Quentin Tarantino, the American writer, director, and actor has made a name for himself as a Hollywood legend who thrives on shock and controversy. His films tend to disgust and fuel his audiences as well as make them question their own morality … all by intention. In the world of cinema, nothing is without meaning. And Tarantino knows exactly what he’s doing.
His upcoming film (which is the 9th out of 10 movies that he vowed to make in his career) ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ hasn’t even come out yet and it’s already making a dent. In light of all that, here’s a list of all things Tarantino.
Even if you consider yourself a QT fan, you haven’t heard of all the things on this list.
Let’s start with the basics. His full name is Quentin Jerome Tarantino, and he’s of Italian, Irish and Cherokee ancestry. He’s 6ft 1 inch tall and has an IQ of 160. He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, the only child of Connie McHugh and Tony Tarantino. And he just recently became a married man for the first time at the age of 54!
Tarantino met 35-year-old Israeli singer and model Daniela Pick in 2009 while he was in Israel promoting his film Inglourious Basterds. They split but later reconnected in 2015 after ended his relationship with Kill Bill’s costume designer girlfriend Courtney Hoffman.
He Was Married to His Work
The marriage is a first for both Tarantino and Pick. In 2009, Tarantino explained why he chose not to get married up until now: “When I’m doing a movie, I’m not doing anything else. It’s all about the movie. I don’t have a wife. I don’t have a kid. Nothing can get in my way.”
His passion for film started at a young age. He even dropped out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City in Los Angeles school at the age of 16 to train as an actor at James Best Theatre Company. But he got bored after two years and dropped out of that, too.
He Worked at a Video Rental Store
Remember when we had to go to video rental stores to watch movies at home? Yeah, well, QT worked at one called Video Archives in Manhattan Beach in California for five years. He later said how he would observe what people would like to watch, and he claims that it really influenced his directorial choices.
At one point in his life, he considered becoming a novelist. He said that he wrote two chapters of a novel about his experiences working at the Video Archives rental store. He also worked as a recruiter in the aerospace industry.
The Start of His Career
Tarantino’s career started in the early 1990s when he became an independent filmmaker. His movie Reservoir Dogs came out in 1992, and it was funded by the money he earned from selling his script for Natural Born Killers to Oliver Stone.
The film was eventually called the “Greatest Independent Film of All Time” by Empire. Tarantino also co-wrote and directed a movie called My Best Friend’s Birthday in 1987, but the film reels were nearly destroyed in a fire. The screenplay went on to be the basis for True Romance (1993).
A Real Script Writer
Tarantino said that he writes two types of scripts: “Movie Movie” and “Realer than Real World.” He explained that those who live in the “Realer than Real World” universe would want to watch those in the “Movie Movie” universe.
His films in the “Movie Movie” genre are unrealistic, while the movies like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs can be categorized under “Realer than Real World.” And speaking of film scripts, did you know that Tarantino wrote Inglourious Basterds in between writing his films Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill movies?
He’s Also an Actor
Believe it or not, Tarantino has more acting credits than directing ones. To name a few: Desperado (pick-up guy), Grindhouse (Warren), Planet Terror, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained and Death Proof. He even played an Elvis impersonator in the comedy show The Golden Girls. And when he attended acting classes at the James Best Theater Company, he met some people who would later appear in his movies.
Tarantino seems to like to feature many of the same actors throughout his films, but Samuel L. Jackson is the most recognizable. He’s acted in five of his films so far.
Pulp Fiction Secrets
Tarantino likes to leave 20% of the movie ‘unseen.’ For example, choosing not to show you what’s in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction. He says this creates a sense that “the movie is really yours.” For those of you who loved the film, here are some fun facts…
All of the clocks in the pawn shop are set to 4:20. And the suit bought in Jackie Brown is the same as the one worn by Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman’s character). Oh, and the ‘Bad Mother F*cker’ wallet seen actually belonged to Quentin.
Some More Pulp Fiction Non-Fictions
The Band-Aid on Ving Rhame’s neck in the movie was not aesthetic: he had a shaving accident which Tarantino went with it. And Mr. Blonde’s (a character from Reservoir Dogs) real name is Vic Vega, which is the same surname as Vincent’s in Pulp Fiction.
Pulp Fiction has been mentioned by many critics as one of the best films of all time. Did you know that Tarantino was thanked in Nirvana’s “In Utero”? But his name was spelled differently. Later, Tarantino thanked Nirvana on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and included ‘RIP Kurt.’
Sports is Torture to Him
QT doesn’t like sports: “I don’t hang around pool halls. I don’t play poker. And I don’t go to sporting events. To me, torture would be watching sports on television. If I go to Dodger Stadium, that’s ok, because the game is secondary to the beer and the environment.”
“One thing I don’t understand is that average American movie-goers cannot watch a movie for three hours, yet they’ll watch a stupid, boring, horrific football game for four hours. Now, that is boredom at its most colossal.”
Not a Fan of Advertising
Tarantino is known for disapproving of brand placements in films and instead creates imaginary brands to replace them in his own. These include the infamous Kahuna burger, as well as Red Apple Cigarettes, G.O. Juice, Jack Rabbit Slims, and Teriyaki Donuts.
He’s quite eccentric as a filmmaker. The majority of his movies contain at least one scene involving women’s feet and has said in an interview that he enjoys filming feet. Also, all of his feature films include scenes set in restaurants.
From Rags to Riches
When you have as much money as he does, you can afford to not have ad placements. He’s now reportedly worth $90million. Amazingly, he used to be so poor he couldn’t pay for his parking tickets and had to serve time for it!
He said: “I was actually in jail three different times for tickets. I was picking up some dialogue, but I wasn’t in there for that. It was easier when you’re broke to do the time.”
Rumor has it that Tarantino is working on a Trilogy. We’ve already seen the first two: Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained which are the first parts of a movie trilogy based on revenge. Apparently, the third movie is rumored to be called Black Crow.
The basis of the plot of Black Crow will reportedly be taken from a plotline removed from Inglourious Basterds. Quentin sure has made an impact in the film industry. In December 2015, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
His Mom Was no Prude
Tarantino’s mother wasn’t like other moms. She would let him watch movies with adult content, such as Carnal Knowledge and Deliverance when he was young. It might have even shaped his future taste in movies. And perhaps his work…
When he was a teenager, he got a job ushering at an adult theater in Torrance, called the Pussycat Theater. He got the job only because he lied about his age.
His Early Scripts
When Quentin was 14 years old, he wrote one of his earliest works, a screenplay called “Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit,” where a thief steals pizzas from a pizzeria. Then the summer after his 15th birthday, his mother actually disciplined him…
Tarantino was grounded for shoplifting Elmore Leonard’s novel “The Switch from Kmart.” He was only allowed to leave the house to go to the Torrance Community Theater, where he participated in plays like Romeo and Juliet.
Some Early Acting Gigs
Let’s not forget that Quentin also is an actor. He was named for Quint Asper, Burt Reynolds’ character in the CBS series Gunsmoke. Remember we told you that he played in an episode of Golden Girls? Well, he played one of a group of Elvis impersonators in Sophia’s Wedding: Part 1.
It was broadcast on November 19, 1988. Tarantino has also turned down gigs. Not for acting, but for directing. He was offered the job of directing Men in Black but decided to turn it down. The reason isn’t known.
Leo Asked for the Role
Leonardo DiCaprio actually requested to play the role of Calvin Candie in Django Unchained and Tarantino re-wrote the character to become younger to accommodate him. He said in an interview: “He got [the script] and really liked Calvin Candie. Leo was younger than I had initially written, but I read it again and could see no reason why the character couldn’t be younger.”
“And since I’m hitting hard this notion of the American South re-creating European aristocracy in this amateur make-it-up-as-you-go-along fashion, the nothing of him as the boy emperor was cool.”
Speaking of Leo…
Tarantino has spoken about his hatred of racism, and he claimed that Calvin Candie, the central villain in Django Unchained played by DiCaprio, is the only character he’s written that he’s hated. He’s said: “I hated Candie and I normally like my villains no matter how bad they are. I can see their point of view.”
“I could see his point of view, but I hated it so much. For the first time as a writer, I just f*#$ing hated this guy.” Tarantino has been friends with DiCaprio for around 15 years and during this time has sent his a script of his latest films “just in case” he wanted to act in them.
Quentin has won an equal amount of awards for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained; five for each film.
He has won two Academy Awards – both for Best Writing Original Screenplay – Pulp Fiction (1994) and Django Unchained (2012), one Cannes Film Festival award (Palme d’Or) for Pulp Fiction, three BAFTA’s and several other awards, mainly for his screenwriting.
Tarantino has said that he plans to retire from filmmaking at the age of 60 to focus on novel and film literature writing. Here’s a strange but true fact: Despite using both elements in his movies, he strongly despises violence and drugs.
Quentin was supposed to direct an episode of The X-Files but refused to join the Director’s Guild of America. The Guild refused his request for a waiver so that he could direct the series. So that never ended up happening.
But he does have some hopes for a directing project before he retires. He said that he enjoys the James Bond films and that he would like to direct one at some point. He’s only got a few years left if he wants to retire by 60!
He Directed an Episode of ER
He directed an episode of ER called ‘Motherhood’ in 1994. He said: “I didn’t want to stand out. Everyone else was wearing all that crap. I wanted to fit in. I didn’t want to be the odd man out. I wanted to be inside, not on the outside. When I was directing the ER thing, the emergency room guys wore the green scrubs. I wore those for a few days. Then, I wore the blue scrubs, which were the surgeons’, for a few days.”
“When I wore the nurse’s pink scrubs, though, that’s when I became a hero on the set. The nurses didn’t think I was going to throw in with them. I ended the episode, the last two days, wearing the nurses’ scrubs. When I walked on the set, all the nurses applauded me.”
A Band Apart Records
Tarantino and Lawrence Bender founded a record company called A Band Apart Records back in the day. It focused on film soundtracks, and its releases were distributed through Maverick Records, which was owned by Madonna.
Speaking of Madonna, after watching Reservoir Dogs, Madonna, who was the subject of the opening dialogue, sent Tarantino a copy of her “Erotica” album with the message “To Quentin. It’s not about d*$%; it’s about love. Madonna.”
Kill Bill Soundtrack
Quentin’s friend Robert Rodriguez scored the soundtrack for Kill Bill for $1! In return, Tarantino directed a scene in Rodriguez’s film Sin City for the same price. That’s what friends are for right?
Were you a fan of Kill Bill? QT insisted the blood effects used in the movie were the same used by Chang Cheh, a pioneer of Chinese cinema: they were small bags filled with fake blood that burst upon impact. Over 450 gallons on fake blood were used in both Kill Bill films.
He Likes Realism
When he said that “realer than real world” was the type of film he likes to make, he wasn’t joking. Even when it comes to blood in his films, he wants to be as realistic as possible. On the set of Reservoir Dogs, he went through unique measures to ensure it was realistic.
A paramedic was kept on the set of Reservoir Dogs to ensure that the amount and consistency of Mr. Orange’s blood loss were realistic. A paramedic would know more than he would, that’s for sure.
With the exception of Death Proof, all of his movies feature actors from Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets. And in all of his original screenplays, the name of a police detective named Scagnetti is referred to at least once. But many times, that particular scene was cut out of the final versions.
If you’ve seen Death Proof, then you might be amused to know that the actual film was physically scratched to achieve a ‘dirty’ aesthetic. And remember the yellow truck from Kill Bill? He regularly drives around Malibu in it.
He was close to Uma Thurman, and the next slide will show you how much so…
He Refused to Recast Her
Tarantino delayed the production of Kill Bill: Vol. 1 for a few months when Uma Thurman became pregnant. He refused to recast her, as he had written the role specifically for her, based on an idea the two conceived on the set of Pulp Fiction.
QT is quite a loyal friend. Despite the constant comparison between him and director Paul Thomas Anderson, he considers his fellow director to be one of his best friends. In fact, Tarantino has praised Anderson’s work, calling him a “filmmaking artist.”
More Fun Facts
We bet you didn’t know that Quentin was production assistant for a workout video by Dolph Lundgren called “Maximum Potential.” It only sounds like a parody scene that he would feature in one of his films!
Another fun fact is that he likes to collect old board games having to do with television series as I Dream of Jeannie, The Dukes of Hazzard and The A-Team. Everyone has hobbies. So why can’t a filmmaker obsess with gore be a fan of board games too?
He Prefers Film
Quentin has shown a real dislike of the digitalization of the film industry. He’s stated: “If it actually gets to the place where you can’t show 35mm film in theatres anymore, and everything is a digital projection, I won’t even make it to 60.”
Tarantino views the current state of the movie industry lacking. He shot The Hateful Eight with 70mm film. It looks like the debate on film vs. digital isn’t going to end anytime soon. Both methods can produce an amazing film.
He Got Robbed
Quentin Tarantino reportedly fought off two burglars who broke into his Hollywood home recently. Apparently, he had been resting at home on a Sunday night when two men attempted to rob him.
Law enforcement claimed Tarantino confronted the two thieves who fled after stealing his jewelry. He isn’t the only one victim to home invasions in the last year, with rappers Wiz Khalifa and Post Malone, as well as Bella Thorne, all reported their properties were robbed.
Um Thurman’s Daughter Will be in His Next Film
Maya Hawke, the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke, has been cast in Tarantino’s next film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. The cast of the film is nothing short of star-studded, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Al Pacino.
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is set in 1969 Los Angeles and follows struggling stars Rick Dalton (DiCaprio), the former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Pitt). Judging by his previous work, this film is going to be a surefire hit.
Let’s go through some lesser-known facts about your favorite Tarantino movies…
The Meaning of Reservoir Dogs
There were rumors about what “reservoir dogs” really means. At one point, Tarantino told potential investors that it was a gangster term from French films like Breathless and Bande à Parte and that it meant “rat.”
But it wasn’t true, Tarantino just knew that investors would want an explanation for the title. The truth is Tarantino has never given a clear explanation for the title. So people should just stop asking him.
The Concept of Death Proof
Apparently, the idea behind the movie grew out of his desire to buy a Volvo. In a 2007 interview, Tarantino explained: “About 10 years ago, I was talking to a friend about getting a car. And I wanted to get a Volvo because I wanted a really safe car. I remember thinking that I didn’t want to die in some auto accident like the one in Pulp Fiction.”
“So I was talking to my friend about this, and he said, ‘Well, you could take any car and give it to a stunt team, and for $10,000 or $15,000, they can death-proof it for you.’ Well, that phrase ‘death proof’ kinda stuck in my head.”
From Dusk Till Dawn Was His First Paid Writing Gig
Tarantino wrote the script for the film, and his friend Robert Rodriguez directed it. He got paid for $1,500 for the script. He wrote the From Dusk Till Dawn as a way to showcase the talents of a special effects company called KNB.
In return, KNB agreed to provide the special effects for the “ear scene” in Reservoir Dogs free of charge. And we all know which scene that was. Remember how he had a paramedic on set? That was a major scene that needed realistic amounts of blood.
He Directed Reservoir Dogs Because Tony Scott Didn’t
Apparently, QT was willing to give up the directing role for Reservoir Dogs. Because he was still new to the business, Tarantino knew he couldn’t direct both True Romance and Reservoir Dogs. So he gave both scripts to Tony Scott and told him to pick one.
Tony Scott actually likes both of the films and wanted to direct both. But he ended up choosing True Romance, leaving Tarantino to make Reservoir Dogs. Although we’ll never know how it would have turned out, we’re glad QT directed it.
You Can Watch Pulp Fiction Chronologically
Well, kind of. The narrative structure of the movie doesn’t play in chronological sequence, but it’s easy enough to break it down into seven distinct sections (a prologue, an epilogue, two preludes, and three large segments).
That said, it can then be re-ordered into a chronological narrative if you really want to. And it looks like someone already has and made the infographic you see here to explain, to every little detail, how to do it.
Word Got Out
Tarantino gave a copy of The Hateful Eight script to only a few people in his inner circle. But one of the scripts got leaked and was eventually posted in its full version online. Subsequently, Tarantino stopped the project and filed a lawsuit against the company that leaked it.
He later changed his mind and decided to go through with making the movie. It’s also really long, at 3 hours and 7 minutes. It’s one of Tarantino’s longest movies to date. Those in the theatre probably went for popcorn refills.
No Second Take Needed
In Django Unchained, when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Calvin Candie smashes his hand onto the dinner table, he accidentally crushed a small stemmed glass with his palm and really started bleeding. DiCaprio ignored it (being the stellar actor he is), finished the scene, and it was that take that made the final cut.
During the filming of another scene, DiCaprio had to stop because he was too uncomfortable with all the racial slurs being used. Samuel L. Jackson took him aside and told him, “Mother&$#er, this is just another Tuesday for us.”
Michael Fassbender Can Hide His Britishness
In Inglourious Basterds, Michael Fassbender plays Lt. Archie Hilcox, an Englishman who goes undercover as a German and is discovered because he cannot hide his Britishness. Fassbender was born in Germany, raised in Ireland, and resides in London.
German is actually his first language, and English is his second. He’s also a master of English accents and dialects. Talk about an ironic role to play for an actor of such talents!
Better Late Than Never
Vincent Vega’s 1964 Chevelle Malibu in the movie Pulp Fiction was stolen after finishing the shoot, and it wasn’t found until nearly two decades later! Two cops found a pair of kids stripping an older car and, after matching the Vehicle Identification Number, found out it was Tarantino’s car.
By the way, Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction contain some pretty vulgar language, with 269 and 265 uses of the F-word respectively. Pulp Fiction took the F-word crown for the year 1994, that’s for sure.
While Tarantino was trying to get Reservoir Dogs made, he and his co-producer received some interesting offers. One producer offered $1.6 million, but only if the ending was changed, so everybody came back to life.
Another producer offered $500,000 on the condition that his girlfriend got to play Mr. Blonde. And believe it or not, his idea was so bizarre that Tarantino actually considered it. But, of course, it didn’t end up happening.
Love or Hate
Love him or hate; his movies are hard to forget and make a lasting impression on viewers and critics alike. In 2005, Tarantino was included on the annual Time’s 100 list of the most influential people in the world (placed at the 42 spot).
And filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich referred to Tarantino as “the single most influential director of his generation.”