Let’s all give a birthday salute to legendary Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who, at 90 years old isn’t afraid to speak his mind about other filmmakers and even collaborators. And in a recent interview with German Playboy, Morricone has done just that trashing and throwing major shade at Quentin Tarantino, a filmmaker he worked with on “The Hateful Eight”—the director’s first official score, though he did hire Morricone to write a piece of music for “Django Unchained.”
“He calls out of nowhere and then wants to have a finished film score within days, which is impossible. Which makes me crazy!” Morricone said [according to Google Translate]. “Because that’s just not possible. And I do not go there anymore. I told him that last time. But next time I will be tough. Then he can kiss me.”
The comments echo their near collaboration on “Inglourious Basterds.” Tarantino wanted Morricone to score the entire film, but asked late in the process and frustrated, Morricone walked away from the opportunity (QT would go on to use eight of his pre-existing pieces of music in lieu).
“The man is a cretin,” Morricone continued seemingly more agitated. “He just steals from others and puts it together again. There is nothing original about that. And he is not a director either. So not comparable to real Hollywood greats like John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock or Billy Wilder. They were great. Tarantino is just cooking up old stuff.” The Playboy interview says that Morricone admitted that he didn’t like Tarantino’s films and called them “trash.”
This isn’t the first time Morricone has said very similar disparaging remarks about Tarantino and was so frustrated with working on him on “Django Unchained”—for all of one piece of music—he vowed to never work with him, but quickly reneged, recanted his comments and wrote the music for his follow-up film, “The Hateful Eight.” Perhaps theirs is a problematic, love/hate relationship.
It’s almost impossible to sum up Morricone’s career, but he’s a living legend who will easily go down in history as one of the greatest film composers of all time. His music defined the Spaghetti Westerns of Sergio Leone with Clint Eastwood, Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima, and his contributions to horror and giallo are also seminal.
Some of his most famous scores include “A Fistful of Dollars,” “For a Few Dollars More,” “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” “Once Upon a Time in the West,” “Once Upon a Time in America,” all the Giuseppe Tornatore films since “Cinema Paradiso,” “The Battle of Algiers,” Dario Argento’s Animal Trilogy, “1900,” “Exorcist II,” John Carpenter’s “The Thing,” Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” and many, many more.
Tarantino has used Morricone’s existing music plucked from other films in many of his movies most notably starting in the “Kill Bill” series. Morricone won his second Oscar for “The Hateful Eight,” arguably his first proper, as the initial award was an honorary Academy Award. So, is that the end of their work together? Considering their back and forth, Tarantino often giving the composer lots of latitude, I wouldn’t count it out just yet.