Quentin Jerome Tarantino (; born March 27, 1963) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, author, film critic, and actor. His films are characterized by nonlinear storylines, dark humor, stylized violence, extended dialogue, ensemble casts, references to popular culture, alternate history, and neo-noir.
Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tarantino grew up in Los Angeles. He began his career as an independent filmmaker with the release of Reservoir Dogs in 1992, a crime thriller film which was in part funded by money from the sale of his screenplay True Romance (1993). Empire magazine hailed Reservoir Dogs as the "Greatest Independent Film of All Time". His second film, Pulp Fiction (1994), a crime comedy, was a major success among critics and audiences and won him numerous awards, including the Palme d'Or and the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. He wrote the screenplay for the horror comedy film From Dusk till Dawn (1996), in which he also starred. Tarantino paid homage to the blaxploitation films of the 1970s with Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch.
In 2003, Tarantino delivered Kill Bill: Volume 1, a stylized "revenge flick" in the cinematic traditions of kung fu films and Japanese martial arts; Volume 2 followed in 2004. Tarantino next directed the exploitation slasher film Death Proof (2007), part of a double feature with Robert Rodriguez released in the tradition of 1970s grindhouse cinema, under the collective title Grindhouse. His long-postponed Inglourious Basterds (2009) tells an alternate history of Allied forces in Nazi-occupied France, and was released to favorable reviews; it was followed by Django Unchained (2012), a Spaghetti Western set in the Antebellum South, to further critical favor, winning him his second Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. His next film, The Hateful Eight (2015), was a long-form Western initially screened in a 70 mm roadshow theatrical release. His most recent film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019), recounts an alternate history of events surrounding the Tate–LaBianca murders. He published his first novel, a novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, in 2021.
Tarantino's films have garnered critical and commercial success, and a cult following. He has received many industry awards, including two Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, four Golden Globe Awards, and the Palme d'Or, and has been nominated for an Emmy and five Grammys. In 2005, he was included on the annual Time 100 list of the most influential people in the world. Filmmaker and historian Peter Bogdanovich has called him "the single most influential director of his generation". In December 2015, Tarantino received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contributions to the film industry. His works and personal conduct have also been the subject of controversy due to his depictions of violence, with Django Unchained described by The Independent as "the new sadism in cinema", criticisms of what is considered an excessive use of racial slurs, as well as his professional relationship with convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein and alleged negligence in his handling of stunt scenes in Kill Bill: Volume 1.
Tarantino was born on March 27, 1963, in Knoxville, Tennessee, the only child of Connie McHugh and aspiring actor Tony Tarantino, who left the family before his son's birth. His father is of Italian descent, and his mother has Cherokee and Irish ancestry. He was named in part for Quint Asper, Burt Reynolds' character in the CBS series Gunsmoke. Tarantino's mother met his father during a trip to Los Angeles, where Tony was a law student and would-be entertainer. After a brief marriage and divorce, Connie Tarantino left Los Angeles and moved to Knoxville, where her parents lived. In 1966, Tarantino and his mother returned to Los Angeles.
Tarantino's mother married musician Curtis Zastoupil soon after arriving in Los Angeles, and the family moved to Torrance, a city in Los Angeles County's South Bay area. Zastoupil encouraged Tarantino's love of movies, and accompanied him to numerous film screenings. Tarantino's mother allowed him to see movies with adult content, such as Carnal Knowledge (1971) and Deliverance (1972). After his mother divorced Zastoupil in 1973, and received a misdiagnosis of Hodgkin's lymphoma, Tarantino was sent to live with his grandparents in Tennessee. He remained there less than a year before returning to California.
Late 1970s to 1988: Education, first jobs, and early projects
At 14 years old, Tarantino wrote one of his earliest works, a screenplay called Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit, based on Hal Needham's 1977 film Smokey and the Bandit starring Burt Reynolds. The summer after his 15th birthday, Tarantino was grounded by his mother for shoplifting Elmore Leonard's novel The Switch from Kmart. He was allowed to leave only to attend the Torrance Community Theater, where he participated in such plays as Two Plus Two Makes Sex and Romeo and Juliet. At age 15, Tarantino dropped out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, Los Angeles. He then worked as an usher at an adult movie theater in Torrance, called the Pussycat Theater. Later, Tarantino attended acting classes at the James Best Theatre Company, where he met several of his eventual collaborators. While at James Best, Tarantino also met Craig Hamann, with whom he would collaborate to produce his first film in 1987.
Throughout the 1980s, Tarantino had a number of jobs. He spent time as a recruiter in the aerospace industry, and for five years he worked at Video Archives, a video store in Manhattan Beach, California. Actor Danny Strong describes Tarantino as "such a movie buff. He had so much knowledge of films that he would try to get people to watch really cool movies."[a] After meeting at a Hollywood party, Lawrence Bender encouraged Tarantino to write a screenplay. His first attempt on a script, which he described as a "straight 70s exploitation action movie", was never published and was abandoned soon after. In 1987, Tarantino co-wrote and directed his first film, My Best Friend's Birthday (1987). It was left uncompleted, but its screenplay later formed the basis for True Romance.
In 1986, Tarantino was employed in his first Hollywood job, working with Roger Avary as production assistants on Dolph Lundgren's exercise video, Maximum Potential. The following year, he played an Elvis impersonator in "Sophia's Wedding: Part 1", an episode in the fourth season of The Golden Girls, which was broadcast on November 19, 1988. Tarantino recalled in 2020 that the pay he received from that part helped finance Reservoir Dogs; he estimated he initially was paid about $600, but since the episode was frequently rerun because it was on a "best of..." lineup, he received about $3,000 in residuals over three years.
Tarantino received his first paid writing assignment in the early 1990s when Robert Kurtzman hired him to write the script for From Dusk till Dawn.
In January 1992, Tarantino's neo-noir crime thriller Reservoir Dogs—which he wrote, directed, and acted in as Mr. Brown—was screened at the Sundance Film Festival. It was an immediate hit, with the film receiving a positive response from critics. The dialogue-driven heist film set the tone for Tarantino's later films. Tarantino wrote the script for the film in three-and-a-half weeks and Bender forwarded it to director Monte Hellman. Hellman helped Tarantino to secure funding from Richard N. Gladstein at Live Entertainment (which later became Artisan, now known as Lionsgate). Harvey Keitel read the script and also contributed to the budget, taking a role as co-producer and also playing a major part in the picture.
Tarantino's screenplay True Romance was optioned and the film was eventually released in 1993. The second script that Tarantino sold was for the film Natural Born Killers, which was revised by Dave Veloz, Richard Rutowski and director Oliver Stone. Tarantino was given story credit and stated in an interview that he wished the film well, but later disowned the final film. The film engendered enmity, and the publication of a "tell-all" book titled Killer Instinct by Jane Hamsher—who, with Don Murphy, had an original option on the screenplay and produced the film—led to Tarantino physically assaulting Murphy in the AGO restaurant in West Hollywood, California in October 1997. Murphy subsequently filed a $5 million lawsuit against Tarantino; the case ended with the judge ordering Tarantino to pay Murphy $450. Tarantino was also an uncredited screenwriter on both Crimson Tide (1995) and The Rock (1996).
Following the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino was approached by Hollywood and offered numerous projects, including Speed (1994) and Men in Black (1997), but he instead retreated to Amsterdam to work on his script for Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino wrote, directed, and acted in the black comedy crime film Pulp Fiction in 1994, maintaining the aestheticization of violence for which he is known, as well as his non-linear storylines. Tarantino received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, which he shared with Roger Avary, who contributed to the story. He also received a nomination in the Best Director category. The film received another five nominations, including for Best Picture. Tarantino also won the Palme d'Or for the film at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival. The film grossed over $200 million and earned positive reviews.
In 1995, Tarantino participated in the anthology film Four Rooms, a collaboration that also included directors Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell. Tarantino directed and acted in the fourth segment of "The Man from Hollywood", a tribute to the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Man from the South". He re-teamed with Rodriguez later in the year with a supporting role in Desperado, while in 1996 From Dusk till Dawn was finally released with Rodriguez directing and Tarantino in a minor role alongside Keitel, George Clooney, and Juliette Lewis.
His third feature film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who starred in many of the films of that genre in the 1970s. It received positive reviews and was called a "comeback" for Grier and co-star Robert Forster. Leonard considered Jackie Brown to be his favorite of the 26 different screen adaptations of his novels and short stories.
In 1998, Tarantino made his major Broadway stage debut as an amoral psycho killer in a revival of the 1966 play Wait Until Dark, which received unfavorable reviews from critics, but his star power ensured a nearly sold-out production for its limited, 16-week Broadway run. In December 1999, Tarantino was attached to a film adaptation of the Marvel comic Iron Man for New Line Cinema. Nothing came of the project. Throughout the 1990s, Tarantino had a number of minor acting roles, including in Eddie Presley (1992), The Coriolis Effect (1994), Sleep With Me (1994), Somebody to Love (1994), All-American Girl (1995), Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995), Desperado (1995), From Dusk till Dawn (1996), and Girl 6 (1996). He also starred in Steven Spielberg's Director's Chair, a simulation video game that uses pre-generated film clips.
2000s: Subsequent success
Tarantino had planned to start work on Inglourious Basterds, as it was provisionally titled, but postponed this to write and direct Kill Bill, 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 originally set for a single theatrical release, but its 4-hour running time prompted Tarantino to divide it into two movies. Tarantino says he still considers it a single film in his overall filmography. Volume 1 was released in late 2003 and Volume 2 was released in 2004. It was based on a character called The Bride and a plot that he and Kill Bill's lead actress Uma Thurman had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction.
From 2002 to 2004, Tarantino portrayed villain McKenas Cole in the ABC television series Alias. In 2002, while in negotiations with Lucy Liu for Kill Bill, the two helped produce the Hungarian sports documentary Freedom's Fury. When Tarantino was approached about a documentary about the Blood in the Water match, he said "This is the best story I've ever been told. I'd love to be involved".
In 2004, Tarantino attended the 2004 Cannes Film Festival, where he served as President of the Jury. Although Kill Bill was not in competition, Vol. 2 had an evening screening, and 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 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.
In May 2005, Tarantino co-wrote and directed "Grave Danger", the fifth season finale of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. For this episode, Tarantino was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series at the 57th Primetime Emmy Awards. Tarantino's 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. Box-office sales were low but the film garnered mostly positive reviews.
Tarantino's film Inglourious Basterds, released in 2009, is the story of a group of Jewish-American guerrilla 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 reached the #1 spot at the box office worldwide. It went on to become Tarantino's highest-grossing film until it was surpassed by Django Unchained three years later. For the film, Tarantino received his second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Director and Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.
2010s: Established auteur
Tarantino at the French premiere of Django Unchained
on January 7, 2013
In 2011, production began on Django Unchained, a film about the revenge of a former slave in the U.S. South in 1858. The film stemmed from Tarantino's desire to produce a Spaghetti Western set in America's Deep South. Tarantino 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". The film was released on December 25, 2012. In an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on Channel 4 News, Tarantino reacted angrily when, in light of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, he was questioned about an alleged link between movie violence and real-life violence, and informed Guru-Murthy he was "shutting [his] butt down". Tarantino further defied the journalist, saying: "I refuse your question. I'm not your slave and you're not my master. You can't make me dance to your tune. I'm not a monkey."
In November 2013, Tarantino said he was working on a new film and that it would be another Western. He stated that it would not be a sequel to Django. On January 12, 2014, it was revealed that the film would be titled The Hateful Eight. Production of the Western would most likely have begun in the summer of 2014, but after the script for the film leaked in January 2014, Tarantino considered dropping the movie and publishing it as a novel instead. He stated that he had given the script to a few trusted colleagues, including Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen.
On April 19, 2014, Tarantino directed a live reading of the leaked script at the United Artists Theater in the Ace Hotel Los Angeles. The event was organized by the Film Independent at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, as part of the Live Read series. Tarantino explained that they would read the first draft of the script, and added that he was writing two new drafts with a different ending. The actors who joined Tarantino included Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Amber Tamblyn, James Parks, Walton Goggins, and the first three actors to be given the script before the leak: Bruce Dern, Tim Roth and Michael Madsen. In October 2014, Jennifer Jason Leigh was in talks to play the female lead in the film. Leigh, Channing Tatum, and Demián Bichir joined the cast in November.
The Hateful Eight was released on December 25, 2015, as a roadshow presentation in 70 mm film-format theaters, before being released in digital theaters on December 30, 2015. Tarantino narrated several scenes in the film. He edited two versions of the film, one for the roadshow version and the other for general release. The roadshow version runs for three hours and two minutes, and includes an overture and intermission, after the fashion of big-budget films of the 1960s and early 1970s; the general release is six minutes shorter and contains alternate takes of some scenes. Tarantino has stated that the general release cut was created as he felt that some of the footage he shot for 70 mm would not play well on smaller screens. The film has received mostly positive reviews from critics, with a score of 74% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.
On July 11, 2017, it was reported that Tarantino's next project would be a film about the Manson Family murders. In February 2018, it was announced that the film's title would be Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and that Leonardo DiCaprio would play Rick Dalton, a fictional star of television Westerns, with Brad Pitt as Dalton's longtime stunt double Cliff Booth. Tarantino wrote the screenplay for the film. Margot Robbie also starred as real life actress Sharon Tate, portrayed as Dalton's next-door neighbor. Among the film's supporting cast were Timothy Olyphant, Kurt Russell, Michael Madsen and Al Pacino. Filming took place in the summer of 2018. In wake of the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations, Tarantino severed ties to The Weinstein Company permanently and sought a new distributor after working with Weinstein for his entire career. The film officially premiered at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival, where it was in competition for the Palme d'Or. It received positive reviews at the festival, with praise for DiCaprio, Pitt and Robbie, although reactions were mixed regarding the ending of the film. It received a seven-minute standing ovation, although it did not win in any category. Sony Pictures distributed the film, which was theatrically released on July 26, 2019.
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 often 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 number-one opening at the box office and earning $53.5 million. In 2006, another "Quentin Tarantino presents" production, Hostel, opened at number one at the box office with a $20.1 million opening weekend. 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 to release or re-release several independent and foreign features. By 1997, Miramax had shut down the company due to poor sales. 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).
In June 2020 Tarantino became an officially recognized critic on the critique review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes. His reviews are part of the "Tomatometer" rating. He is also currently writing a book of film critiques.
Unproduced and potential films
Early on in his career, Tarantino considered filming comic book adaptations. In the early 1990s, while fresh from his critical success with Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino came to Constantin Productions with a script for a Silver Surfer film, but was turned-away. Following the release of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino considered making a film adaptation of Luke Cage, but chose to make Pulp Fiction instead. In the late 1990s, he was offered to direct a film adaptation of Green Lantern before there was even a script, but Tarantino declined the offer. In 1999, Quentin Tarantino was also linked to a live-action Iron Man film, as director and writer.
Before Inglourious Basterds, 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. 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 television, 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: Volume 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. In a 2012 interview for the website We Got This Covered, Tarantino said that a third Kill Bill film would "probably not" happen.
He also said that he would not be directing a new James Bond film, saying that he was only interested in directing Casino Royale at one point. Sometime in that same year he was asked about the Kill Bill films, he stated that he was a huge fan of Simon Pegg, and sought to adapt the Len Deighton novels into a film starring Pegg, Kate Winslet, Michael Caine, and Anthony Hopkins.
In a late 2012 interview with the online magazine The Root, Tarantino clarified his remarks and described his next film as being the final entry in a "Django-Inglourious Basterds" trilogy called Killer Crow. The film will depict a group of World War II-era black troops who have "been fucked over by the American military and kind of go apeshit. They basically – the way Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an 'Apache resistance' – [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland."
A long-running rumor in the industry is that Tarantino is interested in filming a new version of Bret Easton Ellis's 1985 novel Less Than Zero. His friend Roger Avary adapted The Rules of Attraction, another novel by Ellis, to film in 2002, and since both he and Tarantino like the works by Ellis, Tarantino has been eyeing the possibility of adapting Less Than Zero. Ellis confirmed in a 2010 interview that Tarantino had been "trying to get Fox to let him remake it". In 2012, when asked whether Less Than Zero would be remade, Ellis once again confirmed that Tarantino "has shown interest" in adapting the story. At the San Diego Comic-Con in 2014, Tarantino revealed he is contemplating a possible science-fiction film. In November 2014, Tarantino said he would retire from films after directing his tenth film.
In November 2017, Tarantino and J. J. Abrams pitched an idea for a Star Trek film with Abrams assembling a writers room. If both approve of the script, Tarantino will direct and Abrams will produce the film. Mark L. Smith was hired to write the screenplay the same month. In January 2020, Tarantino stated the film might be made, but he would not direct it. In June 2019, Tarantino picked Jerrod Carmichael to co-write a film adaptation based on the Django/Zorro crossover comic book series.
In 2020, Tarantino signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins. He published his first novel in June 2021, a novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. It received positive reviews from The New York Times and The Guardian. The second book he will publish under the deal will be about films of the 1970's inspired by film critic, Pauline Kael.
Influences and style of filmmaking
In the 2012 Sight & Sound directors' poll, Tarantino listed his top 12 films: Apocalypse Now, The Bad News Bears, Carrie, Dazed and Confused, The Great Escape, His Girl Friday, Jaws, Pretty Maids All in a Row, Rolling Thunder, Sorcerer, Taxi Driver and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, with the last being his favorite. Sergio Leone was a profound influence. 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 2020, Tarantino named David Fincher's film The Social Network his favorite movie of the 2010s. He is also a fan of the 1981 film Blow Out, directed by Brian De Palma, which led to his casting of John Travolta in Pulp Fiction. Tarantino praised Mel Gibson's 2006 film Apocalypto, saying, "I think it's a masterpiece. It was perhaps the best film of that year." Tarantino has also labeled Rio Bravo as another one of his favorites numerous times. He listed the Australian suspense film Roadgames (1981) as another favorite film. Tarantino is also a noted fan of Elaine May's 1987 film Ishtar, despite its reputation as being a notorious box-office flop and one of the worst films ever made.
In August 2007, while teaching in a four-hour film course during the 9th Cinemanila International Film Festival in Manila, Tarantino cited Filipino directors Cirio H. Santiago, Eddie Romero and Gerardo de León as personal icons from the 1970s. He referred to De Leon's "soul-shattering, life-extinguishing" movies on vampires and female bondage, citing in particular 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."
Tarantino's films often feature graphic violence, a tendency which has sometimes been criticized. Reservoir Dogs was initially denied United Kingdom certification because of his use of torture as entertainment. Tarantino has frequently defended his use of violence, saying that "violence is so good. It affects audiences in a big way". Tarantino has stated that the celebrated animation-action sequence in Kill Bill: Volume 1 was inspired by the use of 2D animated sequences in actor Kamal Haasan's Tamil film Aalavandhan. He often blends esthetics elements, in tribute to his favorite films and filmmakers. In Kill Bill, he melds comic strip formulas and esthetics within a live action film sequence, in some cases by the literal use of cartoon or anime images.
Tarantino has also occasionally used a nonlinear story structure in his films, most notably with Pulp Fiction. He has also used the style in Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill, and The Hateful Eight. Tarantino's script for True Romance was originally told in a nonlinear style, before director Tony Scott decided to use a more linear approach. Critics have since referred to the use of this shifting timeline in films as the "Tarantino Effect". Actor Steve Buscemi has described Tarantino's novel style of filmmaking as "bursting with energy" and "focused". According to Tarantino, a hallmark of all his movies is that there is a different sense of humor in each one, which prompts the viewer to laugh at scenes that are not funny. However, he insists that his films are dramas, not comedies.
He also creates his own products and brands that he uses in his films to varying degrees. His own fictional brands, including "Acuña Boys Tex-Mex Food", "Big Kahuna Burger", "G.O. Juice", "Jack Rabbit Slim's", "K-Billy", "Red Apple cigarettes", "Tenku Brand Beer" and "Teriyaki Donut", replace the use of product placement, sometimes to a humorous extent. Tarantino is also known for his choice of music in his films, including soundtracks that often use songs from the 1960s and 70s. In 2011, he was recognized at the 16th Critics' Choice Awards with the inaugural Music+Film Award.
On the biopic genre, Tarantino has said that he has "no respect" for biopics, saying that they "are just big excuses for actors to win Oscars. ... Even the most interesting person – if you are telling their life from beginning to end, it's going to be a fucking boring movie." However, in an interview with Charlie Rose, he said, "There is one story that I could be interested in, but it would probably be one of the last movies I [ever make] ... My favorite hero in American history is John Brown. He's my favorite American who ever lived. He basically single-handedly started the road to end slavery and ... he killed people to do it. He decided, 'If we start spilling white blood, then they're going to start getting the idea.'"
Tarantino has stated in many interviews that his writing process is like writing a novel before formatting it into a script, saying that this creates the blueprint of the film and makes the film feel like literature. About his writing process he told website The Talks, "[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behavior, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it. ... when I go and write my new characters, my pen is like an antenna, it gets that information, and all of a sudden these characters come out more or less fully formed. I don't write their dialogue, I get them talking to each other." In 2013, a survey of seven academics was carried out to discover which filmmakers had been referenced the most in essays and dissertations on film that had been marked in the previous five years. It revealed that Tarantino was the most-studied director in the United Kingdom, ahead of Christopher Nolan, Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Tarantino said that he does not believe that violence in film inspires real acts of violence. After the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, NRA Chief Executive Wayne LaPierre accused him of being insensitive to the event. In an interview with Terry Gross, Tarantino expressed "annoyance" at the suggestion that there is a link between the two, saying, "I think it's disrespectful to [the] memory of those who died to talk about movies ... Obviously the issue is gun control and mental health." Soon after, in response to a Hollywood PSA video titled "Demand a Plan", which featured celebrities rallying for gun control legislation, a pro-gun group used scenes from Tarantino's film Django Unchained to label celebrities as "hypocrites" for appearing in violent movies.
In 1997, Spike Lee questioned Tarantino's use of racial slurs in his films, especially the word "nigger" and "gooks", particularly in Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. In a Variety interview discussing Jackie Brown, Lee said, "I'm not against the word ... And some people speak that way, But Quentin is infatuated with that word... I want Quentin to know that all African Americans do not think that word is trendy or slick."". Tarantino responded on The Charlie Rose Show 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 that Lee would have to "stand on a chair to kiss [his] 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 was primarily made for "black audiences".
Django Unchained was the subject of controversy because of its use of racial slurs and depiction of slavery. Reviewers have defended the use of the language by pointing out the historic context of race and slavery in America. Lee, in an interview with Vibe magazine, said that he would not see the film, explaining, "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me ... I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else." Lee later tweeted, "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them." Writing in the Los Angeles Times, journalist Erin Aubry Kaplan noted the difference between Tarantino's Jackie Brown and Django Unchained: "It is an institution whose horrors need no exaggerating, yet Django does exactly that, either to enlighten or entertain. A white director slinging around the n-word in a homage to '70s blaxploitation à la Jackie Brown is one thing, but the same director turning the savageness of slavery into pulp fiction is quite another".
On October 18, 2017, Tarantino gave an interview discussing sexual harassment and assault allegations against producer Harvey Weinstein. Tarantino said his girlfriend Mira Sorvino told him in the mid-1990s about her experience with Weinstein. Tarantino confronted Weinstein at the time and received an apology. Tarantino said: "What I did was marginalize the incidents. I knew enough to do more than I did."
On February 3, 2018, in an interview with The New York Times, Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill actress Uma Thurman said Weinstein sexually assaulted her, and that she had reported this to Tarantino. Tarantino said he confronted Weinstein, as he had previously when Weinstein made advances on his former partner, demanded he apologize and banned him from contact with Thurman for the rest of production. In a June 2021 interview on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast, Tarantino admitted his regret over not pressing Weinstein further, saying he did not know the extent of his misconduct before the 2017 scandal. He remarked on his "sad" view of his past relationship with Weinstein, saying he once looked up to him for fostering his career and describing him as "a fucked up father figure".
Kill Bill car crash
Uma Thurman was in a serious car accident on the set of Kill Bill because Tarantino had insisted she perform her own driving stunts. Tarantino said he did not force her to do the stunt. Though Thurman said the incident was "negligent to the point of criminality", she did not believe Tarantino had "malicious intent".
In 2019, Shannon Lee, daughter of Bruce Lee, called his depiction in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood disheartening and inaccurate. Tarantino said: "Bruce Lee was kind of an arrogant guy. The way he was talking, I didn't just make a lot of that up."
As a child, Tarantino was a fan of the early eras of Marvel Comics, particularly those that were written by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and is an admitted fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In a December 2009 interview with John Scott Lewinski of Digital Spy, Tarantino said that he plans to retire from filmmaking when he is 60, in order to focus on writing novels and film literature. He 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 theaters anymore and everything is digital projection, I won't even make it to 60." He has also stated that he has a plan, although "not etched in stone", to retire after making his tenth movie: "If I get to the 10th, do a good job and don't screw it up, well that sounds like a good way to end the old career."
In February 2010, Tarantino bought the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. Tarantino allowed the previous owners to continue operating the theater, but stated he would make occasional programming suggestions. 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 35 mm." Starting in 2014, Tarantino took a more active role in programming film screenings at the New Beverly, showing his own films as well as prints from his personal collection.
As a youth, Tarantino attended an Evangelical church, describing himself as "baptized, born again and everything inbetween." Tarantino said this was an act of rebellion against his Roman Catholic mother, as she had encouraged what might usually be considered more conventional forms of rebellion, such as his interests in comic books and horror films. Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, Tarantino was evasive about his specific religion despite making it clear that he believed in God, whom he credited with giving him his writing ability. Beginning around the 2010s, Tarantino continued ascribing his talents to gifts from God although he started expressing uncertainty regarding God's existence. "I think I was born Catholic, but I was never practiced," said Tarantino. "As time has gone on, as I've become a man and made my way further as an adult, I'm not sure how much any of that I believe in. I don't really know if I believe in God, especially not in this Santa Claus character that people seemed to have conjured up." By June 2021, Tarantino had declared himself an atheist.
Relationships and marriage
In the early 1990s Tarantino dated comedians Margaret Cho and Kathy Griffin. From 1995 to 1998 he dated actress Mira Sorvino. He was her date at the 68th Oscars ceremony where she had won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. In March 1998 they separated with Sorvino releasing a statement that "[They] still love each other very much” but had reached a “mutual” decision to go their separate ways." From 2003 to 2005, Tarantino was in a romantic relationship with filmmaker Sofia Coppola. The two have remained friends since their breakup.
On June 30, 2017, Tarantino became engaged to Israeli singer Daniella Pick, daughter of musician Svika Pick. They met in 2009 when Tarantino was in Israel to promote Inglourious Basterds. They married on November 28, 2018, in a Reform Jewish ceremony in their Beverly Hills Home. On August 21, 2019, it was announced that the couple were expecting their first child. As of January 2020, they were splitting their time between Ramat Aviv Gimel, Israel and Los Angeles. On February 22, 2020, their son, Leo (named after his wife's maternal grandfather), was born in Israel.
Tarantino has built up an informal "repertory company" of actors who have appeared in many roles in his films. Most notable of these is Samuel L. Jackson, who has appeared in six films directed by Tarantino and a seventh written by him, True Romance. Other frequent collaborators include Uma Thurman, who has been featured in three films and whom Tarantino has described as his "muse"; Michael Madsen, James Parks and Tim Roth, who respectively appear in five, four and three films. Roth appeared in Four Rooms, an anthology film where Tarantino directed the final segment, as well as having filmed a scene for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood before it was cut for time and Zoë Bell, who has acted or performed stunts in seven Tarantino films. Other actors who have appeared in several films by Tarantino include Michael Bacall, Michael Bowen, Bruce Dern, Harvey Keitel, Michael Parks, Kurt Russell and Craig Stark, who have appeared in three films each. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt have each appeared in two Tarantino films, the second of which, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, they appear in together. Like Jackson, Pitt also appeared in the Tarantino-penned True Romance.
Several actors have been nominated for Academy Awards for their roles in Tarantino's films. Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman and John Travolta were each nominated for Pulp Fiction (for Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor, respectively); Robert Forster was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Jackie Brown and Jennifer Jason Leigh earned a nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Hateful Eight. Christoph Waltz won Best Supporting Actor in 2010 for Inglourious Basterds and again in 2013 for Django Unchained. Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt were nominated for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, for their roles in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood with Pitt winning.
Editor Sally Menke, who worked on all Tarantino films until her death in 2010, was described by Tarantino in 2007 as "hands down my number one collaborator". Since her death, Fred Raskin has taken over editing duties.
Tarantino has also had a long partnership and collaboration with Lawrence Bender, who produced all his directorial efforts from Reservoir Dogs through Inglourious Basterds, except for Death Proof. Robert Richardson has been director of photography for all films from Kill Bill: Volume 1 through Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, except for Death Proof.
†: as stuntwoman
Awards and accolades
Throughout his career, Tarantino and his films have frequently received nominations for major awards, including for seven Academy Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, seven Golden Globe Awards, two Directors Guild of America Awards, and sixteen Saturn Awards. He has won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay twice, for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained. He has four times been nominated for the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, winning once for Pulp Fiction in 1994. In addition to his recognition for writing and directing films, Tarantino has received five Grammy Award nominations and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
In 2005, Tarantino was awarded the honorary Icon of the Decade at the 10th Empire Awards. He has earned lifetime achievement awards from two organizations in 2007, from Cinemanila, and from the Rome Film Festival in 2012. In 2011, Tarantino was awarded the Honorary César by the Académie des Arts et Techniques du Cinéma.
||Golden Globe Awards
||Kill Bill: Volume 1
||Kill Bill: Volume 2
||The Hateful Eight
||Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
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