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Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino: Interviews, Revised and Updated

Edited by Gerald Peary
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 240
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  • Book Info
    Quentin Tarantino
    Book Description:

    Here, in his own colorful, slangy words, is the true American Dream saga of a self-proclaimed "film geek," with five intense years working in a video store, who became one of the most popular, recognizable, and imitated of all filmmakers. His dazzling, movie-informed work makes Quentin Tarantino's reputation, from his breakout film, Reservoir Dogs (1992), through Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003) and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), his enchanted homages to Asian action cinema, to his rousing tribute to guys-on-a-mission World War II movie, Inglourious Basterds (2009). For those who prefer a more mature, contemplative cinema, Tarantino provided the tender, very touching Jackie Brown (1997). A masterpiece--Pulp Fiction (1994). A delightful mash of unabashed exploitation and felt social consciousness--his latest opus, Django Unchained (2012).

    From the beginning, Tarantino (b. 1963)--affable, open, and enthusiastic about sharing his adoration of movies--has been a journalist's dream. Quentin Tarantino: Interviews, revised and updated with twelve new interviews, is a joy to read cover to cover because its subject has so much interesting and provocative to say about his own movies and about cinema in general, and also about his unusual life. He is frank and revealing about growing up in Los Angeles with a single, half-Cherokee mother, and dropping out of ninth grade to take acting classes. Lost and confused, he still managed a gutsy ambition: young Quentin decided he would be a filmmaker.

    Tarantino has conceded that Ordell (Samuel L. Jackson), the homicidal African American con man in Jackie Brown, is an autobiographical portrait. "If I hadn't wanted to make movies, I would have ended up as Ordell," Tarantino has explained. "I wouldn't have been a postman or worked at the phone company. . . . I would have gone to jail."

    eISBN: 978-1-62103-972-3
    Subjects: Performing Arts, Film Studies, History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. ix-xvi)

    In this indolent age of Netflix and Hulu on demand, think back to VHS days, when renting videos meant actually having to leave your comfy flat. But the compensation back then was interacting with your favorite video store employee. You remember, don’t you? That t-shirted guy or gal, embarrassingly overqualified, who didn’t let a seven-dollar-an-hour salary curb an energetic discourse about film, film, film, whether European auteurist masterpieces, Hollywood genre works, or Hong Kong kung-fu?

    Quentin Tarantino, twenty-eight, was exactly that appealing person, as he arrived in January 1992 at the Sundance Film Festival. He was a California-reared, self-proclaimed “film...

  4. Chronology
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  5. Filmography
    (pp. xxi-2)
  6. Interview at Cannes
    (pp. 3-19)
    Michel Ciment, Hubert Niogret and Quentin Tarantino

    Michel Ciment/Hubert Niogret: Was there earlier filmmaking?

    Quentin Tarantino: When I was like twenty-two, I borrowed a 16mm movie camera. For three years I was doing this homemade feature, My Best Friend’s Birthday, on weekends, or whenever I got some money. But I couldn’t afford to process it. I was financing this movie from a minimum wage job at a video store. And after three years of just shooting off and on, I finally got enough money to take it out of the laboratory. I started putting it together, and I was heartbroken. This was not what I thought it...

  7. A Talk with Quentin Tarantino
    (pp. 20-22)
    Gerald Peary and Quentin Tarantino

    Gerald Peary: Your publicity biography lists you in the cast of Jean-Luc Godard’s King Lear.

    Quentin Tarantino: It’s a lie. I put it on my résumé as an actor, and said I was in that, because nobody would ever see the film.

    GP: Were you intimidated by the Reservoir Dogs cast?

    QT: Good actors don’t intimidate me. After two weeks of rehearsal, they were ready to pop. They had some egos there, but they left them at the door.

    GP: Could you talk about casting Hollywood “B” veteran Lawrence Tierney in Reservoir Dogs as the gang’s mastermind, Joe Cabot? He’s...

  8. Interview with Quentin Tarantino
    (pp. 23-27)
    Peter Brunette and Quentin Tarantino

    Peter Brunette: Could you explain your rationale for the odd chronology in Reservoir Dogs?

    Quentin Tarantino: I wanted to break up the narration, not to be a wise guy, a show guy, but to make the film dramatically better that way. If I pulled it off, I got a resonance, so I liked the idea of giving the answers first, getting the questions later. Novels do that all the time, but when they make novels into films, the stuff that is most cinematic, that’s what usually goes. A novelist would think nothing about starting in the middle. And if characters...

  9. Reservoir Dogs Press Conference
    (pp. 28-33)
    Toronto International Film Festival, Henri Behar, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen and Harvey Keitel

    Henri Behar, Le Monde (MC): We’ll start the press conference concerning Reservoir Dogs, and I’ll introduce quickly the people who are here at the table. On the far left, Mr. Blonde, Michael Madsen. Next to him, Mr. Orange, Tim Roth. Next to me, Mr. Pink, Steve Buscemi. Next to him, and also the co-producer, Mr. White, Harvey Keitel. And dead center, Mr. Rainbow, I guess.

    Quentin Tarantino: Mr. Brown! Mr. Brown!

    Tim Roth: Mr. Merde!

    Behar: The director, Quentin Tarantino. (Applause) The first question from the press?

    Question: I wonder if at any point you considered putting the jewel robbery...

  10. Answers First, Questions Later
    (pp. 34-48)
    Graham Fuller and Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1963, the year when Monte Hellman’s Back Door to Hell and Flight to Fury, Don Siegel’s The Killers, and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars were also in gestation—as Tarantino himself could probably tell you. He is the most extreme instance of a movie-struck kid who has parlayed his obsession with cheap thrillers and Westerns into a writing and directing career.

    Tarantino was raised by his mother in Southern California and received his movie education at the Carson Twin Cinema, Scottsdale, and later as an employee of Video Archives, Manhattan Beach,...

  11. Quentin Tarantino on Pulp Fiction
    (pp. 49-52)
    Manohla Dargis

    When I started Pulp Fiction I was trying to figure out a way to get a feature going. I came up with the idea of writing a crime short story, shooting it as a short film, then doing another and another and putting them together like a crime-film anthology. It would be something I could manage: finish it, take it to festivals, get notoriety, feel like a filmmaker. It could be a thing in itself, and I could keep building on it until it was a feature. I wasn’t a filmmaker then, and I was trying to do something.


  12. Interview with Quentin Tarantino
    (pp. 53-60)
    Michel Ciment, Hubert Niogret, Positif and Quentin Tarantino

    Positif: The scenario of Pulp Fiction owes its origins to some stories by Roger Avary and you. What was involved?

    Quentin Tarantino: The idea for Pulp Fiction was born even before I began writing Reservoir Dogs. I was trying to imagine how to make a film without money, so I thought of a short I’d be able to show at festivals that could be a kind of calling card. I’d be able to demonstrate what I was capable of, which would allow me to shoot a feature-length film. So I thought of the story of Vincent Vega and Marsellus’s wife....

  13. When You Know You’re in Good Hands
    (pp. 61-77)
    Gavin Smith and Quentin Tarantino

    It may be that writer-director and sometime actor Quentin Tarantino is to videostore clerks what the French nouvelle vague, Peter Bogdanovich, and Paul Schrader were to several generations of movie critics—proof that it’s possible not only to slip through the looking glass of film history and go from spectator to participant, but also to have a decisive influence on that history in the process. Tarantino’s 1992 debut Reservoir Dogs will, I think, prove pivotal in the history of the American independent film, for legitimizing its relationship to Hollywood genre.

    Tarantino’s new film Pulp Fiction consolidates his reconciliation of the...

  14. Four X Four
    (pp. 78-82)
    Peter Biskind, Premiere, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez, Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell

    Check into the Four Rooms hotel, and you’ll discover what happens when four of the hottest independent directors around make a movie together: an unusual experiment in collective filmmaking. It was made by Allison Anders, Alexandre Rockwell, Robert Rodriguez, and Quentin Tarantino. Each directed a “room” in a fictional hotel, and all four collaborated on a wraparound story featuring a bellhop, played by Tim Roth, who appears in every room.

    Premiere: Anthology films rarely work. Why did you want to torture yourselves?

    Quentin Tarantino: The funniest thing about doing it is to do a movie that, one, doesn’t take that...

  15. Interview: Quentin Tarantino
    (pp. 83-94)
    J. Hoberman and Quentin Tarantino

    Has success spoiled Quentin Tarantino? Not since Steven Spielberg made Jaws [1975] and Close Encounters [1977] back to back has an American director uncorked anything comparable to the one-two punch of Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction. What’s more, the self-taught, thoroughly attitudinous thirty-two-year-old filmmaker has rewritten the formula for Hollywood success. The only child of a teenage single mother who brought him up while putting herself through college, high-school dropout Tarantino personifies American independence—or, at least, the new face of American independent movies.

    Tarantino, who grew up in Los Angeles and wanted to star in movies since childhood, has...

  16. Out of the Past: Quentin Tarantino—On Ambition, Exploitation, and Playing Psycho
    (pp. 95-100)
    Don Gibalevich

    Quentin Tarantino loves movies. That’s why he makes the damn things. And while this isn’t exactly a groundbreaking revelation, it’s impossible to talk to the man without spending a lot of time on the subject. Today, as Tarantino relaxes after an afternoon photo shoot, hunched over a plate of excellent fish tacos in the lounge of an airplane hangar turned photo studio, he can’t help but wax eloquent on the subject of classic kung-fu movies. When someone mentions Master of the Flying Guillotine [Jimmy Wang Yu, 1976], his face lights up with the sort of excitement most of us reserve...

  17. Quentin Tarantino: Press Conference on Jackie Brown
    (pp. 101-106)

    Q: After Pulp Fiction, weren’t there a lot of expectations for your next feature?

    A: It all boils down to the work you want to do, the work that speaks to you. I didn’t want to follow up Pulp Fiction with another epic. I wanted to do something smaller, something more character-oriented. If Pulp Fiction was an opera, Jackie Brown is more of a chamber piece. However, if I had come up with an original story in epic scope I liked, I would not not have done it because of the movie I’d done before. Maybe if I’d done five...

  18. Quentin Tarantino on Adapting Rum Punch, Moving the Story to LA, Elmore Leonard’s Opinion
    (pp. 107-111)
    Adrian Wootton, Quentin Tarantino and Audience

    Adrian Wootton: How did you get from Pulp Fiction to Jackie Brown, and why Elmore Leonard?

    Quentin Tarantino: I had wanted for a long time to adapt Elmore Leonard. He was the first novelist I read as a kid who really spoke to me. It was a question of trying to find the right [book.] I had actually read Rum Punch [1992], the novel that Jackie Brown is based on, somewhere between galley form and [being] published, just before I finished Pulp Fiction. I read it, and I saw it. I just kind of saw the movie. Me and my...

  19. The Mouth and the Method
    (pp. 112-117)
    Erik Bauer and Quentin Tarantino

    The release of Jackie Brown represents a watershed for Quentin Tarantino. In the pop-culture terms he himself is so familiar and free with, his third film as director bears the same weight of expectation as any big music act’s third CD. Unlike Reservoir Dogs (1992) and Pulp Fiction (1994), it’s an adaptation rather than an original screenplay. It takes great pains to establish character, and it experiments with long takes of near-Bergmanesque patience, and it shuffles messy violence off-screen. Yet it is Tarantino’s film, if only through its instantly identifiable use of language. The qualities of Jackie Brown that will...

  20. Quentin Tarantino Reveals Almost Everything That Inspired Kill Bill
    (pp. 118-126)
    Tomohiro Machiyama and Quentin Tarantino

    This private interview was conducted in Los Angeles on August 28, 2003, during a press junket for Kill Bill: Vo1.1 held exclusively for the Japanese media. In this one-on-one chat, Quentin Tarantino goes deep into the many influences for Kill Bill, its mythology, and even the future for his characters beyond the two-part film. The night before our interview, I spoke with Tarantino at a party after the Kill Bill screening. Unfortunately, I didn’t bring my tape recorder. We were both totally smashed, but I remember things he told me:

    The bloody killing spree at the climax of Kill Bill...

  21. An Interview with Quentin Tarantino
    (pp. 127-130)
    Jeff Otto and Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino is back, with perhaps the most elaborate kung fu film of all time. Actually, maybe the two most elaborate kung fu films, as Kill Bill was recently split into Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. The idea for the films first arose in a barroom conversation with Uma Thurman during the Pulp Fiction shoot. Tarantino wrote a few pages and tossed it aside in a drawer. That’s where it stayed until Uma spoke to Quentin a few years later, and reminded him of the project. Tarantino picked up the pages and realized what a great film it could be....

  22. Total Tarantino
    (pp. 131-136)
    Mary Kaye Schilling, Entertainment Weekly, Quentin Tarantino and ET

    In late March, Quentin Tarantino invited Entertainment Weekly’s executive editor, Schilling, to his LA home, where she interviewed him.

    Entertainment Weekly: Kill Bill 2, turns out it’s a love story. Who knew?

    Quentin Tarantino: I love The Bride. I LOVE her, all right? I want her to be happy. I don’t want to come up with screwed-up scenarios that she has to fight the whole rest of her life. I killed myself to put her in a good place at the end of this long journey. When I was thinking about a trilogy, I wanted to give her ten years...

  23. Tarantino Bites Back
    (pp. 137-146)
    Nick James and Quentin Tarantino

    Quentin Tarantino tackles editor Nick James in London about the negative comments Death Proof received in James’s 2007 Sight & Sound review.

    Nick James: So how’s it going?

    Quentin Tarantino: You guys came out with this stuff [the Grindhouse cover story, June 2007] really, really early. I was feeling a little slighted by Sight & Sound because I realized that I hadn’t done an interview.

    NJ: We used to reach you through your PR agency. I think we lost our contact.

    QT: That makes sense, but now it’s reestablished. I’ve done an interview with S&S for every one of my movies, all the way...

  24. Quentin Tarantino Inglourious Basterds Interview
    (pp. 147-152)
    Kam Williams and Quentin Tarantino

    Kam Williams: How does it feel to have finished Inglourious Basterds finally, given that you’ve been working on it for over a decade?

    Quentin Tarantino: It’s a little surreal. I had scenes written for it, but for years it was always just kind of out there. And at one point I considered putting it aside, thinking I’d grown out of it or moved past it. But then I realized that I’d invested too much into it, and that even if I never made the movie, I at least had to finish writing it just so I could get this mountain...

  25. Quentin Tarantino: The Inglourious Basterds Interview
    (pp. 153-160)
    Ella Taylor and Quentin Tarantino

    Seventeen years ago, when Reservoir Dogs was setting American cinema on fire, Quentin Tarantino drove up to his favorite watering hole, a Hollywood Denny’s, in a tiny Geo that I mistook for a rental car. During a scheduled hour-long interview that stretched into nearly three, I nagged him about the casual violence in his debut film, which, in retrospect, is a bit like getting on Lewis Carroll’s case about the lack of realism in Alice in Wonderland. Tarantino heard me out, then politely set me straight, positioning violence as one of cinema’s key aesthetics and reeling off a list of...

  26. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds Interview
    (pp. 161-164)
    Mali Elfman and Quentin Tarantino

    The Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles, August 2009. Quentin Tarantino met with a round table of journalists, myself included, and, each in turn, we asked him questions about Inglourious Basterds.

    Q: In the advertisements, Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine is front and center, even though the story focuses more on Mélanie Laurent’s Shosanna Dreyfus and Christoph Waltz’s Hans Landa.

    QT: I disagree with your take. I think it’s a movie with three lead roles. Hans Landa, Shosanna, and Aldo Raine. The movie is set up with the first three chapters for these three characters. You get Shosanna’s backstory even though you...

  27. Pulp and Circumstance: Tarantino Rewrites History
    (pp. 165-173)
    Terry Gross and Quentin Tarantino

    Terry Gross: This is Fresh Air. I’m Terry Gross. Quentin Tarantino, welcome to Fresh Air.

    Quentin Tarantino: Good to be here.

    TG: I love the new movie. [Inglourious Basterds] starts with “Once upon a time in Nazi-occupied France,” and that lets you know right away this is going to be a fairy tale version, not a historically correct version, of World War II. And it’s going to have references to Sergio Leone. The film is a kind of hybrid of the spaghetti Western and war film. Why did you think of combining those two genres?

    QT: The way that the...

  28. Days of Gloury
    (pp. 174-183)
    Ryan Gilbey and Quentin Tarantino

    That Quentin Tarantino’s new movie, Inglourious Basterds, is no understated chamber piece will not surprise anyone. It is, in its creator’s estimation, a western. Its title is adapted from Enzo G. Castellari’s 1978 film The Inglorious Bastards (tagline: “Whatever the Dirty Dozen did, they do it dirtier!”), but it is in all other respects an original, if reference-laden, work.

    When we meet in a London hotel, Tarantino is in the mood to talk. He’s dressed in the black shirt with white zigzags on the shoulder which he wore as Warren the bartender in Death Proof. He expresses excitement over the...

  29. Tarantino “Unchained”: Django Trilogy
    (pp. 184-198)
    Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Quentin Tarantino

    Had you thought Quentin Tarantino was done with historical revenge fantasies after Inglourious Basterds? His latest is Django Unchained—a “postmodern, slave-narrative Western,” in the words of The Root’s editor-in-chief, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. The spaghetti Western–inspired Django Unchained depicts the horrors of slavery—with graphic violence and racial slurs aplenty—in the antebellum South, and with the irreverence we’ve come to expect from a Tarantino film. The epic tale, about a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) on a mission to free his wife (Kerry Washington) from a brutal Mississippi cotton plantation with the help of his mentor (Christoph Waltz),...

  30. Additional Resources
    (pp. 199-200)
  31. Index
    (pp. 201-213)