Quentin Tarantino has confirmed reports from earlier this year that his next project is a film titled The Movie CriticAt the time the movie’s existence was first revealed back in March there were no specifics about its subject beyond what could be inferred from its title. Some journalists actually speculated that film could be a biopic of legendary New Yorker critic Pauline Kael.

It turns out, according to Tarantino, that while Kael is not the subject of The Movie Critic, the film is inspired in some way on a real-life writer. At the Cannes Film Festival this week, Tarantino told Deadline that The Movie Critic is “based on a guy who really lived, but was never really famous, and he used to write movie reviews for a porno rag.” Tarantino claimed to have discovered this unnamed writer (who worked for a magazine Tarantino also refused to name) as a teenager while stocking porn magazine vending machines (which apparently was a job in the 1970s?).

“He wrote about mainstream movies and he was the second-string critic, ” Tarantino explained. “I think he was a very good critic. He was as cynical as hell. His reviews were a cross between early Howard Stern and what Travis Bickle [Robert De Niro’s character in Taxi Driver] might be if he were a film critic.” (Sleuthing fans believe the character is based on writer Bill Margold, who did indeed write movie reviews in the 1970s for a porn magazine titled Hollywood Press.)

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Getty Images

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The Movie Critic would be Tarantino’s second film in a row about moviemaking and film history, following 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Apart from his work as a director, Tarantino has also shown increasing interest in film criticism in recent years. He now hosts his own film podcast, The Video Archives Podcast; late last year, he published his first book of film criticism, Cinema Speculation.

The Movie Critic does not yet have a release date or a confirmed star (Tarantino said he expects to cast an actor he hasn’t worked with before) but it is expected to go into pre-production later this year.

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