Quentin Tarantino has shared his thoughts on Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers for years, but why does he hate it so much even though he wrote the story? Quentin Tarantino is one of the most respected filmmakers in the industry, in big part thanks to his unique narrative style and the type of stories he tells, but even though he has written a lot of stories that have made it to the big screen, there’s one he didn’t like at all: Natural Born Killers.
Tarantino has directed less than ten movies (and will supposedly retire after the 10th) but has written more than that, including Natural Born Killers, which was directed by Oliver Stone. Natural Born Killers was released in 1994 and tells the story of two serial killers – Mickey Knox (Woody Harrelson) and Mallory Wilson Knox (Juliette Lewis) – who become tabloid sensations thanks to journalist Wayne Gale (Robert Downey Jr.). Although Natural Born Killers was a box office success, it wasn’t as well-received by critics, who weren’t on board with the movie’s graphic and violent content, and one of its toughest critics was Quentin Tarantino.
Tarantino tried and failed to shoot his version of Natural Born Killers as he couldn’t find the funding he was looking for, so he ended up selling the script, which eventually made it to Oliver Stone’s hands. Stone, along with associate producer Richard Rutowski and screenwriter David Veloz, rewrote Tarantino’s script to fit their view for the movie, but the changes were so radical that the story ended up having little resemblance to the original one. Tarantino said he didn’t hold any animosity towards Stone and wished the movie well, but he reportedly demanded that his name be removed from the credits after watching the opening scene with Mickey and Mallory in the diner. Tarantino later said that he hates the movie and that those who like his stuff shouldn’t watch it.
Stone and company changing Tarantino’s script understandably enraged the filmmaker, who continually disowned the movie as it was drastically different from the story he wrote, but that wasn’t the end of his problems. After the movie was released, Tarantino tried to publish his script as a paperback book, just as he had done with other movies written by him, but the producers of Natural Born Killers filed a lawsuit against him, as they claimed that when he sold the script to them, he had forfeited the publishing rights. Tarantino was eventually allowed to publish his script, which he later shared helped him get over his intense dislike of the movie, as his main concern was that the audience would credit him with something he had no hand in creating.
Natural Born Killers went through many controversies, all of them a product of the movie’s depiction of violence which many have said inspired copycat crimes, but one of his biggest ones was how Tarantino felt about it. In the end, viewers will decide who made a better Natural Born Killers: Oliver Stone after many changes to the original script or Quentin Tarantino with his original idea, which will live in book format for a long time.