tarantino. Celebrity friends and coworkers have began to speak their minds regarding Quentin's comments. Jamie Foxx, well known for his portrayal of the title character in Tarantino's Django Unchained, expressed his support of his colleague at the Hollywood Film Awards. He had a simple message for the director:
"Just keep telling the truth and don't worry about none of the haters."
Kurt Russell, who stars in Tarantino's The Hateful Eight, has spoken highly of Quentin and his right to speak for himself. He expressed his belief that Tarantino, while speaking for what he believes in, does not have a lack of compassion and respect for the law enforcement community.
Viggo Mortensen, best known in his role of Aragorn in The Lord of The Rings, spoke to Democracy Now! in defense of Quentin, stating that the director "knocked it out of the park" during an interview for MSNBC in defense of his position. Viggo spoke of the gravity of the police brutality issue in the US and just how serious it has become. He respects Tarantino for speaking his mind with such gusto.
Will Hateful Eight Suffer As A Result?
Tarantino films always see huge numbers at the box office. What concerns many moviegoers, in light of the circumstances around his latest picture, is whether or not it will be safe to head to the theaters on Christmas day. Protests and boycotts tend to result in massive crowds picketing targeted venues. In the recent past, many of these protests have become violent quickly. If it will be safe, will it be worth the trouble should protesters surround the doors? Many of the protesters believe that the boycott and this highly public debate will hurt Tarantino's wallet due to the absence of one of his biggest fan bases: police officers. Many feel that the boycott itself may also cause vehement supporters of the police to refrain from seeing it as well, ultimately hurting box office numbers. I don't believe that's true.Tarantino has always been lovably eccentric as well, known to passionately praise his fans and those that chose to watch his films. The ones that support Quentin as a film maker will be there regardless. If anything, this situation will resemble that of The Interview: when you go through so much trouble to keep people from seeing a movie, they will be even more inclined to see it than they were before.
I'm a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and I will be in the theaters for a Christmas screening of The Hateful Eight. I will not and have not divulged my stance on the controversy surrounding Tarantino and his film, but I will be there to see the film simply because I can't wait to see this movie. All politics aside, he's one hell of a filmmaker.
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