Quentin Jerome Tarantino (pronunciation: /ˌtærənˈtiːnoʊ/; born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer and actor. He has received many industry awards, including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA and the Palme d’Or and has been nominated for an Emmy and Grammy.
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tarantino was an avid film fan. His career began in the late 1980s, when he wrote and directed My Best Friend’s Birthday. Its screenplay would form the basis forTrue Romance. In the early 1990s, he began his career as an independent filmmaker with films employing nonlinear storylines and the aestheticization of violence. His films include Reservoir Dogs (1992), Pulp Fiction (1994), Jackie Brown (1997), Kill Bill (2003, 2004), Death Proof (2007), and Inglourious Basterds (2009).
His movies are generally characterized by stylistic influences from grindhouse, kung fu, and spaghetti western films. Tarantino also frequently collaborates with his friend and fellow filmmaker Robert Rodriguez.
Tarantino has had a number of collaborations with director Robert Rodriguez.
Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the son of Tony Tarantino, an actor and amateur musician who was born in Queens, New York, and Connie McHugh, a nurse. Tarantino’s father is of Italian descent and his mother is of Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He was raised by his mother, as his parents separated before his birth. When he was two years old, he moved to Torrance, California and later to the Harbor City neighborhood where he went to Fleming Junior High School in Lomita and took drama classes. He attended Narbonne High School in Harbor City for his freshman year before dropping out of school at age 15 (Quentin Tarantino has provided contradictory information about this – elsewhere, he claimed he was 16 when he dropped out), to attend an acting class full time at the James Best Theater Company in Toluca Lake. He grew bored with the James Best Acting School and quit after two years, although he made a point of keeping in touch with all his acting friends. Then he landed a job which threatened to interfere with his long-term acting ambitions.
As an employee of the Video Archives, a now-defunct video rental store in Manhattan Beach, he and fellow movie enthusiasts, including Roger Avary, discussed cinema and customer video recommendations at length. He paid close attention to the types of films people liked to rent and has cited that experience as inspiration for his directorial career. Tarantino has been quoted as saying, “When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, ‘no, I went to films.'”
After Tarantino met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party, Bender encouraged him to write a screenplay. Tarantino directed and co-wrote a movie called My Best Friend’s Birthday in 1987. The final reel of the film was almost fully destroyed in a lab fire that occurred during editing but its screenplay would form the basis for True Romance.
In January 1992, Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs screened at the Sundance Film Festival and was an immediate hit. The film garnered critical acclaim. Reservoir Dogs was a dialogue-driven heist movie that set the tone for his later films. Tarantino wrote the script in three and a half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to funding, taking a co-producer role, and a part in the movie.
Tarantino’s screenplay True Romance was optioned and eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit, and wished the film well.Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed and Men in Black. He instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction. After Pulp Fiction was completed, he then directed Episode Four of Four Rooms, “The Man from Hollywood”, a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode that starred Steve McQueen. Four Rooms was a collaborative effort with filmmakers Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, and Robert Rodriguez. The film was very poorly received by critics. He appeared in and wrote the script for Robert Rodriguez’s From Dusk Till Dawn, which saw mixed reviews from the critics yet led to two sequels, for which Tarantino and Rodriguez would only serve as executive producers.
Tarantino’s third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Rum Punch, a novel by Elmore Leonard. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of that genre’s films of the 1970s. Leonard considers Jackie Brown the best of the twenty-six different screen adaptations of his novels and short stories.
Quentin Tarantino 2009
Tarantino had planned to make the war film provisionally titled Inglourious Basterds, but postponed it to write and direct Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized “revenge flick” in the cinematic traditions of Wuxia (Chinese martial arts), Jidaigeki (Japanese period cinema), Spaghetti Westerns and Italian horror.
It was based on a character (The Bride) and a plot that he and Kill Bill’s lead actress, Uma Thurman, had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction. In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes, where he served as President of the Jury. Although Kill Bill was not in competition, Vol. 2 had an evening screening, while it was also shown on the morning of the final day in its original 3-hour-plus version, with Tarantino himself attending the full screening. Tarantino then went on to be credited as “Special Guest Director” in Robert Rodriguez’s 2005 neo-noir film Sin City for his work directing the car sequence featuring Clive Owen and Benicio del Toro.
The next film project was Grindhouse, which he co-directed with Rodriguez. Released in theaters on April 6, 2007, Tarantino’s contribution to the Grindhouse project was titled Death Proof. It began as a take on 1970s slasher films, but evolved dramatically as the project unfolded. Ticket sales were low despite mostly positive reviews.
Among his producing credits are the horror film Hostel (which included numerous references to his own Pulp Fiction), the adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s Killshot (for which Tarantino was credited as an executive producer, although he was no longer associated with the film after its 2009 release.) and Hell Ride (written and directed by Larry Bishop, who appeared in Kill Bill Vol. 2).
Tarantino’s 2009 film Inglourious Basterds is the story of a group of guerrilla U.S. soldiers in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. Filming began in October 2008. The film opened on August 21, 2009 to very positive reviews and the #1 spot at the box office worldwide. It went on to become Tarantino’s highest grossing film, both in the United States and worldwide.
Robert Rodriguez, Quentin Tarantino, Uma Thurman and Harvey Weinstein – Kill Bill Vol. 2 World Premiere – 2004
In 2011, production began on Django Unchained, about the revenge of a slave on his former master. The film stemmed from Tarantino’s desire to produce a spaghetti western set in America’s Deep South; Tarantino has called the proposed style “a southern”, stating that he wanted “to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies.
I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to”. Tarantino finished the script on April 26, 2011, and handed in the final draft to The Weinstein Company.
Agency William Morris Endeavor reported Christoph Waltz was cast to play a German bounty hunter, with Stacey Sher, Pilar Savone, and Reginald Hudlin producing. AlthoughWill Smith and Idris Elba were heavily rumored to be up for the title role, Jamie Foxx has since been confirmed to play Django. Tarantino regular Samuel L. Jackson will play Stephen, a house slave. Leonardo DiCaprio has also been officially cast in the role of Calvin Candie, the primary antagonist in the film. Kevin Costner had been cast as Ace Woody, a “vile and sadistic trainer of slaves who are forced to fight in death matches for a plantation owner (DiCaprio)” before he later dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, and was replaced by Kurt Russell who later also dropped out. Kerry Washington has been cast as Broomhilda, the “long-suffering slave wife of Django.” Other cast members include Dennis Christopher as Candie family lawyer Leonide ‘Leo’ Moguy, Laura Cayouette as Candie’s sister, Lara Lee Candie-Fitzwilly, M.C. Gainey and Tom Savini as Big John and Ellis Brittle, two of the slave owners who separate Django and Broomhilda, Anthony LaPaglia and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Australian brothers, Jano and an unnamed character, respectively, who encounter Django while escorting slaves to a fight.
However, Gordon-Levitt has not fully committed to the film, due to possible scheduling issues, and Gerald McRaney and Michael K. Williams in unknown roles. Tarantino-collaborator RZA was cast as a slave named Thadeus. According to ReservoirWatchDogs.com, Sacha Baron Cohen was cast in the role as gambler Scotty Harmony who wishes to purchase Django’s wife from Calvin Candie. Reportedly, Tarantino is also interested in including Lady Gaga in the film to some degree. The film is said to be inspired by the 1966 film Django, directed by Sergio Corbucci. James Remar is also involved in the film. The film is scheduled to be released on December 25, 2012.
In recent years, Tarantino has used his Hollywood power to give smaller and foreign films more attention than they might have received otherwise. These films are usually labeled “Presented by Quentin Tarantino” or “Quentin Tarantino Presents”. The first of these productions was in 2001 with the Hong Kong martial arts film Iron Monkey which made over $14 million in the United States, seven times its budget. In 2004 he brought the Chinese martial arts film Hero to U.S. shores.
It ended up having a #1 opening at the box office and making $53.5 million. In 2006, the latest “Quentin Tarantino presents” production, Hostel, opened at #1 at the box office with a $20.1 million opening weekend, good for 8th all time in January. He presented 2006’s The Protector, and is a producer of the (2007) film Hostel: Part II. in 2008 he produced the Larry Bishop helmed Hell Ride, a revenge biker film.
In addition, in 1995 Tarantino formed Rolling Thunder Pictures with Miramax as a vehicle to release or re-release several independent and foreign features. By 1997, Miramax shut down the company due to “lack of interest” in the pictures released. The following films were released by Rolling Thunder Pictures: Chungking Express (1994, dir. Wong Kar-wai), Switchblade Sisters (1975, dir. Jack Hill), Sonatine (1993, dir. Takeshi Kitano), Hard Core Logo (1996, dir.Bruce McDonald), The Mighty Peking Man (1977, dir. Ho Meng-Hua), Detroit 9000 (1973, dir. Arthur Marks), The Beyond (1981, dir. Lucio Fulci) and Curdled (1996, dir. Reb Braddock).
Other potential films
Before Inglourious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino had considered making The Vega Brothers. The film would have starred Michael Madsen and John Travolta reprising their roles of Vic (Mr. Blonde) from Reservoir Dogs and Vincent from Pulp Fiction. However in 2007, because of the age of the actors and the onscreen deaths of both characters, he claimed that the film (which he intended to call Double V Vega) is “kind of unlikely now”.
In 2009, in an interview for Italian TV, after being asked about the success of the two Kill Bill films, Tarantino said “You haven’t asked me about the third one”, and implied that he would be making a third Kill Bill film with the words “The Bride will fight again!”
Later that year, at the Morelia International Film Festival, Tarantino announced that he would like to film Kill Bill: Vol. 3. He explained that he wanted ten years to pass between The Bride’s last conflict, in order to give her and her daughter a period of peace.
Tarantino has been romantically linked with American actress
directors Allison Anders
and Sofia Coppola,
actress Julie Dreyfus
and comedians Kathy Griffin
and Margaret Cho.
There have also been rumors about his relationship with Uma Thurman, whom he has referred to as his “muse”.
Quinten and Uma
Even-tempered and peace loving, he is not easily ruffled and is rarely given to emotional displays.Quentin Tarantino has a calming effect on more high-strung or volatile people, and an emotional steadiness that others find soothing. Though gentle and not easily provoked, Tarantino is tremendously stubborn and resists any change that requires an emotional adjustment, such as changes in his home life or marriage.
Quentin Tarantino seeks security and loyalty in love relationships, is extremely devoted to his loved ones and provides a warm, nurturing atmosphere for them. However, Tarantino tends to cling to others and prevent them from changing.
A great deal of physical affection, closeness and touching is crucial to Quentin’s well-being, and he has a tendency to overindulge in sensual comforts and pleasures. At times Quentin Tarantino substitutes food for emotional comfort and love.
Tarantino gets a lot of emotional fulfillment through his involvement in groups, clubs, organizations, community activities, or a network of close friends who support and care for him. Quentin Tarantino makes friends his family, and he feels a close kinship with people who share some ideals or beliefs that he holds dear. Quentin Tarantino needs close relationships with people outside of his physical family.
He is temperamental and impatient and can be very difficult to live with. Quentin Tarantino tends to respond with a temper tantrum (overt or subtle) if his desires are frustrated. Quentin Tarantino becomes very irritable and bad-tempered if he lacks vigorous physical activity or other outlets for his aggressive, feisty spirit.
He enjoys emotional intensity and is attracted to the mysterious, the unknown, and dangerous or challenging experiences that draw on all of his inner resources. He is able to handle an emotional crisis very well and is interested in the underlying root of emotional problems and how to cure them. Quentin Tarantino insists on bringing feelings between people out into the open, for he craves real closeness and intimacy in his relationships, without barriers or secrets.
Quentin Tarantino tends to be emotional inhibited when he is with others and therefore appear rather aloof. Although he may feel lonely, Quentin is inclined to flee from crowds of people and to give the impression of needing protection.
He is open and unconventional in his attitude towards love relationships, romance and sex. He enjoys socializing, bringing people together and having many friends of both sexes. Quentin Tarantino values friendship very highly and in fact, he is more comfortable being a friend than a lover. Quentin desires an intellectual rapport or spiritual bond with his love partner, but deep intimacy and emotional bonding do not come easily to him. The traditional “husband” and “wife” roles do not appeal to Tarantino, and he abhors jealousy and possessiveness since he feels that no person truly “belongs” to another. Quentin Tarantino appreciates relationships in which his love partner allows him plenty of freedom and is not very emotionally demanding.
Quentin is attracted to foreigners, exotic places, traveling, and to people who can expand his horizons, teach him something, or show Tarantino places and worlds he has never experienced before. Sharing a philosophy or ideal with his love partner is important to him.
Also, Quentin Tarantino feels love and kinship for people everywhere, not only with his own family, nationality, or group. Finding similarities and making links between people from differing backgrounds or with different perspectives is a gift of his.
Quentin Tarantino is not a traditionalist where love and relationships are concerned, and he often feels that formal commitments and conventional relationships are too binding and restricting. Thus, Quentin is not very comfortable with forming lasting attachments or letting other people depend on him. He may be attracted to wild, unreliable, highly creative and/or unstable people who do not offer him any security. Even if Quentin Tarantino professes to want something steady and solid, he is very reluctant to give up his freedom and autonomy for its sake. At best, he is suited to serial monogamy or relationships that leave Tarantino a lot of breathing space.
However, Tarantino has stated that their relationship is strictly platonic. Tarantino stated “I’m not saying that I’ll never get married or have a kid before I’m 60. But I’ve made a choice, so far, to go on this road alone. Because this is my time to make movies.” He also has said that he plans to retire from filmmaking at age 60, to focus on writing novels and film literature. He also is skeptical of the film industry going digital, saying, “If it actually gets to the place where you can’t show 35 mm film in theatres anymore and everything is digital projection, I won’t even make it to 60.” He reportedly has an IQ of 160, which signifies exceptional intellectual giftedness. However, Quentin Tarantino himself has only confirmed that he took an IQ test at some point in his childhood and not the 160 score – according to Quentin Tarantino, that result of the test is solely his mother’s assertion.
On February 18, 2010, it was announced that Tarantino had bought the New Beverly Cinema. Tarantino allowed the current owners to continue operating the theater, but he will be making programming suggestions from time to time. He was quoted as saying: “As long as I’m alive, and as long as I’m rich, the New Beverly will be there, showing films shot on 35mm.”
Influences and style of filmmaking
In an awards ceremony in the Critics Choice Awards celebrating Tarantino, he said he got his start in filmmaking in his 20s. Music is an important part of his filmmaking style. He said he would listen to music in his bedroom and create scenes that correlated to the music playing.
In the 2002 Sight & Sound directors’ poll, Tarantino revealed his top 12 films: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; Rio Bravo; Taxi Driver; His Girl Friday; Rolling Thunder; They All Laughed; The Great Escape; Carrie; Coffy; Dazed and Confused; Five Fingers of Death; and Hi Diddle Diddle. In 2009, he named Kinji Fukasaku’s violent action film Battle Royale as his favorite film released since he became a director in 1992.
In August 2007, while teaching a four-hour film course during the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, Tarantino cited Filipino directors Cirio Santiago, Eddie Romero, and Gerardo de León as personal icons from the 1970s, citing De Leon’s “soul-shattering, life-extinguishing” movies on vampires and female bondage, particularly Women in Cages. “It is just harsh, harsh, harsh,” he said, and described the final shot as one of “devastating despair”. Upon his arrival in the Philippines, Tarantino was quoted in the local newspaper as saying, “I’m a big fan of RP (Republic of the Philippines) cinema.”
Actor Steve Buscemi has described Tarantino’s different style of film making as “bursting with energy” and “focused,” a style that has earned him many accolades worldwide. According to Tarantino, a recurring hallmark in all his movies is that there is a different sense of humor in each one, which gets the audience to laugh at things that aren’t funny. Michael Winner, whilst appearing on an episode of Piers Morgan’s Life Stories (an ITV production), stated that Quentin Tarantino was a “big fan” of Death Wish.
Racial epithets in Tarantino’s work
Spike Lee questioned Tarantino’s use of racial epithets in his films, particularly the racially offensive epithet “nigger”. In a Variety interview discussing Jackie Brown, Lee said: “I’m not against the word… and I use it, but Quentin is infatuated with the word. What does he want? To be made an honorary black man?” Tarantino responded on Charlie Rose by stating:
As a writer, I demand the right to write any character in the world that I want to write. I demand the right to be them, I demand the right to think them and I demand the right to tell the truth as I see they are, all right?
And to say that I can’t do that because I’m white, but the Hughes brothers can do that because they’re black, that is racist. That is the heart of racism, all right. And I do not accept that … That is how a segment of the black community that lives in Compton, lives in Inglewood, where Jackie Brown takes place, that lives in Carson, that is how they talk. I’m telling the truth. It would not be questioned if I was black, and I resent the question because I’m white. I have the right to tell the truth. I do not have the right to lie.
In addition, Tarantino retaliated on The Howard Stern Show by stating Lee would have to “stand on a chair to kiss my ass.” Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in both directors’ films, defended Tarantino’s use of the word. At the Berlin Film Festival, where Jackie Brown was being screened, Jackson responded to Lee’s criticism by saying:
I don’t think the word is offensive in the context of this film … Black artists think they are the only ones allowed to use the word. Well, that’s bull. Jackie Brown is a wonderful homage to black exploitation films. This is a good film, and Spike hasn’t made one of those in a few years.
Tarantino has defended his use of the word, arguing that black audiences have an appreciation of his blaxploitation-influenced films that eludes some of his critics, and, indeed, that Jackie Brown, another oft-cited example, was primarily made for “black audiences”.
According to a 1995 Premiere magazine article, actor Denzel Washington also confronted Tarantino on his usage of racial slurs in his pictures, but mentioned that Tarantino was a “fine artist.”
Tarantino has said he was Influenced by these directors
Sergio Leone, Brian De Palma,Howard Hawks, John Woo,Jim Jarmusch, Jean-Luc Godard, Elmore Leonard,Samuel Fuller, Martin Scorsese, Enzo G. Castellari,David Lynch, Sam Peckinpah,Jack Hill, Douglas Sirk, Jean-Pierre Melville, Ralph Bakshi,Stanley Kubrick, Sergio Corbucci
Reservoir Dogs was given the Critic’s Award at the 4th Yubari International Fantastic Film Festival in 1993.
Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The film was nominated for seven Oscars, winning one for Best Original Screenplay, which was shared jointly by Tarantino and co-writer Roger Avary.
In 1996, Tarantino was nominated for a Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor in From Dusk till Dawn, but lost against Marlon Brando in The Island of Dr. Moreau.
In 2005, Quentin Tarantino won the Icon of the Decade Award at the 10th Empire Awards.
On August 15, 2007, Philippine president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo presented Tarantino with a lifetime achievement award at the Malacañan Palace in Manila.
In 2009, his film Inglourious Basterds was nominated for eight Oscars including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, winning one for Best Supporting Actor.
In March 2010, Tarantino was awarded the Order of Merit of the Hungarian Republic along with Lucy Liu and Andy Vajna for producing the 2006 movie Freedom’s Fury.
In February 2011, Tarantino received an honorary César from the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma.