Cinema and TV series

Blood, old movies and amazing dialogs: how Quentin Tarantino makes a movie

Creative biography and working methods of the author of “Pulp Fiction” and “Once upon a time ... in Hollywood”.

The name of Quentin Tarantino is familiar to both movie fans and those who watch movies very rarely. Most of his works are considered cult and are well received by critics and viewers. The last picture of Tarantino at the moment, “Once … in Hollywood” is no exception. In addition, she seems to be the highest grossing director’s work in Russia.

The success of Tarantino films brings his unique style. In 2018, he even officially appeared his own adjective “ Tarantino ” (tarantinoesque) – the word was recorded in the Oxford dictionary. This term can describe films in which satire and cruelty are artistic elements, the narrative develops non-linearly, there are references to other films and excellent dialogues.

Quentin Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, in 1963. His father, Tony Tarantino, was a fan of the movie and dreamed of acting himself, and Connie’s mother was a young nurse (she gave birth to a son at 17).

It was the director’s mother who chose the name Quentin: Connie wanted it to be memorable, long and with many syllables. She took the idea for the name from the character Burt Reynolds from the series “Haze from the trunk”. The name Quentin, by the way, would have remained if Connie had a daughter.

This is a meaningful name. And I expected my child to become important. Why would I want an unimportant baby?

Connie walked up

Quentin Tarantino’s mom

Together, Quentin’s parents did not stay long and broke up even before the birth of a son – he never met his father at all . Until two years, his mother raised him alone. Then they moved to Los Angeles, Connie remarried – Kurt met the musician – and Quentin had a stepfather. He adopted the boy, and from two years old the director bore the name of Quentin.

The director’s father, Tony Tarantino, first appeared in films in the late 90s. To get to the set, according to Quentin, his name helped him.

Tarantino did not attend kindergarten and preparatory classes; instead, he often went to the cinema with his mother. For example, at five, Connie took him to the Oscar-winning drama about the sexual adventures of two men, “Cognition of the Flesh,” and at six, to the thriller “Deliverance” and the action movie “Wild Gang.”

The stepfather also contributed to Quentin’s love of films: he took him to the movies every week on Mondays. By the age of eight, Tarantino was left without a father again – Connie and Kurt divorced.

At school, Quentin first fell in love with martial arts films, then horror and theater. He attended the acting club, and at the age of 16 he got a job in an amateur theater – there he returned his father’s surname for sonority.

Tarantino’s favorite movie as a child was “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”

In the sixth grade, Tarantino began to write scripts instead of lessons, and dropped out of school by the ninth grade. After absenteeism, the director called the boy’s mother. At a family dinner, they discussed this issue, after which Connie allowed her son to leave school, but with one condition – he must go to work.

I was bored at school. I wanted to be an actor, did not understand mathematics, did not understand spelling. But I was given a good reading and history. The story is like a movie.

Quentin Tarantino producer

Tarantino quickly found work – got a ticket to the adult cinema The Pussycat Theater. He was only 16 years old, so he had to lie about his age. Quentin did not like the job: he did not like porn, so he did not stay long.

After the porn show, the young man changed a couple of other works, at the same time attended acting classes and worked on his first film – “Love of a Bird in Captivity”. This is a black comedy about a girl who had an accident, and her friend, who is going to confess her feelings to her.

In parallel with the work of Tarantino attended the acting classes of James Best

He created the film Tarantino with his friend Scott McGill – they met in the video rental Video Outtakes: McGill worked there, and Tarantino was a regular customer.

It is difficult to say something else about “Love of a bird in captivity”: the film was not finished, and all records were ritually burned by McGill. He was ashamed of the resulting tape, which also included a sexual scene with Tarantino. But there is another version: according to McGill, it was not he who destroyed the tape, but his mother. Tarantino and McGill were friends until 1987: that year, Scott committed suicide.

At 22, Tarantino got a video rental at Video Archives. There, he was finally able to devote all his time to his beloved movie: he discussed films with clients and colleagues and watched tapes that were played in the salon.

In Video Archives, Tarantino worked for five years, which he calls his film school. At that time, he learned about the tastes of modern viewers, got acquainted with some specific genres of cinema, for example, blaxploitation films – films for black people. He also created his first full-length short film – “The birthday of my best friend”.

Try to create a feature film without money – this is the best film school that can be.

Quentin Tarantino producer

Quentin wrote the script for four years. The main character, Clarence, is looking for a gift for her friend Mikey, who was just thrown by a girlfriend. He comes up with different ideas – a cake, a call girl. But they are perceived by a friend without much enthusiasm. What the film ends with is unknown – only a shortened version has been preserved. At the studio in which Tarantino kept the tapes, an accident occurred and four reels with the film burned out.

Therefore, the final installation of “The birthday of my best friend” looks quite unusual. But in it you can already note some typical elements for Tarantino, for example, catchy dialogs and humor.

Tarantino’s first unfinished film – “My Best Friend’s Birthday”

The scenario of the birthday of my best friend was not in vain: Tarantino used it as the basis for his other text – for the film True Love. It was written in 1989, but the beginning director was not given money for the shoot. The film appeared only in 1993 – it was directed by Tony Scott.

In the script for True Love, there is one more element typical of the Tarantino style – references to your favorite films. One of the characters says: “Rio Bravo, this is a movie.” A western “Rio Bravo” Tarantino has repeatedly called one of his favorites.

When I understand that everything is serious with the girl, I show her “Rio Bravo”. And better, damn it, she liked him.

Quentin Tarantino producer

Another scenario that Tarantino himself could not deliver was “Natural Born Killers”. He, too, was ready for 1989, but filmed even later, in 1994, directed by Oliver Stone.

With this film, the story is unpleasant: Scott greatly altered the script, which Tarantino really did not like. He even refused his work and asked not to indicate the name in the credits. But in the end, the directors agreed on the wording “according to the plot of Quentin Tarantino.”

Shot from the movie “Natural Born Killers” (1994) 

The original script of Tarantino can be read on its own: the text was published online back in 1995 after lengthy litigation. In the introduction to the script, Quentin says that he planned that “True Love” and “Natural Born Killers” would be his first independent directorial work. But that does not work out, he does not regret.

I think of them as my past girlfriends: I loved them then, but I do not want to marry them now.

Quentin Tarantino producer

According to estimates, neither True Love nor Natural Born Killers reach Tarantino’s directorial debut, the movie Mad Dogs. According to legend, in July 1989, after failures with these scenarios, Tarantino was at a cinema party. There he met a former dancer, actor and novice producer Lawrence Bender. Quentin told a new acquaintance that he was going to make a film called Mad Dogs. And he, in turn, decided to support the novice filmmaker.

Tarantino did not have a script, but this did not become a problem. He wrote the text in three and a half weeks, and then showed it to Bender. The producer asked for a year to seek funding, to which Tarantino replied: “I give you two months, a maximum of three.” Bender agreed and began to work actively. He went to his former acting teacher, who brought him together with Harvey Keitel.

Tom liked the script, it fit into the project, and all other actors followed. The powerful lineup made it possible to quickly find the money – $ 1.6 million – and filming began.

In “Mad Dogs” Tarantino for the first time uses his classic perspective “from the trunk.” 
He is in all the films of the director

Mad Dogs is filled with a typically Tarantino style: the film has a non-linear narrative (flashbacks), cool dialogues, it would seem, about nothing (for example, about Madonna’s work) and, of course, a lot of blood.

Even before the release of the movie, the film helped Tarantino become a star: everyone around talked about it. For example, producer Stacy Sher, president of Jersey Films., Appreciated Quentin’s talent simply by reading the script. She helped him achieve the use of the song “Stuck in the middle with you,” without which Tarantino could not imagine Mad Dogs.

The name of the debut film Tarantino has a funny legend. The director’s mother said that once a girl invited him to go to the film “Goodbye, Children” (Au Revoir les Enfants). To which Tarantino replied: “I do not want to go to any Reservoir dogs.”

Stacy Cher helped Tarantino, and after, for example, gave a million dollars for his next film, Pulp Fiction. Quentin once again had only a name in his head, but he was lucky and everyone believed in his talent.

The script for “Fiction” Tarantino began to write immediately after the end of the post-production of “Mad Dogs”. To do this, he went to Holland and settled in a hotel for several months. Along the way, he traveled to Europe and presented his last film at various festivals.

To finalize the scenario of “Pulp Fiction” Tarantino helped Roger Avery – his friend and colleague in the video rental Video Archives.

The director showed the finished script to Jersey Films .. The producers immediately sent him to TriStar, but there they considered the plot too cruel and did not take risks. However, the film did not lie idle for a long time – it was picked up by Miramax. And so they did not lose the choice.

Cruelty is the color in Quentin’s palette. Someone works with musical elements – Quentin works with cruelty. In his films, she is super-real. This is not just a matter of style.

Stacy cher

producer, worked with Tarantino on the films Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight and Django Unchained

The blood and cruelty scenes in Tarantino’s films are an artistic tool that helps tell a story. And he is not the most important one there. Films of the cult director and screenwriter are primarily based on excellent dialogue. It was they who helped to quickly recruit the star cast for “Pulp Fiction”.

Bruce Willis and John Travolta, who by 1994 were already world stars, happily fit into the project. And this, in turn, played into the hands of Miramax – they were able to sell Pulp Fiction to European rental even before filming began.

Actually, I even had to pay for shooting in this film. Somewhere around 30 thousand dollars. I wanted to stay in another hotel, and I paid the reservation myself. But it was definitely worth it. Quentin’s script is like a Shakespeare play.

John Travolta actor

But Tarantino films owe their charm not only to dialogs, but also to an excellent soundtrack. Acquire the copyright to the desired tracks director helps the own production company A Band Apart Records. He opened it in 1991 with Lawrence Bender.

The name A Band Apart is consonant with one of Tarantino’s favorite films, Bande à part. And for the logo, a stylized image of the main characters from “Mad Dogs” was used.

Tarantino opposes soundtracks written by professional composers specifically for films. In his opinion, they never sound perfect. Instead, Quentin picks up old little-known songs that become hits after his films. He made an exception only for his two films – “Django Unchained” and “The Abominable Eight.”

“Pulp Fiction” is the first Tarantino film in which the muse of the director Uma Thurman appeared. He himself called her his Marlene Dietrich, Ingrid Bergman or Catherine Deneuve.

Thurman might not have appeared in the film: after a first look at the script, the actress refused the role. But Tarantino so dreamed of seeing her in his film film that he persuaded him on the phone for a long time and even read her the script.

The production of “Pulp Fiction” cost eight million dollars, five of which went to the actors for salaries.
At the box office, the film collected 200 million

Pulp Fiction brought Tarantino world fame and three awards for the best script: Oscar, Golden Globe and BAFTA Award.

After such success, Tarantino was tormented by doubts: he was afraid that he would be firmly associated with crime films. And then he stopped worrying and decided to do what he wants and how he goes from the heart.

After Pulp Fiction, he began to work closely with Robert Rodriguez: the directors met at the Toronto Film Festival back in 1991, when Tarantino showed Crazy Dogs and Rodriguez showed The Musician. Their vision of beauty coincided and they became friends.

Rodriguez and Tarantino on the set of “From Dusk Till Dawn” (1996)

The first joint project of Tarantino and Rodriguez – the film-collection “Four Rooms”. Quentin directed only the final episode in it – “The Man from Hollywood”.

But the Tarantino spirit is in the whole film. For example, in the episode “Troubles of Calm”, when the protagonist of “Four Rooms”, the corridor Ted, answers the phone, you can see Red Apple brand cigarettes in the frame. Tarantino invented the brand himself during the filming of “Mad Dogs” and now the heroes of all the director’s films smoke these cigarettes.

Character in his films drink Go juice
Red Apple is not the only brand inventry by Tarantino
And the teriyaki coffe shop
And have lunch at big kahuna burger

The collaboration of Tarantino and Rodriguez continued with work on the film From Dusk Till Dawn. Quentin wrote a story about two brothers-criminals named Gecko, who cross the Mexican border and end up in a bar with vampires. At first he personally wanted to make a film, but then he decided to give the director’s chair to Rodriguez, and he himself carefully finalized the script and played one of the main roles.

In the 90s Tarantino starred in several films”From Dusk Till Dawn”(1995)
Girl No 6 (1996)
Desperae (1995)

At the same time, Tarantino helped a little to create scripts for other directors. In 1995, he worked with Tony Scott: patched up the dialogs in the film “Crimson Tide.” In 1996, he edited the script “The Cliffs” by Michael Bay and supplemented the plot of the black comedy “Gorged Blood”.

The latter, according to legend, saw the light precisely because of Quentin. He saw a short film directed by Reb Braddock and convinced him to turn a short film into a full-fledged movie. Tarantino helped with the money – A Band Apart produced the film – and wrote a small part of the script. He is the author of the news release from the film, which tells about the crimes of the Gekko brothers.

Trailer of Gotty Blood by Tarantino

In 1997, Tarantino returned again for the director’s chair and directed his third film, Jackie Brown. The story of a stewardess who makes money smuggling is a non-standard case for Tarantino. This is his only directorial project, the basis for which was not the original script, but literary adaptation. “Jackie Brown” is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel “Rum Punch”.

Shot from the movie Jackie Brown (1997) 

Of course, the script could not do without Tarantino’s edits. The two most notable – he replaced the name of the work and the race of the protagonist – made her black. Because of this, Quentin was afraid to talk with Elmore Leonard for a year : he was sure that he would be angry.

It turned out to be in vain. The writer liked everything: he called the film the best adaptation of his work and, in general, the best script that he had to read.

In one of the main role in ‘Jakie Brown’ stared Rober de Niro
One of the Tarantino’s Favorite films is the Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese

ackie Brown is one of Tarantino’s most underrated and non-popsy films. Probably the reason is at his pace – there is little action in the film. According to the director himself, Jackie Brown reminds him of Rio Bravo. Both of them become much better after the second, third and subsequent views. Just then there is a feeling that you seem to be hanging out with the characters, being in the same company with them.

By the way, Tarantino saw Rio Bravo more than 15 times, and Jackie Brown watched the cinemas for a month — he attended all the sessions to see how the audience reacted to the film and what moments they especially liked.

“Jackie Brown” is much better the second time and, I think, even better the third and fourth times. After the first viewing, you might think: “Why all these long scenes? Why can’t you just jump to the plot? ” But when you watch the movie, you don’t think about the action, but just wait for these long scenes.

Quentin Tarantino producer

Tarantino made his next film, “Kill Bill,” after six whole years. Although the idea was in his development since the time of the filming of “Pulp Fiction”.

Quentin discussed with Uma Thurman projects that they would like to work on. The director said that he wants to do something in the style of seventies kung fu films. Then the actress came up with the opening scene “Kill Bill”, in which she lies battered and in a wedding dress.

Tarantino considers “Kill Bill” and “Kill Bill 2” as one movie: they were created in the same scenario.
The director divided it into two parts so that the film was not too long

In Kill Bill, all the Tarantino tricks are brought to the limit: maximum cruelty, a sea of ​​blood, an intricate structure, interesting dialogs and, of course, references. A lot of references.

In his fourth film (technically, fourth and fifth), Tarantino left homage to very different films: Hollywood classics (Citizen Kane), Japanese films (Battle Royale), westerns (Seekers), martial arts films (The Game of death”).

In addition, Tarantino ordered Uma Thurman to watch three films before filming: “The Assassin”, “Strong Coffee” and “For a Fistful of Dollars”.

References in Tarantino films: from “Mad Dogs” to “Special Django”

The directorial reception of Tarantino, which is clearly visible in Kill Bill, is extremely large shots. Details play an important role in him: they add tension and drama to the moment.

Trailer of the movie “Kill Bill” (2003)

And one more technique, which is more than enough in “Kill Bill” – camera arrivals. It works the same way as extreme close-ups, but doubles the effect. Hitting helps create a feeling of disorientation and fear.

After Kill Bill, Tarantino worked again with Rodriguez. Friends of the directors decided to film a large joint project “Grindhouse” – a dedication to films of category “B”. It consists of two parts: “Planet of Fear” (Rodriguez’s work) and “Proof of Death” (Tarantino’s work). Part of Tarantino is the story of a stunt maniac who chases women in his “death-resistant” car.

“Death Proof” is the only Tarantino film that develops according to its classical structure: the plot, climax, denouement. It is stylized as old cheap paintings: in order to achieve naturalness, the film was artificially ruined. Moreover, the noise was added to it physically, and not through digital effects.

Shot from the film “Death Proof” (2007)

Tarantino said in an interview that each of his films is a bit personal. And “Death Proof” is no exception. In general, there is an opinion that the main character of Mike’s film is Tarantino’s alter ego. The director seems to like to mock people.

Uma Thurman said that during the shooting of “Kill Bill,” Quentin forced her to perform tricks that she was not sure about. For example, drive an old car along a curved road. This trip ended with damage to the neck and knees. At the same time there were stuntmen on the site – on that day they just sat idle. This incident destroyed the friendship of the actress and the director.

In addition, Mike from Death Proof likes female legs, and Tarantino likes a famous foot-fetish player. He adds frames with female feet to almost every film.

The sixth film of Tarantino is Inglourious Basterds. Another “unfinished”: Quentin began writing the script back in 1998, and the film was released only in 2009. He worked on the text for so long because he could not come up with a good and non-trivial ending. The idea that got into the final version of the script came to Tarantino only after the shooting of “Kill Bill”.

In Inglourious Basterds, the main theme of the director’s work is well-read – revenge. The heroes of his films almost always use her as motivation. In the sixth film, for example, Jews take revenge on the Nazis.

Tarantino deliberately made a film with an alternative story: his idea is to show what would happen if in reality there existed characters he had invented. How events would develop and how the Second World War would end.

Before starting work, Tarantino showed the script to his friends to the Jews. They said that it was just that fantasy that they would like to realize. And then he showed his friends to the Germans – it turned out they were of the same opinion.

Tarantino himself describes Inglourious Basterds as “a spaghetti western developing during World War II”

At the same time, there is little cruelty and action in the Tarantino war film. But a lot of dialogue and suspense. The director specially made long intense scenes to make the viewer experience several emotions at the same time.

To achieve the desired effect, Tarantino uses this method: he does not create an ideal script immediately, but rewrites the text several times. And he is trying to noticeably remake every episode. Thus, the characters of Tarantino have a more complex motivation.

Trailer of the Inglourious Basterds (2009)

By the way, Inglourious Basterds might not have happened. Tarantino wanted tocurtail the project during the casting: he could not find an actor for the role of Colonel Hans Landa. At some point, Quentin thought that he had written a character that simply could not be played.

And then Christoph Waltz came to the audition, who conquered both Tarantino and producer Lawrence Bender. And after the audience, critics and members of the Academy: Christoph Waltz brought the first acting “Oscar” – for the supporting role – in the treasury of Tarantino’s films.

In the film, Waltz speaks four languages: English, German, French and Italian. 
In addition, he dubbed his character for the German version of the film

Three years later, Waltz received a second Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. The victory again brought him work at Tarantino: he played the bounty hunter in the seventh film of the director, “Django Unchained”.

The character of Waltz King Schulz redeems a slave named Django: he must help him find the criminals, and for this he will get freedom. In the process, the characters get closer and become friends. Django tells Schultz that the former owner separated him from his wife. The bounty hunter decides to help avenge the offender.

Shot from the movie “Django Unchained” (2012)

Tarantino planned that “Django” would be a two-part film, as well as “Kill Bill.” But in the end, I decided to simply reduce the timing and seriously cut my own script.

But, like in “Kill Bill”, in “Django” there are many common plans. Tarantino loves to include them in the film to show the full extent of the problems that the hero faces. The general plan gives the viewer the opportunity to see the whole world in which the characters of the film live, and better experience the atmosphere.

Trailer of the movie “Django Unchained” (2012)

“Django Unchained” did not remain without the famous dialogues. Tarantino carefully approaches the speech of each hero and makes even the most vile character interesting to the viewer. In “Django Unchained”, such a hero was played by DiCaprio. His Calvin Candy is a racist and just a terrible person. The actor even wanted to soften the character’s character a little, but Tarantino convinced him that you need to squeeze the maximum out of the character – otherwise the audience will not forgive.

Great dialogues helped Tarantino get a second Oscar for best screenplay. Defeating him did not stop and the fact that the film 116 times pronounced the word “nigger”. This is an absolute record in the cinema.

Shot from the movie “Django Unchained” (2012)

“Django Unchained” is the first Tarantino project with music written specifically for the film. The director for a reason refused his own canon – Ennio Morricone became the composer of “Django Unchained”. He wrote music for all the famous spaghetti westerns , and Tarantino loves them very much. So this is also a kind of homage to the old cinema.

Morricone, however, did not like how Tarantino used his compositions in the film. And he even promised never to work with the director again, but still changed his mind and wrote the music for his eighth film – “The Disgusting Eight”.

Morricone received an Oscar for the music for The Abominable Eight

In The Abominable Eight, Tarantino made a reference to his work: the plot is inspired by Mad Dogs.

The director shot the Eight on a 70 mm film – for connoisseurs. True, few saw it in a wide format: not every modern cinema has the technical capabilities to display such a movie.

The 70 mm version differed not only in frame width, but also in timing: it is longer than the standard one by as much as 19 minutes (187 versus 168 minutes). It was difficult to find the director’s option until the spring of 2019. In April , a full 187-minute version of the film appeared on Netflix in the form of a series of four episodes.

Shot from the movie “The Disgusting Eight” (2015)

Tarantino’s latest film, “ Once … in Hollywood, ” was released this summer. In it, the director again returned to the topic of history, but this time he spoke in his own way about the event, “which killed the sixties .”

Tarantino also supported the retro mood of the film on the set: he forbade the crew to use smartphones on the set.

The director is generally not a big fan of modern technology. He always writes the script either by hand or on a typewriter. And it is extremely rare to look at the monitor during the shooting: she prefers to see the scene with her own eyes, trusting the operator.

Just forget about monitors. Magic is before my eyes. You cannot see it through the monitor. Howard Hawks never used a monitor. Many great films were shot without a monitor.

And by the way, every actor, no matter who he is, will look at the director after the scene is completed. And you must be in sight. You should be there, not your fucking nape staring at the monitor.

Quentin Tarantinoproducer

Tarantino’s scripts are built on hidden drama. And in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” this is perfectly noticeable. The plot develops as it seems calm, nothing portends trouble. And in the end, everything changes dramatically. But, in fact, not too harsh, if you carefully monitor the film: Tarantino scatters the keys to unraveling this hidden drama throughout the film.

Shot from the movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019) 

Tarantino seriously declares that he plans to shoot 10 films and after that everything is completely tied up with directing. Now he has nine. He was left alone, and what kind of story it will be is not clear. In addition, the director talked a couple of times about his adaptation of Star Trek and the continuation of Kill Bill, but almost nothing is known about them.

For now, we can say for sure that in the near future we are waiting for a three-hour directorial version of Django, which will include all those scenes that had to be cut.

And Tarantino does not plan to say goodbye to the cinema for good: after the end of the director’s career, she will continue to write scripts. And they are doing very well for him.

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