Tarantino argued that it’s characters like Thor and Captain America who are the stars, rather than the actors like Chris Hemsworth and Chris Evans.
Despite a long friendship and professional relationship, Samuel L. Jackson was not willing to sign off on Quentin Tarantino’s controversial views on Marvel film stars.
The “Django Unchained” director argued on the “2 Bears 1 Cave” podcast that the MCU doesn’t have movie stars, but rather famous characters. “Part of the Marvel-ization of Hollywood is you have all these actors who have become famous playing these characters,” he said. “But they’re not movie stars.”
He went on to explain, “Captain America is the star. Thor is the star. I’m not the first person to say that. I think that’s been said a zillion times, but it’s these franchise characters [who] become a star.”
Jackson swung by “The View” on Tuesday to promote his work on Broadway’s “The Piano Lesson,” but he took a moment to weigh in on his long-time friend and collaborator’s comments.
Jackson, who is a bona fide movie star himself, used Scarlett Johansson and Chadwick Boseman as examples of actors who are big-time movie stars both in the MCU and outside of it.
“That’s not a big controversy for me to know that these actors are movie stars. Chadwick Boseman is Black Panther. You can’t refute that,” Jackson said. “And he’s a movie star. It takes an actor to be those particular characters.”
He also questioned the metric by which one defines a movie star. “The sign of movie stardom has always been– What? A–es in seats?” he asked rhetorically. Certainly, Marvel has dominated cinema for more than a decade now so they know how to put a–es in seats.
Of course, that was also Tarantino’s true beef with the dominant franchise, as he lamented on the podcast that they’re “the only things” getting made these days.
“They’re the only things that seem to generate any kind of excitement amongst a fan base or even like for the studio making them. That’s what they’re excited about,” Tarantino said, admitting that were he in his 20s, he would “be totally f—ing happy and totally love them,” too.
But the problem for him now as a man in his 60s is that “they are the entire representation of this era of movies right now. There’s not really much room for anything else.”
“That’s my problem,” the director continued. “It’s a problem of representation.”
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” star Simu Liu fired back after Tarantino first lashed out at the MCU, tweeting, “If the only gatekeepers to movie stardom came from Tarantino and [Martin] Scorsese, I would never have had the opportunity to lead a $400 million plus movie.”
Scorsese had previously commented that MCU films are “not cinema,” saying they compare more closely to Six Flags or Disney World.
“The closest I can think of them, as well made as they are, with actors doing the best they can under the circumstances, is theme parks,” the director told Empire in 2019. “It isn’t the cinema of human beings trying to convey emotional, psychological experiences to another human being.”
In his tweet response, Liu went on to praise both directors, calling them “transcendent auteurs” before emphasizing, “They don’t get to point their nose at me or anyone.”
“No movie studio is or ever will be perfect,” Liu continued. “But I’m proud to work with one that has made sustained efforts to improve diversity onscreen by creating heroes that empower and inspire people of all communities everywhere.
“I loved the ‘Golden Age’ too.. but it was white as hell.”