"It's like asking Judd Apatow 'why do you like making comedies?'", Tarantino said yesterday when Channel 4's Krishnan Guru-Murthy asked him why he likes making violent movies.
In the clip, which has been widely tweeted, Guru-Murthy then pushes Tarantino to say why he is so sure there is no link between screen and real-life violence.
Tarantino refuses to answer, saying: "I'm not going to bite, I'm not going to take your bait. I refuse your question." KGM pushes him further, and Tarantino responds by pointing out that he's been asked that question for twenty years, and he is tired of it.
You can see why he might be getting a bit fed up with rehashing the same questions over and over again.
When Jay Leno asked him about movie violence and gun violence, Tarantino argued it was "disrespectful" to the victims to equate the two:
CNN named Django Unchained as one of eleven violent movies released in the run-up to Christmas – "the day we celebrate Christ's birth" – and pushed Tarantino to quote Shakespeare:
When he was asked by NPR's Terry Gross whether Sandy Hook had caused Tarantino to "lose his taste" for cinematic violence, the director lost his patience again:
GROSS: You sound annoyed that I'm...
TARANTINO: Yeah, I am.
GROSS: I know you've been asked this a lot.
TARANTINO: Yeah, I'm really annoyed. I think it's disrespectful. I think it's disrespectful to their memory, actually.
GROSS: With whose memory?
TARANTINO: The memory of the people who died to talk about movies. I think it's totally disrespectful to their memory. Obviously, the issue
is gun control and mental health.
And at a press junket last year, the BBC reports:
"I just think you know there's violence in the world, tragedies happen, blame the playmakers," he said, adding: "It's a western. Give me a break."
In 2003, on Kill Bill:
The director defended the film against accusations of graphic violence, saying it was so outlandish and bloody that it was obviously set in "fantasy land".
"This is definitely not taking place on planet Earth," he said.
"I love violence in movies," he told the 1992 Montreal World Film Festival, "and if you don't, it's like you don't like tap-dancing, or slapstick, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be shown."
…"I can't worry about [real life violence]," said Tarantino - honestly, if callously. "As an artist, violence is part of my talent. If I start thinking about society, or what one person is doing to someone else, then I have on handcuffs."
Of course, being asked the same question a lot isn't really a reason to be sympathetic with Tarantino – he certainly isn't as upset with being asked softball questions repeatedly – but when it's one as inane as "does cinematic violence cause real violence", I can see why he gets annoyed.
Incidentally, in the short- and medium-run, violent movies reduce violent crime. The reason, according to a 2009 paper in the Quarterly Journal of Economics, is that individuals with a prior propensity to violence tend to disproportionately enjoy violent movies. As a result, when a violent movie is released, they go and see it, instead of going out and doing violent things. That has the effect of reducing violent crime by 1000 assaults US-wide over the opening weekend.
So actually, Tarantino might have saved someone's life by making Django Unchained.