Quentin Tarantino is infamous for promising things he never delivers. The Vega brothers movie. The Kill Bill sequel. A James Bond movie. A Star Trek movie. The John Brown biopic. The ‘70s-style softcore sex movie. But there’s one promise he’s seemed adamant about keeping: He wants to retire from filmmaking early. At one point he swore he’d only make ten movies. Recently he’s teased that Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, his ninth, could be his swan song. On Friday, to promote his new novel version of the film, Bill Maher did his best to talk him out of this, and given that the normally hyper-articulate Tarantino was left stammering, flinging off excuses his host quickly debunked. Maybe — who knows! — it even made him change his mind.
But there was one tidbit Tarantino squeezed in at the end of their debate — one idea it doesn’t seem he’d ever made public before. Maher, in trying to convince him that he was still evolving as a film director, asked him about his debut feature. “If you were making Reservoir Dogs tomorrow, would you make the exact same movie?” Maher asked him.
“No, of course not,” Tarantino admitted. When Maher asked him if he thought he could make it even better, he replied that the movie, released in 1992, was “a captured-time-in-a-moment kind of thing.” He then dropped a big reveal. “I have actually considered doing a remake of Reservoir Dogs as my last movie,” he said, laughing. He then quickly put the kibosh on it. “I won’t do it, Internet. But I considered it.”
Thing is, it’s not a bad idea. Plenty of great filmmakers have remade their own movies. Hitchcock redid The Man Who Knew Too Much, in 1934 and 1956. John Ford turned his 1934 Will Rogers vehicle Judge Priest into 1953’s The Sun Shines Bright. In 1959, Yasujiro Ozu remade 1934’s The Story of Floating Weeds as, simply, Floating Weeds, and 1932’s I Was Born, But… as Good Morning. Tarantino favorite Howard Hawks remade the screwball Ball of Fire as the musical A Song is Born. And Michael Mann expanded his 1989 TV movie L.A. Takedown, six years later, into no less than Heat.
In other words, not only should Tarantino not retire, he should remake the one that started it all, showing how much he’s changed by dramatically reworking it, maybe even losing some of the iconic bits (the ear scene, “K-Billy’s Super Sounds of the ’70s”), just for fun. After all, he’d be in the same company as such luminaries as Hitchcock, Ford, Ozu, Hawks, and Michael Mann. As Ruben from I Think You Should Leave would say, I think it’s a good idea, and I stand by.
You can watch the Maher-Tarantino debate in the video above. The novel version of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is not quite a “novelization,” hits stores on June 29th.