Quentin Tarantino appeared at the AFM film market in Santa Monica this week, where he held court for foreign distributors who presumably brought him tribute in the form of The Dukes Of Hazzard lunch boxes, original thermos included. Sitting at Tarantino’s right hand was his frequent collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, along with Jackson’s The Hateful Eight co-stars Walton Goggins, Kurt Russell and Jennifer Jason Leigh. (On his left, as always, was Harvey Weinstein.)
In a wide-ranging conversation that included influences on The Hateful Eight (Bonanza, duh) and plans for a 70mm release, talk eventually turned to Tarantino’s assertion that he wants to retire from filmmaking after completing his tenth movie. Although Jackson says he doesn’t know what Tarantino would do with himself if he didn’t have movies, Tarantino begs to differ:
“I don’t believe you should stay onstage until people are begging you to get off…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 like that I will leave a 10-film filmography, and so I’ve got two more to go after this. It’s not etched in stone, but that is the plan. 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.”
Tarantino has been making these assertions for several years now, so he might actually stick to them. (In 2012, he told Playboy, as quoted in The Guardian, that “You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice…I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker.”) It’s not really clear how he came to the number ten as a stopping point, except perhaps because ten is a nice round number. But it does make sense that someone as intimately familiar with the filmographies of Howard Hawks and Sam Peckinpah as Tarantino would be afraid of overstaying his welcome—although to be fair, it was the bottle, not his age, that did Peckinpah in.