The quickest turnaround between movies for Quentin Tarantino was two years, between “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction. He was early in his career, cranking out scripts, not knowing if a career as a director was going to work out. It’s one thing to write “True Romance” or “Natural Born Killers” and have another director take it to the finish line. It’s another to devote years of your life to one story, but Tarantino needs that kind of devotion for him to see a project to the end. Speaking with Screenwriter’s Monthly back in 2004, he explained why this has to be his process for moviemaking:
“The reality though is that once you become a writer-director, after you finish your next movie, if you’re a writer-director, it’s always start from scratch all over again. And you start the whole process all over again and you’re going to get a little bit more precious about it each time … I didn’t want to spend all of that time on a movie set, all of that time in a mixing stage. I mean, it’s fun, but if it ever gets to be too much, it can never be a job for me. It’s got to be a calling. It’s got to be the most important thing in my life.”
That notion of a calling holds even more true considering Tarantino’s often repeated claim that he will retire from directing after his tenth film, which would be his next. It’s been four years since “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” and we haven’t heard anything about what that last film could be. Because it’ll (supposedly) be his last, that call has to be stronger than ever. But it has to start with a blank page.