As the director of ultraviolent movies like Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino is no stranger to controversy, and he’s certainly in the middle of one right now. Police unions across the country are calling for boycotts of his upcoming western The Hateful Eight after the notoriously vocal filmmaker threw around the term "murderers" at a recent anti-police brutality rally. But now things are straying into creepy, maybe even scary territory as one high-ranking official says the director has a "surprise" on the way.
What exactly that surprise is, isn’t clear, but that is certainly an ominous phrasing. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jim Pasco, who is the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, the largest police union in the country with more than 330,000 members, said:
Something is in the works, but the element of surprise is the most important element. Something could happen anytime between now and [the premiere]. And a lot of it is going to be driven by Tarantino, who is nothing if not predictable…The right time and place will come up and we'll try to hurt him in the only way that seems to matter to him, and that's economically.
As a the head of a group of police officers, Pasco obviously knows that threatening someone publicly—very publicly in this case—is a big red flag, and we’ve all seen enough police procedurals to know that’s looked upon poorly. He does go on to clarify that he in no way means that Tarantino will come to any physical harm, and his statement is not a physical threat.
Odds are that this attempt to hit Tarantino in the pocket book will take the form of some type of large-scale boycott, which both the NYPD and LAPD have already called for. But it sounds like the FOP has something bigger up their sleeve. Perhaps they intend to stage some sort of protest at The Hateful Eight’s premiere or hope to somehow convince exhibitors not to show the film. We’ll have to wait and see how things go on that front.
This is the latest salvo in an escalating war of words between Quentin Tarantino and the law enforcement community. Last month, at a rally against police brutality in New York’s Washington Square Park, Tarantino, in reference to recent deaths of unarmed civilians at the hands of police, which has become and increasingly tense topic, referred to the perpetrators as "murderers." This raise the ire of the NYPD—especially as the rally closely followed the death of an officer in the line of duty—and though the director did not apologize, he did clarify that he is not anti-cop, but believes the specific instances he cited do in fact constitute murder.
He further went on to say that focusing all of the attention on him and his upcoming movie is tantamount to sweeping an important issue under the rug by shifting the focus to something else that doesn’t really matter.
The Hateful Eight is scheduled to open up on Christmas Day. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how this situation develops, what the "surprise" is, and how Quentin Tarantino responds. You know he’s going to.