I Like You, Clarence

by The New Republic | May 8, 2008

...always have, always will.

I saw the Tarantino-scripted, Tony-Scott-directed True Romance twice in theatres, but was one of the few to do so, as the movie made a paltry $11.5 million during its initial release. But it became a cult success on video, especially once Pulp Fiction made Tarantino a household name, and Maxim has gathered the cast and filmmakers for a 15th anniversary testimonial. As is usually the case with such exercises, half of it makes you like the movie less. But there are a handful of pretty entertaining anecdotes. A few highlights:

Quentin Tarantino (screenwriter): When you’re a nobody, it’s murder to get anyone to read your scripts. So my thing was making the first page fantastic, with dialogue that grabbed you right away. The original True Romance script started with a long discussion about cunnilingus. Most people said the script was racist and that the grotesque violence would make people sick. I told Tony, “Read the first three pages. If you don’t like it, throw it away.”

Scott: He gave me two scripts: True Romance, which was his first script, and Reservoir Dogs. I’m a terrible reader, but I read them both on a flight to Europe. By the time I landed, I wanted to make both of them into movies. When I told Quentin, he said, “You can only do one.” 

And this:

James Gandolfini (Virgil, Mob henchman): I was glad to just be observing Hopper and Walken. We were crowded into this little trailer when Hopper gets shot, so everyone was offered earplugs. I remember Walken didn’t ask for any, so, being very cool, I didn’t ask for any either. I couldn’t hear for three goddamn days.

[Dennis] Hopper: Tony has this special gun that you fire and flames come out the side. I said, “Tony, you’re not putting that gun right to my head.” He said, “It’s fine, do it to me.” So a crew guy shot him, and he started bleeding. He said, “OK, that won’t work.”

And this:

Clarence and Alabama’s plan to sell the stolen cocaine in L.A. allowed Tarantino to add a layer of Hollywood satire to the story. And Scott, whose Last Boy Scout was coproduced by fast-talking

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/the-plank/i-you-clarence