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Luc Besson Claims He Gave Quentin Tarantino the Idea to Retire After 10 Films: ‘He Copied Me’

When Quentin Tarantino begins production on his upcoming film “The Movie Critic,” it is expected to mark the fulfillment of his highly publicized pledge to retire after directing 10 movies. Tarantino has long been outspoken about his desire to step away from filmmaking at the top of his game and cited his plan to limit himself to 10 films as a reason he passed on directing an R-rated “Star Trek” movie for Paramount. But while Tarantino’s retirement plans are well-documented, he might not have been the one to come up with the idea.

In an upcoming interview on The Discourse Podcast (via The Playlist), Luc Besson claimed that Tarantino copied his idea to retire after 10 films. While Besson did not stick to the plan (his 21st film, “DogMan,” premiered in 2023), he said that his idea stuck with Tarantino as the “Pulp Fiction” director plotted his career.

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“What’s funny is that I said that to Tarantino a long time ago,” Besson said of retiring after 10 films. “So, he copied me. No, I was honest when I said that. I said that after [I’d made] like six or seven movies. And it was a way for me to concentrate and say, ‘If I have only 10 bullets, I have to be careful with the last three.’”

Besson elaborated on the idea, explaining that he conceived of the retirement plan as a way of forcing himself to turn down lucrative studio offers that he knew would result in uninspired films.

“Because at this time, Hollywood, there was lots of sirens coming to me saying, ‘Here’s the script,’ and the projects that they proposed to me were not bad, but it was sequels — it was the Hollywood machine. And they propose with a lot of money,” he said, explaining that the offers were tempting but artistically unsatisfying. “I don’t want to. I want to stay myself, how to stay pure. So I need to find a way to resist the sirens of these mermaids. And the way I found to do that was to say, ‘I’m going to do 10, so if I have two more films, I can’t do that. I have to do something more like the one I want.’”

Besson is currently shooting his upcoming Gothic romance “Dracula: A Love Tale” with Christoph Waltz and Caleb Landry Jones, but he teased that his own retirement might be imminent. The “Fifth Element” director suggested he hopes to follow that film with two more before stepping away from directing altogether.

“So, maybe I should do one or two more because I still have a lot [to say],” he said. “Well, now I can tell you, I’m going to do three [films] and then I stop. Oh, so we’re done after three here. So, after ‘Dracula,’ there’s two more, and I don’t bother you after that.”

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