The face of a man who really wants to go home
Photo: Jason Merritt (Getty Images)

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone, the man behind all the music you hum when you find yourself in a Wild West standoff, seems to be a bit of a grump. A few years ago, he denounced virtually the entirety of modern film soundtracks, saying he has “suffered a lot” from watching movies that hire “amateur” composers who use cheap synthesizers to record film scores rather than getting real musicians and real instruments. He’s earned the right to be a grump, though, considering that he is a legendary composer, but he’s especially allowed to be a grump when he’s dropping entertainingly hot takes like his new insistence that recent collaborator Quentin Tarantino is a “cretin” whose films are “trash.”

Morricone did the score for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, earning him first real Academy Award (though he received an honorary Oscar in 2007), but that hasn’t brightened the composer’s perception of the director. Speaking with Playboy Germany (and translated by Google), Morricone says Tarantino “just steals from others and puts it together again,” meaning there’s “nothing original” about what he does and that he’s “not a director either.” He compares Tarantino unfavorably to “Hollywood greats” like John Huston, Alfred Huston, and Billy Wilder, saying he’s “just cooking up old stuff” instead of creating great new things like they did.

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On top of that, Morricone claims Tarantino tried to rush his creative process for The Hateful Eight, saying, “he calls out of nowhere and then wants to have a finished film score within days, which is impossible.” That doesn’t mean he’d never work with Tarantino again, but if he does, Morricone says he’s not going to put up with any shit from Tarantino: “Next time I will be tough. Then he can kiss me.”

But what about that Oscar? Surely it was nice for Morricone to be granted the highest honor from the American film community. Actually, no, as he also tells Playboy that any enjoyment people may have seen on his face was less about winning the award and more about how excited he was that he could go home. He says the Oscars were boring and “pompous,” and he really just wanted to forget about how much his back was hurting from the plane ride.

Anyway, yesterday was his birthday, so he’s especially especially allowed to be a grump.

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UPDATE: Morricone has now released a statement denying the veracity of the Playboy Germany interview.