Quentin Tarantino has revealed a clash with Harvey Weinstein over the now-iconic Reservoir Dogs torture scene.
Convicted rapist Weinstein, who worked as a producer on Tarantino’s debut feature film, urged the director to remove a scene that featured Mr. Blonde (Michael Madsen) cutting the ear off a policeman while torturing him.
The scene, remembered as one of Tarantino’s most realistically brutal cinematic moments, is said to have led to walkouts during screenings of the film upon its early test premieres. In a bid to widen the audience pool, Weinstein attempted to have the scene cut.
“His reasoning was, ‘Look, Quentin, this is a movie that anybody can watch. But with that torture scene, you’re gonna alienate women; they’re not gonna wanna see this,” Tarantino explained during a recent interview with The Joe Rogan Experience. “So you’re literally putting your own movie in a little box. But without that scene, anybody can go and see this movie and everybody will enjoy it.’
Adding: “And [in rejecting Weinstein’s wishes], that’s kind of actually where I became me, because Harvey was used to winning these type of arguments.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Tarantino told Rogan that he was “sad” about Weinstein, considering the producer and industry mogul as a kind of “fucked up father figure”.
In October 2017, substantial allegations of sexual misconduct were reported against Harvey Weinstein by The New York Times journalists Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, kickstarting a cultural revolution that powerfully stood against sexual abuse in and out of the workplace. #MeToo would become the banner of the movement, determined to end sexual abuse and harassment through the publicising of allegations and crimes.
Four years following the emergence of such allegations and the film industry is still trying to recover its image and self-respect, after all, how could Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour have gone unchecked for so long? Speaking to Rogan, Tarantino stated that Harvey Weinstein’s behaviour towards women was “known by everybody”, before noting that he wished he had “done more” prior to the film producers conviction.
“I wish I had done more,” Tarantino commented, “I wish I had talked to the guy. I wish I had sat him down and had the uncomfortable conversation. I didn’t know about any rapes or anything like that… but I knew he was like, you know… I chalked it up to the boss chasing the secretary around the desk… you know, he was making unwanted advances. That’s how I looked at it.”
Continuing, Tarantino states: “I wish I had sat him down and gone, ‘Harvey you can’t do this, you’re gonna fuck up everything,’ I don’t think anybody talked to him about it. And the thing about it is everybody who was in his orbit knew about it… They didn’t know any, probably they didn’t know anything about rapes. But they had heard things.”
Closely associated with Weinstein for the majority of Tarantino’s career, beginning with the director’s debut film Reservoir Dogs in 1992, he later saw the industry mogul sentenced to 23 years in prison last year after being found guilty of rape and sexual assault in 2006 and 2013.