A day after saying it stood by the story, Playboy in Germany acknowledged Tuesday that its published interview with Ennio Morricone had “reproduced incorrectly” some of the quotes attributed to the legendary Italian composer.
The magazine did not specify whether the incorrect quotes included comments in which Morricone appeared to disparage Quentin Tarantino as “a cretin” who produced subpar films. But it was those alleged remarks that caused a stir over the weekend and prompted a swift denunciation by Morricone, who said that he had not made them.
Playboy said that new information had caused it to reassess the matter, and blamed the writer, Marcel Anders, for the errors. The magazine also apologized to Morricone, who turned 90 a few days ago.
“Up to now, we have considered the freelancer who conducted the Ennio Morricone interview on our behalf to be a renowned print and radio journalist,” German Playboy editor-in-chief Florian Boitin said in a statement. “In the past, we have had no reason to doubt his journalistic integrity and skills. Based on the information now at our disposal, we must unfortunately assume that the words spoken in the interview have, in part, been reproduced incorrectly.
“We would like to express our regret should Mr. Morricone have been portrayed in a false light. We are working to clarify this matter and are exploring legal measures.“
The wide-ranging interview appeared in German Playboy’s December issue. But Morricone says he never made comments in which he allegedly called Tarantino’s films “trash,” compared him unfavorably to directors like John Huston and Alfred Hitchcock, and criticized his working style.
Morricone has threatened legal action. He and his attorney could not be immediately reached for comment.
Anders appears to be a prolific music journalist whose byline has accompanied interviews of such music icons as Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, Iggy Pop, Van Morrison, Robby Krieger and Linda Ronstadt, in various German publications. He also conducted a radio interview with Morricone that, like the Playboy feature, commemorated the composer’s 90th birthday when it aired last Saturday on German station Deutschlandfunk.
In the radio interview, Morricone mentions Tarantino only in passing while discussing his long career: “I do not think Tarantino will call me again, which does not mean that I will completely stop composing. But in the time I still have, I would rather make music that is not intended for the cinema, but which can be listened to without pictures.”
Hubert Burda Media, the international publishing house that owns Playboy in Germany, initially defended the magazine’s story, insisting Monday that the interview with Morricone took place at the end of June in Rome and expressing surprise at the accusations of inaccuracy. “We are surprised that composer Ennio Morricone denies giving an interview to German Playboy,” the company said in a statement.
Morricone worked with Tarantino on “The Hateful Eight,” and won an Oscar in 2016 for the score. In his disavowal of the comments that appeared in Playboy, the composer said: “I consider Tarantino a great director. I am very fond of my collaboration with him and the relationship we have developed during the time we have spent together. He is courageous and has an enormous personality. I credit Tarantino for being one of the people responsible for getting me an Oscar, which is for sure one of the greatest acknowledgments of my career.”
The story in Playboy also quoted Morricone as criticizing the Oscar ceremony. He looked excited during the ceremony “because I knew: I can leave this boring show soon,” Morricone supposedly said.