Quentin Tarantino wrote the scripts for two of his blockbusters – True Romance and Natural Born Killers – whilst working in a video shop and dreaming that his love of movies would translate into making them. He is famously known for making violence an aesthetic, but also for a quirky, non-linear, satirical style that puts strange casts together and draws with wit on pop culture – particularly cult movies and television shows, pop music and soundtracks in a unique take on the neo-noir genre. He creates unusual, likable characters in unlikely roles in his writing, and as a director he works collaboratively with actors to draw quirky, humorous performances of those characters. He likes to appear in his own movies briefly, a Director’s Cameo with a nod and knowing wink to post-modern ironic cool.
Tarantino’s films are cult classics, and even at the time of their release were quickly lorded as works of legend with much critical acclaim as well as huge popularity. Reservoir Dogs (1992), which he both wrote and directed, was shown at Sundance Film Festival and made him an instant name as a filmmaker. In 1993 his screenplay True Romance, directed by Tony Scott, was a huge success. Pulp Fiction (1994), perhaps his most acclaimed film, premiered at the Cannes film festival, winning the coveted Palme D’Or Award. It starred John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer, and seriously revitalised some of their careers. In 1995 Pulp Fiction was nominated for best picture, best director and won best original screenplay at the Academy Awards.
Also in 1994 Oliver Stone directed Natural Born Killers – starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore, and Tommy Lee Jones – from Tarantino’s screenplay. The relationship with Stone famously did not run smoothly, and Tarantino wanted his name taken off the script after rewrites he did not approve of, but the film is still seen as his work. A string of classics followed as writer/director including among others; ‘blaxsploitation’ take-off Jackie Brown (1997); martial arts parody and homage Kill Bill 1 & 2 (2003/4) the script for which was written by Quentin as a birthday present it’s star Uma Thurman; slavery mocking, tongue-in-cheek western Django Unchained (2012); and most recently the Hateful Eight (2015), a revisit of the western genre which stars Samuel L. Jackson, Leigh, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth, Demián Bichir, Walton Goggins, Michael Madsen, and Bruce Dern, and has already snagged Golden Globes.
Quentin was born March 27th 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, but moved to California aged 4. His father was an actor who left the family before Quentin was born. His mother Connie was of Cherokee and Irish descent, she married his father young but the marriage did not last. Tarantino was a movie buff even as a small child, his grandmother taking him to see westerns is a favourite early memory for him. Tarantino’s mother married musician Curtis Zastoupil when she brought young Quentin back from Tennessee to California, and his step father encouraged his love of movies, taking him to see adult movies as a child (with his mother’s consent) until the couple split when Quentin was ten.
A rebel who didn’t take well to school or authority, he was creative and somewhat darkly humorous from early on. “He wrote me sad Mother’s Day stories. He’d always kill me and tell me how bad he felt about it,” His mother once told Entertainment Weekly. “It was enough to bring a tear to a mother’s eye.”
He dropped out of high school and worked first as an usher at an adult film theatre, then at a video store in Manhattan Beach, California, but was busily scriptwriting, attending acting classes and trying to get a break into the film industry, which he did when he got a job at the production company Cinetel. A producer there helped Tarantino get his script for True Romance into the hands of Tony Scott, who loved it, bought the rights, and directed it in 1993 starring Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette, Dennis Hopper, Val Kilmer, Gary Oldman, Christopher Walken and Brad Pitt.
Soon after, now working with producer Lawrence Bender, Tarantino was able to secure funding for his directorial debut to make his screenplay Reservoir Dogs into his own movie. Rumour has it that actor Harvey Keitel was deeply impressed when he read the script, saying “I haven’t seen characters like these in years.” He signed on as an actor and a producer for the project, and Tarantino the filmmaker was truly launched.
Quentin Tarantino Filmography
2015 The Hateful Eight (written by)
2014-15 From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series (TV Series) (20 Episodes)
2012 Django Unchained (written by)
2009 Inglourious Basterds (written by)
2007 Death Proof (written by)
2007 Grindhouse (written by – segment “Death Proof”)
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV Series) (story by – 2 episodes)
2004 Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (character The Bride – as Q) / (written by)
2003 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (character The Bride – as Q) / (written by)
1997 Jackie Brown (written for the screen by)
1996 Curdled (Gecko Brothers news report)
1996 From Dusk Til Dawn (screenplay)
1995 Four Rooms (written by – segment “The Man From Hollywood”)
1995 Dance Me to the End of Love (Short)
1994 Natural Born Killers (story)
1994 Pulp Fiction (story) / (written by)
1993 True Romance (written by)
1992 Reservoir Dogs (background radio dialog) / (written by)
1987 My Best Friend’s Birthday (written by)
1983 Love Birds in Bondage (Short)
2015 The Hateful Eight
2012 Django Unchained
2009 Inglourious Basterds
2007 Death Proof
2007 Grindhouse (segment “Death Proof”)
2005 Sin City (special guest director)
2005 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV Series) (2 episodes)
2004 Jimmy Kimmel Live! (TV Series) (1 episode)
2004 Kill Bill: Vol. 2
2003 Kill Bill: Vol. 1
1997 Jackie Brown
1995 ER (TV Series) (1 episode)
1995 Four Rooms (segment “The Man from Hollywood”)
1994 Pulp Fiction
1992 Reservoir Dogs
1987 My Best Friend’s Birthday
1983 Love Birds in Bondage (Short) (unfinished)Share: