To celebrate Tarantino’s 50th birthday, here are 50 facts about the man and his iconic and beautifully engaging movies:
1. His middle name is Jerome.
2. He has Italian, Irish and Cherokee ancestry.
3. He dropped out of school at the age of 16 to train to act at James Best Theatre Company. However, he became bored of this after two years and dropped out.
4. He was an employee of video rental store Video Archives. Tarantino would observe what people would like to watch and has claimed this influenced his directorial choices.
5. Tarantino co-wrote and directed a movie called My Best Friend’s Birthday in 1987, but the film reels were almost fully destroyed in a fire. The screenplay went on to provide the basis for True Romance (1993).
6. All of the clocks in the pawn shop in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.
7. Tarantino has said that he writes two types of script: “Movie Movie” and “Realer than Real World”. He suggests that those who reside within the “Realer than Real World” ‘universe’ would want to watch those in the “Movie Movie” ‘universe’. He has suggested that those films under the “Movie Movie” genre are unrealistic, while the likes of Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs can be categorised under “Realer than Real World”.
8. One of the names carved into the bat carried by The Bear Jew in Inglourious Basterds is Anne Frank.
9. After watching Reservoir Dogs, Madonna, who was the subject of the opening dialogue, sent Tarantino a copy of her Erotica album with the message “To Quentin. It’s not about dick, it’s about love. Madonna.”
10. He has claimed he likes to leave 20% of the movie ‘unseen’ (for example, not showing you what is in the suitcase in Pulp Fiction) “so the movie is really yours”.
12. He played an Elvis impersonator in the comedy show The Golden Girls.
13. He doesn’t like sports and has said: “I don’t hang around pool halls. I don’t play poker. And I don’t go to sporting events. To me, torture would be watching sports on television. If I go to Dodger Stadium, that’s ok, because the game is secondary to the beer and the environment. One thing I don’t understand is that average American movie-goers cannot watch a movie for three hours, yet they’ll watch a stupid, boring, horrific football game for four hours. Now, that is boredom at its most colossal.”
14. Tarantino wrote Inglourious Basterds inbetween writing Jackie Brown and the Kill Bill films.
15. Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained are the first two parts of a movie trilogy based on revenge, with the third movie rumoured to be called Black Crow.
16. The basis of the plot of Black Crow will reportedly be taken from a plotline removed from Inglourious Basterds.
17. His revenge and ‘blaxploitation’ films are based upon his genuine hatred of racism, slavery and the anti-black sentimentality of the American South. He has a fascination with pro-Klan texts The Birth of a Nation and The Clansman and has described the texts as “evil”, with only Hitler’s Mein Kampf coming close to the level of “ugly imagery”.
18. Due to his hatred of racism, he has claimed Calvin Candie, the central villain in Django Unchained played by Leonardo DiCaprio, is the only character he’s written that he’s hated. He’s said: “I hated Candie and I normally like my villains no matter how bad they are. I can see their point of view. I could see his point of view, but I hated it so much. For the first time as a writer, I just f*cking hated this guy.”
19. After getting into a fight with a taxi driver who had insulted his then girlfriend, Tarantino nearly lost his nipple. He said in an interview: “He took a big bite out of me, right by my nipple…The only reason her didn’t really f*ck me up was he was too greedy. He took too big a bite. Had he taken a smaller bite, I might not have a nipple now.”
20. Tarantino was thanked in Nirvana’s In Utero, though his name was spelt differently. In turn, Tarantino thanked Nirvana on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack and add included ‘RIP Kurt’.
22. He famously dislikes brand placements in films and creates imaginary brands to replace them in his own. These include the infamous Kahuna burger, as well as Red Apple Cigarettes, G.O. Juice, Jack Rabbit Slims and Teriyaki Donuts.
23. The suit bought in Jackie Brown is the same as the one worn by Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction.
24. Mr Blonde’s (Reservoir Dogs) real name is Vic Vega, which is the same surname as Vincent’s in Pulp Fiction.
25. His friend Robert Rodriguez scored the soundtrack for Kill Bill for $1. In return, Tarantino directed a scene in Rodriguez’s film Sin City for the same fee.
26. He has an IQ of 160.
27. He is now reportedly worth $90million, but before he became rich he was so poor he couldn’t pay his parking tickets, so served time in jail instead. He said: “I was actually in jail three different times for tickets. I was picking up some dialogue, but I wasn’t in there for that. It was easier when you’re broke to do the time.”
28. A paramedic was kept on the set of Reservoir Dogs to ensure that the amount and consistency of Mr Orange’s blood loss was realistic.
29. The ‘Bad Mother F*cker’ wallet seen in Pulp Fiction actually belonged to Quentin.
30. The band aid on Ving Rhame’s neck in Pulp Fiction was not aesthetic: he had a shaving accident which Tarantino utilised.
31. He insisted the blood effects used in Kill Bill were the same used by Chang Cheh, a pioneer of Chinese cinema: they were condoms filled with fake blood that burst upon impact.
32. Over 450 gallons on fake blood were used in the two Kill Bill films.
33. The actual film of Death Proof was physically scratched to achieve a ‘dirty’ aesthetic.
34. Tarantino was offered the job of directing Men in Black, but decided to turn it down.
35. Leonardo DiCaprio requested the role of Calvin Candie in Django Unchained and Tarantino re-wrote the character to become younger to accommodate the actor. He said in an interview: “He got [the script] and really liked Calvin Candie. Leo was younger than I had initially written, but I read it again and could see no reason why the character couldn’t be younger. And since I’m hitting hard this notion of the American South re-creating European aristocracy in this amateur make-it-up-as-you-go-along fashion, the nothing of him as the boy emperor was cool.”
36. He is 6ft 1inch tall.
37. He has more acting credits than directing ones.
38. He was production assistant for a workout video by Dolph Lundgren called Maximum Potential.
39. All of his feature films include scenes set in restaurants.
40. He enjoys the James Bond films and has said that he would like to direct one at some point.
42. He has been friends with Leonardo DiCaprio for around 15 years and during this time has sent his a script of his latest films “just in case” he wanted to act in them.
43. He has won equal amounts of awards for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained; five for each film.
44. He has won two Academy Awards (both form Best Writing (Original Screenplay)), one Cannes Film Festival award (Palme d’Or), three BAFTA’s and several other awards, mainly for his screenwriting, but also for his direction.
45. Tarantino has said that he intends to retire from filmmaking at the age of 60 to focus upon novel and film literature writing.
46. He has also shown a dislike of the digitalisation of the film industry: “If it actually gets to the place where you can’t show 35mm film in theatres anymore and everything is a digital projection, I won’t even make it to 60.”
47. With the exception of Death Proof, all of his films feature actors from Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets.
48. Tarantino often features many of the same actors throughout his films, but perhaps Samuel L. Jackson is the most recognisable – he has acted in five of his films.
49. He was sued $5million by Don Murphy for attacking him in a restaurant.
50. Pulp Fiction has been cited by many critics as one of the best films of all time, while Reservoir Dogs has been named ‘Greatest Independent Film of All Time’ by Empire magazine.