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Playboy Stands by Its Ennio Morricone Story and His Scathing Comments on Quentin Tarantino

Playboy Stands by Story on Ennio
Courtesy of Broadimage/REX/Shutterstock

Playboy magazine in Germany defended its story in which Ennio Morricone called Quentin Tarantino “a cretin” whose movies are “trash,” saying Monday that the comments were made by the legendary Italian composer in an interview at the end of June.

Morricone had said over the weekend that he had not spoken to Playboy and that the scathing comments about Tarantino, with whom he had worked on the film “The Hateful Eight,” were fabricated. But Hubert Burda Media, the international publishing group which owns Playboy in Germany, rejected that disavowal.

“We are surprised that composer Ennio Morricone denies giving an interview to German Playboy,” the company said in a statement issued Monday evening. “In fact, the conversation took place on June 30, 2018, at his estate in Rome. The interview, about the concert organizer Semmel Concerts, which was also present at the interview, had been agreed to with German Playboy. We also cannot understand that parts of the published statements were apparently not found to have been accurate.”

In the Q&A by music journalist Marcel Anders, which appeared in Playboy’s December issue, Morricone is quoted as describing Tarantino as an untalented purveyor of previously used material. The story’s headline in German can be loosely translated as “Quentin Tarantino Can Kiss My Ass.”

“The man is a cretin. He only steals from others and puts that stuff together in a new way. None of that is original,” Playboy’s article quoted Morricone as saying. “He is not a director. Meaning you can’t compare him to Hollywood greats like John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock or Billy Wilder. Those were great. Tarantino only recycles old stuff.”

Morricone lashed out Sunday, saying that he had never given the interview and that he had instructed his lawyers to take legal action against Playboy. “This is totally false,” the 90 year-old composer said of the remarks attributed to him, adding that he had previously made clear he considered Tarantino “one of the greatest directors of this time.”

Giorgio Assumma, Morricone’s lawyer, said he would be talking to his client Tuesday and had no immediate further comment beyond the statement.

At an event Monday in Rome to promote his new book, “Ennio, un maestro,” Morricone avoided any mention of the controversy. In a wide-ranging 90-minute conversation, he delved into his close collaborations with Sergio Leone and Elio Petri, and his rapport with directors Giuseppe Tornatore and Giuliano Montaldo, who joined him on stage. Morricone also spoke of his musical influences and his love of chess.

In Germany, the link to the post on the Playboy website teasing the magazine’s story on Morricone was disabled for part of the day Monday, with would-be readers directed to a page that said: “You do not have permission to access this page.” Late Monday afternoon, however, the link was restored and the write-up of Morricone’s alleged interview was again available.

Also, a page touting Playboy’s December issue clearly shows Morricone’s name on the magazine’s cover under the heading “Interviews,” along with the names of other personalities such as American actress Zoe Kravitz and German tennis player Alexander Zverev.

Janko Roettgers and Nick Vivarelli contributed to this report.