The unmade films of Quentin Tarantino

With Django Unchained out now on DVD, Glen looks at the Tarantino projects that have yet to be made, and what he might direct next...

Quentin Tarantino’s impact on cinema over the past two decades is undeniable, but still, he’s something of a divisive filmmaker. There are many who love his character, enthusiasm and output, but there are those who dismiss his work as little more than pastiche.

The enthusiasm he exudes often results in him announcing dream projects that at the time seem unlikely to be made, and for a number of these, this has turned out to be the case. His last two films, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained, were both teased by the director many years before they went into production, and eventually made it to the big screen. Other Tarantino projects, meanwhile, have been less fortunate.

Here are a few of the proposed films Tarantino’s mentioned earlier in his career, which haven’t yet made it past the planning stage.

Green Lantern and The Man From U.N.C.L.E

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We’ll start by getting two of the oddest inclusions out of the way. It’s hard to think why people would have thought that Tarantino would have been up for either of these, other than the homages and references in his films, given that he is very much a director associated with creating his own original material rather than adapting existing properties. But following the box office failure of Death Proof, it appears as though studios saw this as an opportunity to tempt him to work as a director for hire.

It would have been sad had he gone down this route. Here’s what Tarantino had to say on the matter: “After Grindhouse flopped, I actually started getting like aggressive offers from some big Hollywood hot project movies. And I felt like, I see where they’re coming from. They’re thinking I’m insecure right now, and that I’m going to want to get back on the horse right away, in a solid situation. And I was a little insecure, but I didn’t quite bite. That Friday before Inglorious Basterds opened, I remember being so glad I had stuck to my guns.”

Casino Royale

We now jump from a couple of franchise properties Tarantino didn’t want to do, to one that he most certainly did. There’s little secret that Tarantino was one of the first to see the potential in bringing Casino Royale into to the main Bond movie canon, and was very vocal in his desire to do the film and to bring a sense of focus back to the series.

Pierce Brosnan admitted as much in last year’s documentary Everything Or Nothing, where he laughs as he says that he struggles to tell the films apart. Brosnan was a solid Bond, but didn’t always have the best luck with the films themselves (GoldenEye aside). Another marquee film, one that shook up the public perception of the character, would have certainly helped Brosnan’s case, and that he met with Tarantino to discuss the project certainly indicated that he was open to it.

Tarantino wanted the film to be a period piece, and it would have been very much his movie rather than a Cubby Broccoli film, but obviously that never came to pass as EON bought the rights to Casino Royale. Brosnan was replaced by Daniel Craig and Martin Campbell was brought back as director. Obviously, the film turned out fantastically well, and established Craig as a fine Bond, but there will always be a sense of what could have been. Tarantino has affirmed since that he wouldn’t be tempted by Bond again, arguing that they had their chance.

The Vega Brothers (Double V)

A Vega Brothers movie was rumoured before even Inglorious Basterds was talked about, and in truth, it’s unlikely to ever materialise now. Why? Because John Travolta and Michael Madsen have aged considerably since they portrayed the Vega brothers, and the fact that both characters died in their respective films would imply that their next film would have to be some form of prequel to Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.

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Madsen, of course, played Victor Vega (Mr Blonde) in Reservoir Dogs, and Travolta played Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, and the intention was for The Vega Brothers to take place during Vincent’s stay in Amsterdam. Vincent would have been looking after one of Marcellus Wallace’s clubs, and Victor would have gone over to visit him. Hijinks would have ensued, no doubt, but as Tarantino says, “…it’s kind of unlikely now.”

Kill Bill 3

We’d imagine that the likelihood of Kill Bill 3 happening is about the same as The Whole Bloody Affair getting a wide release: very slim indeed. Kill Bill 3 has been rumoured for some time now, and in 2009 Tarantino hinted heavily that this would be his ninth project, with a planned release of 2014, allowing a decade to pass between the second and third instalment to allow the Bride a period of peace with her daughter.

If this was to happen as planned, Kill Bill 3 would surely be his Tarantino’s next project. But given that we’ve heard nothing about it of late other than, “I don’t know if there’s ever going to be a Kill Bill Vol 3. We’ll see”. Probably not, though, and given that another project seems to have jumped ahead on his slate, it’s likely that Kill Bill 3 won’t appear for quite some time yet, if at all.

Killer Crow

All signs seem to be pointing to Killer Crow being Tarantino’s ninth film, and it certainly sounds interesting. Here’s what Tarantino has to say about it: “I don’t know exactly when I’m going to do it, but there’s something about this that would suggest a trilogy. My original idea for Inglourious Basterds way back when was that this would be a huge story that included the smaller story that you saw in the film, but also followed a group of black troops, and they had been fucked over by the American military and kind of go apeshit. They basically – the way Lt Aldo Raines and the Basterds are having an ‘Apache resistance’ – the black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland.”

The intention seems to be that Killer Crow would be a blaxploitation film that explores the origins of its own genre. Subtle hints at this were made in Django Unchained, with Kerry Washington’s Broomhilda Von Shaft and Jamie Foxx’s Django said to be ancestors of John Shaft.

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It sounds like a very interesting project, and rather than shy away from sensitive racial issues following Django’s controversy, it would appear that Tarantino will continue to tackle them head on. Elements of blaxploitation cinema have appeared in the vast majority of Tarantino’s works to date, so it’s little surprise that they could form the basis of his next feature, too.

We wait and see with interest what Mr Tarantino chooses to do next…