EXCLUSIVE: Lagerfeld Pitches Script to Tarantino
I have done it! I have pulled it off! I am a hit!
How do I know? Vogue says so. WWD says so.
It’s true that Chanel, the maison de couture for which I design, is one of the few remaining big advertisers in fashion. Therefore, all the important publications are my bitches. Big deal! The fact remains that I have reinvented haute couture. How? With the sneaker.
Yes, the common sneaker used for cardio training, which as you know I don’t advocate because it makes you hungry, and being hungry makes you fat, like Adele. But if you are buying the Chanel couture sneaker you won’t be running around a bigger space than your closet. Okay, okay, maybe your bedroom, or an art gallery. If the normal Chanel prêt-a-porter sneaker starts at $600… let me just say we aren’t even quoting a price for the couture version to the public. If you have to ask, darling, you’re just not Arab enough.
I, Karl Lagerfeld, have turned haute couture from la vieille grande dame of fashion into that young, spoiled sporty chick who needs to get away quickly after robbing her step-mother’s jewels. Génial! Still, no matter how sportif, we won’t make money from this haute couture collection, or any other.
Bah, money! So démodé, if it was ever modé to begin with.
Coming off stage at the Grand Palais after my bow at the end of the show, I looked around at the glorious set, which took eight days to build—and many hundreds of thousands of Euros that we will never make back—just for twenty minutes of show. I felt wunderbar. I felt like a great, visionary filmmaker, in fact. I am the Tarantino of fashion, I said to myself as the fashion press flapped around and squawked like excited geese. I have flipped couture on its ear by making a joke of it, turning it inside out, and the press bitches think it’s genius. You can all suck my fat German Schwanz, motherfuckers!
And then I gasped. I never even think so vulgarly, much less speak out loud that way! And my inner voice sounded just like… Christoph Waltz! Was I actually turning into the Tarantino of fashion? Quelle merveille! How thrilling!
The truth is, I don’t want to be a fashion designer any more. I want to be a filmmaker. But to make as much money as I do in fashion you have to make shitty Hollywood cartoon garbage. It would be a big dilemma if I weren’t such a good businessman, in which case it is academic: Money talks, bullshit walks the red carpet in a dress she borrowed from me.
I have been making short films for Chanel for a few years now. The fashion press have received them politely, because they are my bitches. My friends and colleagues adore them because they are also my bitches. But I can feel the freeze from real filmmakers. They are thinking why do I take precious production dollars and direct these things myself rather than giving them to someone who understands the basics of narrative, good dialogue, characterization and performance? Fuck all of you bitches, I say. I don’t give a shit about any of that. As long as I can see the clothes and the talking models actors look good. I am Karl Lagerfeld, the motherfucking Tarantino of fashion. I will do as I motherfucking please.
The show was on Tuesday the 21st. I am reading the papers on Wednesday the 22nd when I see that Monsieur Tarantino is throwing a major Wutanfall, a huge hissy fit, a hairy tarantula tantrum. A headline in The Guardian is screaming:
Let me say something about the celebrity Wuntanfall, about our tarantula tantrums. Everyone gets angry, but when we get angry and have a little shout and a pout it is like an explosion because it echoes everywhere, among the press bitches, the Twitterati, the Facebookers, the Tumblr clowns, the blogueurs. So exaggerated. But this is the price we pay for celebrity, and it pays well.
Tarantino, it seems, is very paranoid. Excessively so. I have heard that maybe certain outside elements are making the paranoia, but maybe he is like this naturellement. Certainly I have heard this particular type of rant from many people at 6 AM a couple of days after the party began:
I finished a script, a first draft, and I didn’t mean to shoot it until next winter, a year from now,” said the Oscar-winning film-maker. “I gave it to six people, and apparently it’s gotten out today… I gave it to one of the producers on Django Unchained, Reggie Hudlin, and he let an agent come to his house and read it. That’s a betrayal, but not crippling because the agent didn’t end up with the script… I hadn’t given it to Christoph, I haven’t given it to Sam Jackson… I gave it to three motherfucking actors. We met in a place, and I put it in their hands… I gave it to three actors: Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Roth. The one I know didn’t do this is Tim Roth. One of the others let their agent read it, and that agent has now passed it on to everyone in Hollywood. It’s got to be either the agents of Dern or Madsen. Please name names… I don’t know how these fucking agents work, but I’m not making this next. I’m going to publish it, and that’s it for now. I give it out to six people, and if I can’t trust them to that degree, then I have no desire to make it. I’ll publish it. I’m done. I’ll move on to the next thing. I’ve got 10 more where that came from.
Now read that again, this time very fast like he speaks. You will see what I am heavy-hinting at.
I know how it is, mon cher Quentin! I have to keep my designs under strict privacy until they are unveiled at the Grand Palais in full glory. And I give previews to my press bitches like you do to your actor bitches. But asking people to name names… this is a bit Gestapo/Staasi, n’est ce pas?
Suddenly, now, I see it! I am spotting a perfect opportunity. As much as I am a great designer, I am a better businessman, and here is the opportunity for a collab so magnificent it would make the stars themselves fall from their constellations. And I can learn to be a better filmmaker at the same time: I shall have Tarantino mentor me by making myself his indispensable muse. Génial, non?
I call for the Chanel private jet and am in the air en route to Los Angeles within the hour. Monsieur Tarantino and I bump publicists, and soon I am sitting opposite the great auteur in his living room in the Hollywood Hills.
But what sort of collab am I going to pitch? This is a question I ask myself on the flight to Los Angeles while I am teaching my latest model boyfriend how to read and write. I need a good idea, a daring idea, something Tarantino hasn’t done before. As I pet my boyfriend’s golden head, I say, “Nein, schatzi, there is no E at the end of ‘sling’… Wait, that is it! Tarantino has never, ever done the gays!”
As far as I know, Tarantino has never even had a vaguely gay character in his films. To make sure, I go to the plane’s Google machine. He says in interviews that he prefers “homoerotic subtext,” which is a polite way of saying same-sex cocksuckers give him the creeps.
Then I remember that awful James Killough, the very minor Hollywood-Bollywood filmmaker who fancies that I am his imaginary best friend. He once wrote a piece about pitching a gay drama to Tarantino, when Django Unchained came out. It was a spoof, yes, but isn’t that what Tarantino is all about? I will steal Killough’s idea, and if Tarantino takes the bait, then I will simply reach an agreement with Killough later. This is Hollywood, baby — if anyone can be bought, it’s Killough. I should know: I live in his imagination.
I look at Tarantino sitting opposite me in his bathrobe. Yes, this is maybe day three or four that’s he’s had ‘insomnia.’ He has clearly been “sampling the donuts,” as the lovely Joanna Lumley says in The Wolf of Wall Street before she wipes beneath Leonardo DiCaprio’s nose.
Donuts or no donuts, according to the latest reports from the Google machine, Tarantino is already changing his mind, thinking about shooting The Hateful Eight after all. That is how donuts work — one minute you are John Galliano the Magnificent, the next you are just another unemployed racist clown who looks like Pete Burns’ twin sister.
I have to stop him doing this Hateful Eight film if I am to get my collab going and become a great filmmaker myself. I try to remember what I can about Killough’s pitch. Start from the beginning, Karl, I say to myself. Tell it like a fairy tale: Once upon a time there was an epidemic…
“So!” I say as I clap my gloves hands together and adjust my sunglasses. I am ready for this, bitches. But I am halted when a long string of drool trickles from Tarantino’s mouth like a slow-motion bungee jumper and hits the carpet.
“Who are you, motherfucker?” he asks.
I am taken aback. I’m not exactly forgettable. I go to great lengths to be memorable, in fact. Then I remember that people outside the fashion world might not be aware of who our royalty is. “I am Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion designer.”
“Hah!” he says, suddenly animated, like he just sampled a big bump of donuts. “A fashion designer. That’s wild, man. Can you get any gayer? Look at what you’re wearing! That is genius. You look like a character out of Django with that high collar and that pony tail and that badass frock coat!”
“Why, thank you,” I stammer.
“I should make a movie about faggots is what I should do!” He gets up and starts pacing the room, his eyes twinkling like samurai swords.
“Yes! Exactly!” I scream, clapping my hands in a very gay way, but sometimes I can’t help it. I am so glad I am pitching with just my physical presence alone — I put a lot of thought into it. He really gets it! This is going to be a fab collab!
“Ensemble cast, everyone in it. Everyone,” he says. “Even the homophobes.”
“I was thinking…”
“Shhh. Shaddap. Don’t think. Let me think. Let me speak,” he shouts in that shrill voice as he moves closed to the fireplace and grabs a poker. Mein gott, what an ego!
He takes a deep breath and starts: “It’s the late 70s, AIDS is everywhere. Who cares that it really kicked off in the 80s. This is my history I’m writing here. And in my history Richard Nixon never left office and he’s now the absolute dictator of the American Empire. I’m seeing The Village People.”
“Yes! Exactly what I thinking. AIDS and the Village people! And Nixon, too. How uncanny!” I clap harder, but I keep an eye on that poker. Ordinary objects can become lethal when you’ve been sampling donuts.
“We’ll call them Village Badass now. They all have the AIDS, but they’re okay because they use a lot of steroids. They have discovered that the virus was manmade in an effort to kill off faggots, niggers and junkies.”
“Manmade by the evil Dr. Mangleher in apartheid South Africa?” I ask. I am smelling a rat, here. This is my story.
“Yes! Dr. Mangleher is his name. Christoph will play him, of course,” Tarantino rages, the poker in his hand quivering and slashing the air like a saber as he becomes more inspired. “So they go to South Africa and hunt down Dr. Mangleher, and rape him and infect him with AIDS. But Mangleher loves it, he’s always been a closet case, and a bug chaser… a cross-dresser, too? Anyway, he helps them bring down the fascist South African government, they liberate the African niggers, and then move on to Washington. They kill everyone in the White House — Nixon, his wife, kids, the entire cabinet — in a huge White House explosion, because Nixon and his cronies are the ones who paid Dr. Mangleher to create AIDS. Then after the explosion it turns out Dr. Mangleher has the antidote for the virus as well as a new blue pill that cures cocaine disco dick. And then Village Badass performs their new hit—”
“Yes! Great title, man. It’s totally gay and kinda Western at the same time. And we’ll call the film—”
“The Coulour Pinke?”
“Dude! Yes! That is awesome! Perfect title.”
“Avast! You brigand!” I yell as I leap to my feet and grab another poker from the fireplace set. With my left hand raised, I face off against Tarantino like a swordsman. “En garde, you pirate! You have stolen my idea!”
Tarantino immediately falls into position, his own poker raised, ready for a duel to the death, an evil smile on his face. “Man, you look so authentic in that get-up, with that limp wrist and shit,” he sneers, that oversized cantilevered jaw twitching. “You look like the Three Musketeers’ faggot uncle.”
A mighty swipe from my iron-poker cutlass soon has him on the defensive. He isn’t leering so heartily now. I may be old, I may be gay, but I am one fit Mutter-ficker.
We slash and parry, parry and slash. We knock over lamps, crash into his shelves of vinyl records. I dodge a flying karate kick and his leg sails clean through the giant plasma TV. CRASH! BAM! SWOOSH! I show him no mercy.
Even in the heat of the moment I can see how fitting it is that Tarantino is stuck in a TV set. The irony seems to undo him. “What the fuck do you mean it’s your idea?” he pants. “It’s mine!”
“Rubbish! Nonsense! I stole it from James Killough and now it’s mine!”
“Who the fuck is he?”
“Precisely. I have no clue. I’m his imaginary best friend, for some weird reason I don’t care to understand. So the idea is mine because I live beside it in his head.”
Tarantino lowers his poker and is suddenly very serious. “Bro. For real? This isn’t an original idea? How can that be?”
“Maybe you read his silly spoof post online about pitching you a gay film, but don’t remember. Maybe you had too many ‘donuts.’” I make rabbit ears with my gloved fingers when I say ‘donuts.’
Despondent, Tarantino wriggles free from the TV, gathers his bathrobe around him, throws the poker to the floor. “I don’t want to play anymore.”
“But, why not? What about our collab? This partnership has so much passion! So much gusto!”
“What collab? And what the fuck kinda faggy word is ‘collab,’ anyway?”
“Everyone in fashion is collabbing. It means you and me. Co-writers-directors. I don’t mind sharing. I would like to share with you!”
“Pfft! Fuck that. I don’t collab, man. I don’t need to steal someone’s ideas, either. I’ve got a dozen more like that, better than that!” He taps his head and lurches crazily into an Australian accent. “Maybe I’ll make a movie about faggots, maybe it’ll be about AIDS. Maybe I’ll make a movie about faggot nigger slave cowboys. I’ll do whatever I want. But I won’t tell anyone. I’m not telling anyone what I’m doing any more.”
Still muttering to himself, he shuffles out of the room like Howard Hughes at the tail end of a psychotic break.
“Can I design the costumes?” I plead like a total bitch. I sound too whiny and pathetic, but I am desperate. I need to be a better filmmaker!
“Sure. Maybe. Call my agent. No, don’t call my agent. I hate agents. They’re all scum. Sharing my scripts and ideas when I showed them to only six people. But I have an agent. I need one.”
If I ever want to become a great filmmaker like Tarantino, I need to keep this bond with him going. I need common ground. I flash on it. It is genius génial. “I’m very jetlagged!” I yell after him. “Do you happen to have any more donuts?”
“Yeah, man,” he says. “Right this way.”