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Hitting top gear with Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino didn’t go to film school. “I went to the movies instead,” he chuckles, and it shows.

Quentin Tarantino didn’t go to film school. “I went to the movies instead,” he chuckles, and it shows.

Mention even the most obscure film, and QT will wax lyrical about it. Each of his movies — from Reservoir Dogs to Inglorious Basterds — is a love letter to cinema, a pastiche of different genres. He touched on road movies with Death Proof, but what if he were to direct a motor -racing themed movie?

It comes as no surprise that he would ape the B-movie genre.

“I’m a big fan of some of the racing movies that came out of American International Pictures in the ’60s. Like The Young Racers — where this badass driver takes bedding women as seriously as he does winning races.”

Metro has placed a thought in the Oscar-winning director’s head and he is getting animated.

“If I were to direct a racing movie I would look to mimic a lot of that AIP flavour. I would probably draw inspiration from Red Line 7000, which was made in 1965 and starred James Caan. It actually plays like a really great Elvis Presley movie. I like the way that it has a community of characters all staying in this Holiday Inn together and hanging out.

“For the soundtrack, I’d have hard-driving music with bongos and sitars, like in Richard Rush’s Thunder Alley. I used part of that score in Death Proof.”

Race fans say the greatest movies are Grand Prix and Le Mans, but QT strongly disagrees.

“Grand Prix should be great, but it’s not. Le Mans sounds like it should be fantastic, but to be honest I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to watch it through till the end without falling asleep. And Paul Newman’s Winning is even worse. I’d rather saw my fingers off than sit through that again.

“To me Days of Thunder is the movie Grand Prix and Le Mans should have been. Sure, it had a big budget, big stars, and a big director in Tony Scott, but it had the fun of those early AIP movies. I just don’t think it works if you take the whole thing too seriously.”

As for his garage, Quentin likes to take his work home with him.

“I bought the Pussy Wagon when I finished Kill Bill. I mean, what was I going to do, give it to somebody else? No! Then I bought a new Mustang and got it painted in the Kill Bill colours — yellow with a black stripe. And I also have the Dodge Challenger and Charger from Death Proof. My driveway looks like the set of Gone in 60 Seconds.”

QT’s fave race films

Days of Thunder (1990)
Tom Cruise switches from open wheel racing to NASCAR, and his hot temper gets him into trouble with other drivers and his team bosses. “Hands down the best big budget racing movie ever.”

The Wild Racers (1968)
A stock car hotshot heads to Europe to make it in F1. His winning on the track, however, serves to alienate the woman he loves. “It’s shot like an Antonioni film. Avant-garde, but still a proper racing movie.”

The Last American Hero (1973)
“This movie is about the king of stock car drivers from those early days. Jeff Bridges’ performance, as a young kid from the sticks trying to make it to the big time, is right on the money.”

 
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