Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Quentin Tarantino (born March 27, 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee) is an American screenwriter, film director and actor who rapidly rose to fame in the early 1990s as a fresh and gritty storyteller who brought new life to the most familiar American archetypes.
Tarantino's big break came with the sale of his script True Romance, written with Roger Avary, which was made into a film starring Patricia Arquette and Christian Slater. He also wrote the original screenplay for Natural Born Killers, as part of the longer screenplay that True Romance came from, although it was changed significantly by subsequent writers.
The sale of True Romance (1993) garnered him attention. He met Lawrence Bender at a Hollywood party and Bender encouraged Quentin to go write a film. The end product was Reservoir Dogs (1992). The script was read by director Monte Helman who helped secure funding from Live Entertainment and also Quentin's directorship of the film. A stylish, witty and blood-soaked heist movie, this set the tone for his later films.
His followup was Pulp Fiction, which won the Palme d'Or (Golden Palm) at the 1994 Cannes film festival. It was a complexly plotted film with a similarly brutal wit. It featured many critically acclaimed performances, and was noted for reviving the career of John Travolta.
Tarantino's next film was Jackie Brown (1997), an adaptation of a novel by his mentor Elmore Leonard. An homage to blaxploitation films, it starred Pam Grier, who had featured in many of the genre's films in the 1970s.
In 1998, he turned his attention to the Broadway stage, where he starred in Wait Until Dark.
He had then planned to make the war film Inglorious Bastards. However, he postponed that to write and direct Kill Bill (released as two films, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2), a highly stylized "revenge flick" in the Chinese Wuxia, Japanese, and spaghetti Western cinematic traditions. It was based on a character (The Bride) and plot that he and Kill Bill's lead actor, Uma Thurman had developed during the making of Pulp Fiction.
Tarantino starred in the first season of the TV show Alias as McKenas Cole, a former SD-6 agent who attempts to take over the offices of SD-6 in order to steal a valuable artifact from its vault. He later appears in season three as an executive of a new terrorist organization called The Covenant.
In 2004, Tarantino returned to Cannes where he served as President of the Jury. Kill Bill was not in competition, but it did screen on the final night in its original 3+ hour version.
Tarantino's movies are renowned for their sharp dialogue, splintered chronology and pop culture obsessions. Often they are viewed as graphically violent, but the violence is often implied and not shown on screen. What affects people is the tension and realism Quentin uses in his "violent" scenes. Fictional brands such as Red Apple cigarettes and Big Kahuna Burgers from Pulp Fiction have shown up in other movies including Four Rooms, From Dusk Till Dawn, Kill Bill and even Romy and Michele's High School Reunion.
Almost as well-known as his movies is his public persona as a motor-mouthed, geeky hipster with an encyclopedic knowledge of both popular and art-house cinema. The director is also known for his love of breakfast cereal, and many of his movies feature discontinued brands such as Fruit Brute (a spin off of the more popular Franken Berry) in Pulp Fiction and Kaboom in Kill Bill.
Tarantino is widely known as a director who is very much a 'film-geek'. His youth and time spent working in a video rental store created an encyclopedic knowledge of movies. Particularly, he has a vast knowledge of foreign films, genre films and little-known pieces of cinema. He is a declared lover of the exploitation genre, Asian cinema (especially from Hong Kong) and the Italian Western. His love of those genres is mirrored in his works; Kill Bill for example features a long list of movie references; and his movies, at least according to him, are homages to all his idols.
A committed Anglophile, he also has an encyclopedic knowledge of British cinema.
- One of Tarantino's trademarks is the trunk shot — the camera looking out from the trunk of a car at the actors. He has used it in all the films he has directed.
- Tarantino once played an Elvis impersonator on an episode of The Golden Girls.
- Always has an ad for Red Apple cigarettes in his films at some point.
- Always has a scene where a character is followed around by the camera for a fairly long period of time.
- Each of the four films Tarantino has directed and the three movies which he wrote the script for but did not direct have had plots revolving around crime and criminals.
- Cigarette smoking by several main characters is a recurring element of Tarantino's movies, a notable exception being The Bride in the "Kill Bill" series.
- Even though many of his characters die in a brutal (and often disturbing) fashion, there is typically some justification, at least in the minds of the other characters. Some examples: two of the persons brutally killed in Kill Bill were a rapist and a pedophile; in Pulp Fiction, a gangster shoots a man in the groin for sexually abusing him; Mr. Blonde in Reservoir Dogs gets shot to death shortly after torturing a police officer.
- One of Tarantino's closest friends is fellow director Robert Rodriguez (the pair often refer to each other as brothers). It was Tarantino who suggested that Rodriguez name the final part of his El Mariachi trilogy Once Upon a Time in Mexico. They are both members of A Band Apart (a reference to the Godard film Bande à part), a production company that also features directors John Woo and Luc Besson.
- Tarantino has been romantically linked with numerous actresses, including Sofia Coppola, the Golden Globe and Academy Award winning writer/director of Lost In Translation, Academy Award winning actress Mira Sorvino, and comedienne Margaret Cho. There have also been rumors about his relationship with Uma Thurman, who he has referred to as his "muse". However, Tarantino has gone on record as saying that their relationship is strictly platonic.
- He has stated that the character of Clarence in True Romance was somewhat autobiographical. Clarence was also the name of the character he played in My Best Friend's Birthday, an amateur film he also co-wrote and directed in 1987, around the time he was writing True Romance.
- Often casts Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Uma Thurman, Michael Madsen and Samuel L. Jackson.
- He is dyslexic and never completed high school but is considered very intelligent.
Director & screenplay
- My Best Friend's Birthday (1987)
- Reservoir Dogs (1992)
- Pulp Fiction (1994)
- Four Rooms (segment "The Man from Hollywood") (1995)
- Jackie Brown (1997)
- Kill Bill (Vol. 1 2003, Vol. 2 2004)
- Sin City (2005) (Guest Director)
- Inglorious Bastards (2006) - not yet released.
- My Best Friend's Birthday (1987) Clarence Pool
- Reservoir Dogs (1992) Mr. Brown
- Pulp Fiction (1994) Jimmie Dimmick
- Sleep With Me (1994) Syd
- Destiny Turns On the Radio (1995) Johnny Destiny
- Four Rooms (segment "The Man from Hollywood") Chester
- Desperado (1995) Pick-up Guy
- From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Richard Gecko
- Girl 6 (1996) Q.T
- Little Nicky (2000) Deacon
- Alias (TV Series) (2001) McKenas Cole
- Killing Zoe (1994)
- Four Rooms (1995)
- From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
- Curdled (1996)
- God Said, 'Ha!' (1998)
- The Quentin Tarantino Archives (unofficial international fan site, news, archive & community)
- Everything Tarantino (unofficial fan site)
- A German Quentin Tarantino fan site
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