There have been some high profile directors talking retirement recently. Kevin Smith is retiring after his two-part hockey epic Hit Somebody. Steven Soderbergh is approaching retirement at the end of the year and now Quentin Tarantino has joined the list.
He told Playboy:
“I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f–ks up three good ones.”
He has a point. Francis Ford Coppola never came close to the quality of Apocalypse Now or Godfather Part I or II after the 80’s. Ridley Scott has been sketchy ever since Gladiator. Midnight in Paris is Woody Allen’s had three good movies in his last eight.
Of course, if he has a good story he wants to tell he could return.
“If I have a change of heart, if I come up with a new story, I could come back. But if I stop at 10, that would be okay as an artistic statement.”
Tarantino has made similar comments in the past. As long as he realizes that he shouldn’t bust out movies for paychecks or just because he’ll be fine. Directing a film is about telling a story. You can’t just do it to do it or do it because it’s a job. If you don’t have a story you believe in or can be passionate about you can’t make the movie. And not every director can instill that level of passion in every project.