Playboy magazine’s German edition has become embroiled in an unlikely spat with Ennio Morricone, the veteran film composer, over an interview in which it claimed he described the director Quentin Tarantino as a “cretin”, and said his films are “trash”.
Morricone denied giving an audience to the magazine and accused it of fabricating the comments about Tarantino.
Playboy initially stood by its story, saying the 90-year-old Italian composer made the comments in an interview at the end of June.
But the magazine then distanced itself, saying it had previously trusted the freelancer who had conducted the interview but "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", accor ding to a statement from the magazine’s editor in chief, Florian Boitin.
"We would like to express our regret should Mr Morricone have been portrayed in a false light," he added. "We are working to clarify this matter and are exploring legal measures."
Morricone said at the weekend that he had never given the interview, and that he had instructed his lawyers to take legal action against the magazine. The alleged interview appears in the publication’s December edition.
“The man is a cretin. He only steals from others and puts it together in a new way. None of that is original,” the magazine quoted Morricone as saying in online excerpts.
“This is completely false,” Mr Morricone said in a statement at the weekend. “I have not given an interview to Playboy Germany and what is more, I have never called Tarantino a cretin and I do not consider his films trash.”
“I consider Tarantino a great director,” he said in a second statement. “I am very proud of my work with him and the relationship we developed.”
A legendary figure in Hollywood for his scores for Westerns such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and Once Upon a Time in the West, Mr Morricone worked with Mr Tarantino on his 2015 film The Hateful Eight.