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Director Quentin Tarantino admits he keeps gun 'for protection,' still calls for more gun control

Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Legendary director Quentin Tarantino, responsible for some of the most iconic films featuring gratuitous violence in cinematic history, is both in favor of guns for personal protection and against them, according to his latest interview with Spanish outlet El Pais.

In an interview designed to promote Tarantino's book, "Cinema Speculation," reporter Jacinto Antón asked Tarantino about a number of different topics, including his personal thoughts regarding private gun ownership in America. That question prompted a rather ambiguous reply from Tarantino. "There are always two sides," Tarantino initially responded. "We certainly don’t need as many automatic weapons as there are. There should be better laws."

But then Tarantino made an admission that seemed to surprise Antón. "I do have a gun at home," Tarantino stated, clarifying moments later that the gun is "for protection."

Tarantino also confessed to Antón that he was deeply "traumatized" by the supposed violence depicted in the Disney cartoon "Bambi." Tarantino called it "horrible" and discussed in his book the extent to which it "disturbed" him as a child.

Tarantino is well known for directing films riddled with violence, including "Pulp Fiction," "Django Unchained," and "Kill Bill: Volume 1." Screen Rant even characterized many of those films as "ridiculously violent." With such a gory repertoire in the background, Antón pressed Tarantino on several violence-related questions, including which types of weapons he prefers to use on screen and whether the media has overblown the issue of cinematic violence. Tarantino clearly expressed exhaustion with the latter point. "In fact," Tarantino added with a laugh, "I hope you stop asking about it."

Though he brushed aside his own depictions of violence, Tarantino still stands in solidarity with a nuanced position regarding film violence taken by the father of actress Uma Thurman, who appeared in several of Tarantino's films. Robert Thurman, a former Tibetan Buddhist monk and friend of the Dalai Lama, once said that critics must learn to "distinguish between real violence and on-screen violence." Tarantino agreed with Thurman and reiterated that "there is no real violence in the movies. We're just playing."

That comment was rather odd considering that he and Antón had just been discussing the fatal shooting on the set of "Rust" and the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins at the hands of actor and producer Alec Baldwin. Baldwin had been facing a manslaughter charge in New Mexico, where the movie was filmed, but all charges against him related to the incident have since been dropped.

Tarantino called Hutchins' death a "tragedy" but expressed bewilderment that staged violence had gone so terribly wrong that day. "I don’t know how it could have happened," Tarantino said. "On set, there are lots of security measures … we’re very careful."

Tarantino, 60, just announced that he is working on either his 10th or 11th film, depending on whether the two "Kill Bill" films are considered separately or together. "The Movie Critic," which Tarantino claims will be his last movie, is set to begin filming sometime later this year.

Editor's note: The original story stated that Alec Baldwin was facing a manslaughter charge. That charge has since been dropped. The story has been amended to reflect this latest update.

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