Quentin Tarantino is, without a doubt, one of the most singular and influential filmmakers and voice of his generation. His penchant for violence and profane, instantly quotable dialogue has served him well and garnered him a massive following and fan base. So much so, a 2013 survey revealed that Tarantino was the most-studied director in the UK and has been referenced the most in essays and dissertations on film in the previous five years, ahead of directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg.
Tarantino was born in Knoxville, Tennessee to his parents Connie McHugh and Tony Tarantino. His parents’ marriage didn’t last and he and his mother moved to Los Angeles. She soon remarried to musician Curtis Zastoupil who nurtured and encouraged a young Tarantino’s love of films and attended many screenings with him. His next step-father also facilitated the budding movie-buff’s fixation and his mother allowed him to watch films with mature content, such as Carnal Knowledge, at a young age. During his mid teens, Tarantino dropped out of high-school and worked various jobs, most famously as a video store clerk where he could put his extensive film knowledge to good use and recommend films to customers. After a chance meeting with future collaborator and producer Lawrence Bender, Tarantino co-wrote and directed his first feature titled My Best Friend’s Birthday (1987). However, his breakthrough came in 1992 with the crime thriller Reservoir Dogs; the film premiered at Sundance to glowing reviews and set the distinct tone for Tarantino’s proceeding efforts.
Aside from writing and directing his own scripts, he also sold the scripts True Romance (1993) and Natural Born Killers (1994). Both films received a positive critical response and featured heavy and graphic violence which drew some raised eyebrows. Following his run of successes, Hollywood approached Tarantino to helm several high profile projects including Speed and Men in Black. However, he turned down these offers in favour working on and developing his next feature – Pulp Fiction. Pulp Fiction premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994 and won the coveted Palme d’Or. It also received the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and has since become a classic in the non-linear narrative genre. The film also marked the first collaboration with muse, Uma Thurman. Tarantino remarked on their professional partnership, “It’s just this cool connection that happened while we were doing Pulp Fiction. I mean, von Sternberg had Marlene Dietrich, Hitchcock has Ingrid Bergman, Andre Techine had Catherine Deneuve. It’s a special bond that I’m proud to have, and hopefully, one day, people will reference me and Uma like they do the others.” The actress later starred in Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2 (2003-2004) as The Bride, the production of which has been rife with stories that have recently hit the tabloids. Thurman released a video on her Instagram showing a driving stunt she was involved in go wrong but added that Tarantino expressed remorse over the incident, “Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so I could expose it and let it see the light of day.”
The director has expressed his intention to retire after his tenth feature and, according to media reports, his next two cinematic ventures are already in place. The first of which being a film involving the horrific Manson Family murders and a TV actor hoping to break into the film industry with the help of his sidekick and stunt double. Leonardo DiCaprio is already confirmed to star but several other Hollywood names are also circling the project, including the likes of Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. The untitled film is slated for release 9th August 2019. Tarantino’s other film in development is an unlikely step – an R-rated Star Trek. The Revenant screenwriter Mark L. Smith will pen the script and sci-fi extraordinaire J.J Abrams is on board to produce. Expect violence and bleakness to propel this galactic adventure.
• Reservoir Dogs (1992)
• Pulp Fiction (1994)
• Jackie Brown (1997)
• Kill Bill: Volume 1 and 2 (2003-2004)
• Inglorious Basterds (2009)
• Django Unchained (2012)