Tongues wagged and message boards... er, messaged about Quentin Tarantino, writer/director of cosmic import, and his alleged presence in Knoxville this week; purported sightings abounded. But we have the scoop, from a member of the local service industry (no, not that kind of service; get thee to a nunnery) who had the chance to spend some q.t. with Q.T. A film buff himself, our mole had a chance to grill him about projects current and past.
Tarantino had reportedly been holed up in the top floor of the downtown Marriott, following up on his location scout's vetting of a Sevier County property for use in his forthcoming directorial effort, Django Unchained. An enormously popular spaghetti western from 1966 about a deadly gunslinger who famously dragged his own coffin behind him as he wandered through oppressive desert heat, the original Django inspired literally dozens of similarly-titled knockoffs and made an international superstar of its leading man, Franco Nero. Tarantino reportedly said the new movie will feature the original Django character (unlike many of the knockoffs, which merely cashed in on the name), but featuring a new story (written by the QT himself.)
Contrary to rumor—rumors which have even been given credence through publication on the International Movie Data Base (IMDB) website—Tarantino says actor Will Smith is not nor has he ever been in discussion to play Django, or any other part in the movie for that matter. On the other hand, QT told our man that Leonardo DiCaprio, who has been rumored to be set for a different role in the film, is hopefully only days away from being finalized for the role of Django; a seemingly more obvious choice, given the apparent character continuity and his tolerably close resemblance to the young Nero.
Our man tells us that the "poor" property owner in Sevier County had no idea what she was getting into—namely, that she was about to become significantly richer by a number involving many zeros, and would require legal representation—when talking to location scouts. She initially believed that she was leasing her property to a group of college students for a few hundred bucks. That all changed quickly when she received a phone call from the Weinstein Company, asking to speak with her attorney.
On a sour note for Tarantino-heads, QT reportedly told our man that long-reported plans to re-release a single-volume DVD/Blu-ray edition of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair, complete with all-new anime sequence, have been shelved indefinitely, and maybe for good. (No word on Grindhouse; he forgot to ask.)
"He's a really, really nice, amiable guy," Mole says of QT, who was also spotted chatting it up with bar guests at the Marriott. "He's gotten pretty fat, though. Mostly, we talked about old Sonny Chiba movies from the 1970s. At one point he asked me, 'I don't mean this at all offensively, but is every [service industry member] a film buff?' Apparently, everyone in my line of work wants to talk to him about obscure cinema."
Corrected: Changed the studio reference to Weinstein from Miramax.