Born in 1963 in Knoxville, Tennessee, Tarantino was named, fittingly enough, after a character on a TV show, the half-breed blacksmith Quint played by Burt Reynolds on Gunsmoke. When he was two, the future filmmaker's single mom moved with him to the South Bay area south of Los Angeles, which was his home for the next two decades.His neighborhood in the city of Torrance was a mixture of black and white, and he was exposed to a wide range of film and pop culture influences. Martial arts movies, for example, continued to play in black neighborhoods for several after the kung fu fad ended elsewhere; Tarantino was able to cross the tracks to continue watching them until well into the 1970s.Tarantino quit school at 17 to take acting classes and support himself with odd jobs. At 22 he found a second home of sorts at Video Archives in Manhattan Beach, where his voluminous knowledge of old movies finally began to come in handy. With co-workers Roger Avery and Jerry Martinez, Tarantino turned Video Archives into an impromptu film school. He began writing as a way to supply practice scenes for his acting classes.After laboring for time with Avery and some other friends on an abortive shoe string feature, My Best Friends Wedding, a raunchy buddy film on the scale of Kevin Smith's Clerks, Tarantino spent several frustrating years writing and trying to set up two scripts, each intended to be his directorial debut. Partly out of frustration at the difficulty of setting up a real movie with an unknown writer attached to direct, Tarantino wrote Reservoir Dogs in 1991.Dogs was intentionally written to be the most minimal project imaginable: a story of a heist in which the robbery occurred off screen, pages and pages of dialog requiring only a single set. It was intended to be a super-cheap 16 mm with Tarantino and his Video Archives buddies playing all the parts.Luckily, an aspiring producer Lawrence Bender read and loved the Dogs script. He begged Tarantino to give him a month to try to set it up as one of those real movies. It was Bender who got the script to actor Harvey Keitel, and it was Keitel's enthusiasm that attracted several other good actors and a eventually a decent production budget.Shot in less than a month in LA locations, with a standout cast that came to include Michael Madsen, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth, Laurence Tierney, Chris Penn, and Tarantino himself in addition to Keitel, Dogs was a phenomenal success, first at the Sundance Film Festival and then with the world at large.And Suddenly Tarantino was hot, and both of the scripts he had been working on before Dog quickly sold: they became True Romance (1992, directed by Tony Scott) and Natural Born Killers (1993, heavily re-written and directed by Oliver Stone).1994's Pulp Fiction was a multi-layered, time-bending, crime fiction collage that wove the stories of several characters together with world-class narrative gusto. A 3-D chess game of a movie, Pulp single-handedly restored the career of '70s icon John Travolta to its proper eminence, cemented the movie-star status of actor Samuel L. Jackson, and launched Tarantino's working relationship with the performer he has since described as my actress, Uma Thurman.After a three-year lay-off, Tarantino wrote and directed Jackie Brown, in 1997, a crime caper based on Elmore Leonard's novel Rum Punch. Pam Grier garnered both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations for her performance in the title role, and co-star Robert Forster who was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor. Filling out the once-in-a-lifetime cast were Samuel L. Jackson (also nominated for a Golden Globe), Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton.Tarantino's first career goal was to become an actor, and he has continued to play roles in his own films and in the work of others. He was the thief known only as Mr. Brown (That's a little too close to 'Mr.Shit,') in Reservoir Dogs and the jittery Jimmie Dimmick, saddled with a fresh corpse, Pulp Fiction. In the Man From Hollywood section of Four Rooms he was a blow-hard movie director. He also played bandit George Clooney's loony brother, Richard Gecko, in Robert Rodriguez's From Dusk Till Dawn, played the title role in Jack Baren's Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995) and appeared in Spike Lee's Girl 6 (1996).With his production partner, Lawrence Bender, through their company A Band Apart Productions, Tarantino served as executive produced October Film's Killing Zoe, directed by Roger Avary. He presented the 2001 domestic release of Master Yuen Wo Ping's 1993 martial arts classic Iron Monkey" and served as executive producer of Reb Braddock's black comedy Curdled (1996) and Julia Sweeny's concert film God said, 'HA!' (1999).In the four years that elapsed between the release of Jackie Brown and the production of Kill Bill, Tarantino was hard at work on a script for a war movie, Inglorious Bastards, which has been announced as a Miramax project for 2004.
"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
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
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,
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
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
"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.”
Csapnivalo Golden Slate: Best Screenplay, Jackie Brown, 2000
Catalonian International Film Festival: Time Machine Honorary Award,
London Critics Circle: Screenwriter of the Year, Pulp Fiction, 1995
BAFTA: Best Original Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary,
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,
National Society of Film Critics: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared
with Roger Avary, 1994
Golden Globe: Best Screenplay, Pulp Fiction; shared with Roger Avary,
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,
Catalonian International Film Festival: Best Screenplay: Reservoir Dogs;
shared with Roger Avary, 1992
Stockholm Film Festival: Bronze Horse, Reservoir Dogs, 1992