Quentin Tarantino‘s novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood has been released to the world, and in addition to taking us deeper into his vision of 1969 Los Angeles, it specifically sheds some light on one of that film’s biggest mysteries. Writing that novelization allowed the auteur filmmaker to flex a new creative muscle – and it sounds like he wants to keep exercising that muscle, potentially with adaptations of some of his other movies, including his highly influential breakout movie Reservoir Dogs.
Reservoir Dogs, and Other Novelizations
When talking about how he arrived at the idea to write a novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino said on The Big Picture podcast that he’s always “really loved” the paperback movie novelizations that used to occupy the spinner racks at the convenience stores when he was growing up. “I thought to myself, ‘Well shit, I ought to do one of these for one of my movies. So my first thought was Reservoir Dogs, because there’s a mystery/crime section in the bookstore…I mean, it’s right there. And I even wrote, like, two chapters of a Reservoir Dogs novelization. But then I thought, ‘Wait a minute. What the fuck am I doing? The last movie I did was Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. I have tons of material that never saw the light of day – material that I never even typed up because it’s not going to be in the movie, it was just edification for me. And people seem to like it.’ So it just seemed like this could do really well.”
When asked if he was interested in writing novelizations of any of his other films, Tarantino replied, “Hopefully, I’ll do this quite a bit. I can see myself – I don’t know if I’m going to do every movie I’ve ever done, but I can definitely see the idea of a Reservoir Dogs novel. That could be really cool. And then [I’m working on] an original. It’s kinda pulpy. I’ve got a western idea, and I’ve written about two chapters of an original western novel.”
Interestingly, though, Tarantino says he’s not only interested in adapting his own work into books. “What I’d like to do, though, at some point, is find a movie that’s not mine and do a novelization of…it has to be something that I could really go my own way, but not completely upend the apple cart.” Unfortunately, he did not tease any examples.
His Next Book is “Almost Done”
When asked about his long-rumored book about film criticism, Tarantino confirmed that project is next on the docket for him. “I made a two-book deal,” he said on the podcast. “That’s the next one coming out…I’m almost done with it.”
Indeed, in 2019, Tarantino signed a two-book deal with the HarperCollins imprint Harper for the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood novel as well as a non-fiction book called Cinema Speculation, which is described as a “deep dive into the movies of the 1970s, a rich mix of essays, reviews, personal writing, and tantalizing ‘what if’s,’ from one of cinema’s most celebrated filmmakers, and its most devoted fan.”
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