"I don't need a job... I don't have to work again if I don't want to. So I only make the movies I want to make, when it's fun. Because if you're not gonna have fun, why do it?" Quentin Tarantino.
Film director, actor and screenwriter Quentin Tarantino came out of nowhere in 1992 with Reservoir Dogs and later won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for his 1994 effort, Pulp Fiction. The high school dropout, who picked up much of his film education while working as a video store clerk, continued to made such films as From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Jackie Brown (1997) and Kill Bill films (2003 and 2004). He is currently directing the upcoming horror film Grind House (segment "Death Proof") and has announced to make a war film called Inglorious Bastards.
Hailed by Variety as "the video store generation of filmmakers," Tarantino, who cites his influences as Martin Scorsese, Brian De Palma, Sergio Leone and Jean-Luc Godard, and his all-time favorite director is Howard Hawks, was listed on Premiere's 2004 annual Power 100 List and Empire (UK) magazine's 2005 The Greatest Directors Ever.
On a more private note, the 6' 2½" tall filmmaker, a closest friend of fellow director Robert Rodriguez, has been romantically linked with such names as Lost In Translation writer/director Sofia Coppola, Academy Award-winning actress Mira Sorvino, and comedian Margaret Cho. He is also rumored to have a special relationship with his Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill leading lady, Uma Thurman, who he once referred as his "muse."
Childhood and Family:
On March 27, 1963, Quentin Jerome Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, to Italian descendant father Tony Tarantino (actor and musician) and half-Irish, half-Cherokee Indian mother Connie McHugh (corporate executive; works for home medical organization). His mother gave birth to him when she was only 16 while his father was 21. Connie named Quentin after Burt Reynold's character, Quint in “Gunsmoke.” He also has a musician stepfather called Curt Zastoupil, with whom Quentin would form a strong bond.
"When people ask me if I went to film school I tell them, 'no, I went to films.'" Quentin Tarantino.
Quentin Tarantino, nicknamed QT, started kindergarten in the San Gabriel Valley area in 1968. When his family moved to El Segundo, in the South Bay area of Los Angeles in 1971, Tarantino attended Hawthorne Christian School. At the age of sixteen, he dropped out of Narbonne High School in Harbor City, California to learn acting at the James Best Theatre Company.
"If you want to make a movie, make it. Don't wait for a grant, don't wait for the perfect circumstances, just make it." Quentin Tarantino.
From an early age, Quentin Tarantino often went to the cinema with his mother, watching Carnal Knowledge (1971) at the age of 8 and Deliverance (1972) at the age of 9. Since then, Tarantino began falling in love with the cinema and went at every opportunity.
The aspiring script writer-director first wrote his script, Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit, at age 22. He then found job as a store clerk at the Video Archives, a noted video store in Manhattan Beach, California, where he befriended fellow employee and his future collaborator, Roger Avary. Tarantino continued to hone his acting skill at Allen Garfield's Actors' Shelter in Beverly Hills, although he also began to concentrate mainly on screenwriting.
In 1984, Tarantino began co-writing (with Craig Hamann) and directing his unfinished first film, the black and white independent film My Best Friend's Birthday. The never completed project, with an estimated budget of $5,000 and shot on 16mm camera, were later reused by Tarantino in his later films, most notably in his script for Tony Scott's 1993 film True Romance.
After spending five years at the Video Archives, Tarantino moved to CineTel, rewriting and editing scripts. He also met future producer Lawrence Bender there. In 1990, Tarantino was commissioned to pen a screenplay based on a 6-page story by Robert Kurtzman of the special effects makeup company KNB Effects, which finally became From Dusk Till Dawn. In the action/horror film directed by his best friend Robert Rodriguez, Tarantino also starred opposite George Clooney as the notorious Gecko brothers.
Back to his early years, in 1990, Tarantino made his TV acting debut as an Elvis impersonator in an episode of the hit comedy "The Golden Girls." He then worked as the screenwriter for director Tony Scott's mob drama True Romance, which stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette. The money from the sale of the script enabled Tarantino to direct his feature film debut, Reservoir Dogs (1992). For the film, he was paid $1500 and offered free makeup effects. It features Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, and Lawrence Tierney. Tarantino also has a minor role, as criminal-turned-author Eddie Bunker.
On the film's premier at Sundance, film critic Jami Bernard of New York Daily News commented: "I don't think people were ready. They didn't know what to make of it. It's like the first silent movie when audiences saw the train coming toward the camera and scattered." Later, a video game based on the film has been announced at E³ 2006 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Windows.
Two years later in 1994, Tarantino made career transforming feature with the crime drama Pulp Fiction. The film, which features John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Harvey Keitel and Tim Roth (Tarantino also played a role), was released to great critical and public acclaim. Tarantino and co-writer Avary won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and the film was nominated for seven Oscars in total, including Best Picture. It also won the best picture at the Cannes Film Festival.
"Tarantino positions himself as the Preston Sturges of crimeland, putting the most incongruous words and thoughts into the mouths of lowdown, amoral characters." (Todd McCarthy's review of Pulp Fiction, Daily Variety, May 23, 1994).
Meanwhile, Tarantino produced the 1993 Hong Kong Kung fu movie Iron Monkey and Roger Avary's 1994 movie Killing Zoe (starring Eric Stoltz and Julie Delpy). He also wrote the screenplay for Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers (1994; starring Juliette Lewis and Woody Harrelson), which Stone, Richard Rutowski, and David Veloz extensively edited. Unhappy with the rewritten version, Tarantino asked his name to be removed from the screenwriting credits. After all, his name still appeared in the credits. As an actor, Tarantino played a cameo as a fast-talking bartender in Alexandre Rockwell's Somebody to Love (1994) and appeared in Sleep With Me (1994) and had his first feature lead as Johnny Destiny in the romantic comedy-adventure Destiny Turns On the Radio (1995). On TV, he was the subject of profile, "Quentin Tarantino: Hollywood's Boy Wonder" on BBC-TV's "Omnibus" series in 1994 and had a guest shot on the ABC sitcom "All-American Girl" in 1995. Back to the feature work, Tarantino had an uncredited rewrite on Tony Scott's Crimson Tide (1995; starring Denzel Washington and Gene Hackman).
Tarantino had his first collaboration with writer-director friend Rodriguez in his 1995 film, Desperado (starring Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek), playing a small role as a pick-up guy. He also made TV directing debut in "Motherhood," an episode of the hit NBC medical drama "ER." On this project, Tarantino recalled: "When I was directing ER, I didn't want to stand out. Everyone else is 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. They were like, 'Oh my God, he's so cool!'"
That same year, Tarantino teamed with producer Lawrence Bender, launching A Band Apart Commercials, a commercial production house, and setting up Rolling Thunder, a specialty distribution label, both under Miramax Pictures banner. In 1997, he joined with Bender founding A Band Apart Records, which focuses to market and distribute recordings made on Madonna's Maverick label.
1997 also saw the release of Tarantino’s third film, Jackie Brown (starring Pam Grier and Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton; Tarantino also had a cameo as the electronic voice on Jackie's answering machine). The crime drama, based on the novel “Rum Punch” by American novelist Elmore Leonard, received several major awards nominations, with Robert Forster earning an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor and Samuel L. Jackson and Pam Grier nominated for Golden Globe Awards. The next year, Tarantino starred on stage opposite Marisa Tomei in a revival of "Wait Until Dark."
In the new millennium, Tarantino had a featured role in Steven Brill's comedy Little Nicky, starring Adam Sandler. In 2002, he played a recurring role in several episodes of the popular ABC drama series "Alias."
"Sure, Kill Bill's a violent movie. But it's a Tarantino movie. You don't go to see Metallica and ask the fuckers to turn the music down." Quentin Tarantino. He also wrote and directed his fourth film, the considerably violent Kill Bill, released on October 10, 2003. Because of its running time of approximately four hours, Kill Bill was released in two separate "volumes," Kill Bill: Vol. 1 in Fall 2003 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 in Spring 2004. The film's stars include Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Vivica A. Fox, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen and Daryl Hannah. Both volumes received largely positive reviews and did well at the box office.
"When I was on "The View" (1997), Barbara Walters was asking me about the blood and stuff, and I said, 'Well, you know, that's a staple of Japanese cinema.' And then she came back, 'But this is America.' And I go, 'I don't make movies for America. I make movies for planet Earth.'" Quentin Tarantino (On violence in Kill Bill: Vol. 1).
Tarantino became president of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival in 2004. The next year, he directed the season finale of the CBS drama "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation” also helped develop the story for the final episode (aired in May). It was watched by over 40 million viewers, making it one of the most watched shows in history.
At the moment, Tarantino is collaborating with Robert Rodriguez directing a new film called Grind House. The horror movie consists of two segments, Planet Terror, a zombie film written and directed by Rodríguez, and Death Proof, a slasher film written and helmed by Tarantino. He is due to begin filming Death Proof in August 2006. Tarantino has announced that Kurt Russell would be playing the part of the slasher named Stuntman Mike, joining with actresses Rosario Dawson and Mary Elizabeth Winstead. Grind House is expected to be released on April 6, 2007.
Tarantino is also set to direct an upcoming war film called Inglorious Bastards. It will star Michael Madsen, and reportedly Tim Roth, Paul Walker, Adam Sandler and Eddie Murphy.
“I hope to give you at least 15 more years of movies. I'm not going to be this old guy that keeps cranking them out. My plan is to have a theater by that time in some small town and I will be the manager - this crazy old movie guy.” Quentin Tarantino.
- Csapnivalo Golden Slate: Best Screenplay, Jackie Brown, 2000
- Catalonian International Film Festival: Time Machine Honorary Award, 1996
- London Critics Circle: Screenwriter of the Year, Pulp Fiction, 1995
- BAFTA: Best Original Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1995
- MTV Movie Award: Best Movie, Pulp Fiction, 1995
- Edgar Allen Poe Award: Best Motion Picture, Pulp Fiction, 1995
- London Critics Circle: Newcomer of the Year, Reservoir Dogs, 1994
- Los Angeles Film Critics Award: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Received Los Angeles Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- National Board of Review: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Boston Society of Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Society of Texas Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- Golden Globe: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- Independent Spirit Award: Best Director, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Cannes Film Festival, Palme d'Or, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Oscar: Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary, 1994
- Stockholm Film Festival: Bronze Horse, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Stockholm Film Festival: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction, 1994
- Catalonian International Film Festival: Best Director, Reservoir Dogs, 1992
- Catalonian International Film Festival: Best Screenplay: Reservoir Dogs; shared with Roger Avary, 1992
- Stockholm Film Festival: Bronze Horse, Reservoir Dogs, 1992