But with the direction the film industry was going in, Tarantino felt the potential changes in Hollywood might make him retire a bit earlier.
Quentin Tarantino once joked about retiring after ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’
So far Tarantino hasn’t budged from his decision to retire after making 10 movies. This was largely because the filmmaker wanted to bow out from Hollywood at his peak and avoid a potential decline in his films.
But at one point, Tarantino mentioned in passing that he should retire after Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The film was yet another critical and commercial hit under Tarantino’s belt, which might have been a good note to end on. Especially since he felt most directors’ very last films weren’t all that special.
“Maybe I should not make another movie because I could be really happy with dropping the mic,” Tarantino once said on the Pure Cinema Podcast. “That’s the frustrating part… a lot of the really terrific directors, it’s like their third-to-the-last movie would have been an amazing, amazing one to end on, which goes back to what I was saying about myself. Or you know, if Don Siegel had stopped with Escape from Alcatraz, oh my f***ing god. What a career…he really said it all. The other two were just jobs.”
Quentin Tarantino would retire from movies early if he couldn’t shoot on film anymore
Tarantino would also consider retiring before reaching his 10th film if he couldn’t shoot movies the way he wanted to anymore. Tarantino mostly prefers his movies to be shot in traditional film. The expansion of digital cinematography has been a pet peeve for Tarantino for quite some time now.
“Part of the reason I’m feeling [like retiring] is, I can’t stand all this digital stuff. This is not what I signed up for,” he once told The Hollywood Reporter. “Even the fact that digital presentation is the way it is right now – I mean, it’s television in public, it’s just television in public. That’s how I feel about it. I came into this for film.”
Tarantino felt if there ever came a time when he couldn’t shoot on film anymore, he wouldn’t make it to 10 movies.
“The business has changed a lot since I began, and that doesn’t help. It’s not the only thing, but it’s a thing,” he once told Post Perspective. “And if shooting on film ever stopped being an option, I wouldn’t reach 10. I’d write novels or plays and direct those, since that’s where I’m coming from. I want all my movies to be made with a deep sense of passion for what I’m doing.”
Planning to retire after 10 movies has helped sharpen Quentin Tarantino’s reasons for making movies
Tarantino explained that there were certain creative benefits that came with setting a hard deadline to his career. Once again, he referenced the work of other directors to illustrate his point.
“I think a lot of directors, if not all directors, think they have more time than they do. By time, I mean either mortality or changes of fortune in the industry. You never know what will happen. And so, I think every director walks around thinking, even when they have only one more movie to go, that they have six left,” Tarantino once told Time Out.
Giving himself only 10 films to do, however, created better motives for Tarantino to create his best work.
“Certainly the reasons for making a film become sharper. It’s not about making a movie to pay for your alimony. You don’t make a movie just because ‘blah blah blah’ wants to work with you,” he said.