Even if he does not only have friends, Quentin Tarantino is considered today as one of the greatest directors of his generation. With nine films to his credit (and claims he’ll stop at ten), he’s worked in several film genres over the course of his career. Passionate about cinema since he worked in a video club (where he built his rather imposing culture), his films are extremely referenced, full of winks but also of rather interesting filming anecdotes.
1. The guitar from “Hateful Eight”
This anecdote is quite well known now, but for people who don’t know it is worth telling. In this scene, Jennifer Jason Leigh performs a song with an old guitar, and Kurt Russel takes it out of her hands before smashing it into pieces (3.24 minutes into the video). The problem is that this guitar was a collector’s item dating from 1870 graciously lent by the luthiers “Martin & Co”. The original had to be replaced by a copy before Russel burst it but this one was unaware of it. So you can see the totally authentic reaction of Jennifer Jason Leigh who even turns to the team in a big moment of panic.
2. The “Reservoir Dogs” torture scene
Two interesting things about this now cult scene in which Michael Madsen tortures a cop after dancing to the title “Stuck in the middle with you”. First of all the dance is totally improvised as revealed by the actor whose script to follow was “Mr blonde dances in a manic way”. The scene is quite shocking and during his first screenings Tarantino counted the number of people who left the room during it (the record being 33 people during the same screening). Even director Wes Craven (Freddy, Scream) was gone during that scene. Tarantino then allegedly told actor Steve Buscemi that the number of people leaving was a good way to calculate the success of a film.
3. The “True Romance” case
If “Reservoir Dogs” is Tarantino’s first realization, True Romance is the first script he wrote before Tony Scott took charge of directing it. Very proud of its screenplay and Scott’s adaptation, he once described the film as “the only love story film I’ve written”. There’s one particular scene that’s definitely worth watching, it’s the interrogation of actor Dennis Hopper by the Sicilian mobster played by Christopher Walken who prides himself on knowing when people are lying. Tarantino once said it was the scene he was most proud of in terms of writing, but he also said it was potentially the best-acted scene in the history of cinema.
4. The “Fox Force Five” series
During the dinner scene in “Pulp Fiction” where Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent Vega (John Travolta) are having a chat before dancing, Mia explains that she has passed an audition for a series called “Fox Force Five” which unfortunately did not go beyond the pilot episode stage. It’s the scenario description that is quite interesting: it’s about a team of five secret agent women made up of a Japanese, a French, a blonde, an African-American and the character of Mia, an expert in knife fighting. These five characters if you haven’t guessed yet are the five killers of the Kill Bill diptych.
5. The five-minute fight of “Kill Bill”
In the first episode of “Kill Bill,” Beatrix Kiddo (Uma Thurman) takes on O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) in an aesthetically beautiful fight. But before these two rivals fight, O-Ren tells Beatrice that she “won’t last five minutes in a fight against her”. Of course, despite the fact that she tells it to herself, the heroine ends up emerging victorious from the fight and killing her. However, if you time from the musical signal of the beginning of the fight until the end of this one, your chronometer will display exactly four minutes and fifty-nine seconds. Good game.
6. The Pulp Fiction Dance Trophy
This takes place after the Mia and Vincent dance scene we were talking about above, we see them going back to Mia’s house with the trophy, understanding that they have won the competition (and when we see the dance we say to ourselves that it’s deserved). Well actually, if you pay attention, we hear on the radio later in the movie that a trophy was stolen during the dance competition. Not so good players finally these ugly characters.
7. The bar scene in “Django Unchained”
When the character of Django (Jamie Foxx) arrives at the slave seller played by Leonardo DiCaprio, he attends a fight scene between slaves. He leans on a bar and converses with another man. He asks him his name and the protagonist responds “Django, the ‘d’ is silent” (from my own translation of the scene in English) to which the other responds “I know” and disappears from the plot of the film. Ok, nothing very interesting at first sight, except that this character is played by actor Franco Nero and that he played the title role of the films “Django” (1966) and “Django strike again” (1987). A small cameo like this cinema enthusiast Tarantino likes to offer.
8. The scene from “Sin City”
Director Robert Rodriguez is a great friend of Quentin Tarantino and they also produced the diptych “GrindHouse” (Planet Terror / DeathProof) together. There are several interesting anecdotes about the duo: Tarantino wrote the script for “From Dusk Til Dawn”, after which Rodriguez directed a scene from Pulp Fiction in which Tarantino is on screen. Rodriguez made the film’s soundtrack for $1 and later, to thank him, Tarantino came to direct the next scene from “Sin City” for the same price. Class.
9. DiCaprio’s cut in “Django Unchained”
During the tense dinner scene at his home, DiCaprio’s character ends up growing suspicious of his guests when the character played by Samuel L. Jackson tells him that something is wrong. He then hits his fist on the table quite violently, exploding a glass in the process. The thing is, it wasn’t necessarily planned, and the cut on the hand and the bleeding are genuine. The actor also continued the take, so thoroughly into this one, and the team gave him a standing ovation at the end of the one before he went to get stitched up.
10. The “Four Rooms” Segment
Directed by four people, the film “Four Rooms” remains relatively unknown even though it is quite original (although uneven). We follow the catastrophic evening of a bellhop played by Tim Roth in a hotel during New Year’s Eve. In particular, it will pass through four rooms, four small short films, which make up the film. The first two rooms were written and directed by Allison Anders and Alexandre Rockwell and the last two by Robert Rodriguez and Tarantino which closes the film. In his scene, actor Bruce Willis stars with him and had agreed to take the role for free. However, he was thus exposing himself to the rules of the studio and could have been prosecuted. The actor therefore agreed to play not only for free in the scene, but in addition to not being credited in this one. He really wanted to play in it.
11. Bonus: The three universes of Tarantino
Fans know it, all Tarantino movies are related. Thus Vic Vega (Reservoir Dogs) is the brother of Vincent Vega (Pulp Fiction), the Donowitz of Inglorious Basterds is the father of the Donowitz of True Romance, the brands Kahuna Burger and Red Apples appear in almost all the films, the name of Mr White’s family (Reservoir Dogs) is Dimmick, the same family name as the character played by Tarantino himself in Pulp fiction… In short, lists of links have already been drawn up and I will let you check for yourself. However, there are three different universes altogether. The first that I have just described is the “real universe”, because people’s stories are common and there are, for example, family ties between the films. Then comes the “universe of films” which corresponds to the films that the characters of the first universe could see at the cinema and which includes Kill Bill, Born Killers and One Night in Hell. The third universe only concerns the film Jackie Brown since it is the only film that Tarantino did not write, it is the adaptation of a novel that one of the characters reads in a scene . Here you know everything.