From Audacy’s Cadence13 comes “The Moment with Brian Koppelman,” a TV & Film podcast interviewing bright, creative minds in the industry. Brian is a show-runner, director, producer, and writer. He has worked on films such as Ocean’s Thirteen and Rounders. Brian co-created and produces the TV show, Billions. Recent guests include Quentin Tarantino, Rodney Crowell, Eva Victor, and Geoff Rodkey. We’re spotlighting the one and only Quentin Tarantino who appeared on the podcast in July 2021. The two creatives sounded like they had a blast sharing ideas, chatting about films, and exploring Quentin’s new fiction novel, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The book is based on his film with the same title.
The episode starts with a rumor Brian heard that speculates Quentin didn’t write his new book. Incorrect! Brian doesn’t believe this, but asks Quentin anyway. He understands this assertion for pulp novels, though, and cites Spielberg’s Close Encounters as an example. Also, George Lucas didn’t actually write the Star Wars books.
Brian asks about Quentin’s process of filmmaking and storytelling. He shares some highlights on the podcast, talks about his childhood, and early foundations of movie making. Quentin explains how he was ostracized and labeled the “dumb kid” in school. He said he only excelled in subjects he was interested in, like English and History, since they were rooted in narrative storytelling. Quentin was proud he knew “more about life than playground bullsh*t.” Yet, at the same time, Quentin said he learned skills like telling time, swimming, and riding a bike much later in his childhood.
As a kid, Quentin would go into stores, and browse the spinning comic book selections and paper novel racks. Quentin would read and turn the books he read into movies in his mind. He’d let his imagination run wild, going so far as casting actors for the roles. Even now, every time Quentin reads a novel, he takes extensive notes, just in case he’d like to turn it into a future movie.
Brian shares that seeing Pulp Fiction changed his life forever. He also loved Reservoir Dogs, but it didn’t nearly have the same impact as Pulp Fiction did.
After creating Django Unchained, Quentin thought the character would be an awesome fit for a paperback novel series. He contacted a book publisher, and they came back with storylines for Quentin to peruse. He wasn’t into it and did not feel the proposed stories did Django’s character any justice. So he did not feel comfortable licensing this story. Brian asked if he would like to find someone else’s movie to personally novelize, and Quentin is definitely interested. The caveat is finding the right fit. Quentin would like to adapt any work he knows well enough. Going from film to print, Quentin looks for the potential to offer a different view into the story.
Quentin admires John Minahan’s books, and Brian wholeheartedly agrees. Specifically, Quentin loves that they’re told from a first-person perspective and knows they would translate well onto paper. The other day, Quentin seriously contemplated telling Runaway Train from the prison escapee’s character’s perspective in a book. Alas, it was a no-go because Quentin didn’t want to write about the train yard. But for a story of this caliber, he’s game.
Brian pitches the film, Rollerball, to novelize. Coincidentally, Quentin recently watched half of it. His viewing was interrupted by a phone call, so he has yet to complete it. But Quentin likes Brian’s idea and proposes the story can begin from the character Jonathan’s first person perspective, and then switch to one of the corporate guy’s viewpoints.
Have any questions for Brian about TV and film? Brian often dedicates full episodes to listeners’ questions.
To learn more about Quentin, tune in to hear the complete episode of “The Moment with Brian Koppelman.” If you enjoyed this episode, you might want to check out “The Moment with Brian Koppelman’s” complete archive of over 340 episodes. New episodes are updated weekly.