40 Things You Didn’t Know About Quentin Tarantino Movies
As one of the most celebrated directors of modern times, Quentin Tarantino made films like no others. Since his latest film Django Unchained hits the theaters a week ago, it’s a perfect time to go back to his former masterpieces and dig something that would be interesting to know about. Here are 40 things that even the most loyal QT fans might not know.
1. The final answer print of the film came back from the lab just 3 days before its world premiere at Sundance.
2. During filming, a paramedic was kept on the set to make sure that Mr. Orange’s (Tim Roth) amount of blood loss was kept consistent and realistic to that of a real gunshot victim.
3. The warehouse where the majority of the movie takes place was once a mortuary, and thus is full of coffins. Mr. Blonde doesn’t sit down on a crate, it’s actually an old hearse he perches on.
4. Michael Madsen had difficulty filming the torture scenes. He was particularly reluctant when he was required to hit actor Kirk Baltz. When the cop, pleading for his life, says that he has a child at home (a line not in the script), Madsen, himself a new father at the time, was so disturbed by the idea of leaving a child fatherless that he couldn’t finish the scene.
5. At several points, Tim Roth had lain in the pool of fake blood for so long that the blood dried out and he had to be peeled off the floor, which took several minutes.
6. The film’s budget was so low that many of the actors simply used their own clothing as wardrobe; most notably Chris Penn’s track jacket. The signature black suits were provided for free by the designer, based on her love for the American crime film genre. Steve Buscemi wore his own black jeans instead of suit pants.
7. Madonna – who is the main topic of the opening conversation – really liked the film but refuted Quentin Tarantino’s interpretation of her song ‘Like a Virgin’. She gave him a copy of her ‘Erotica’ album, signed “To Quentin. It’s not about dick, it’s about love. Madonna.”
8. In then commentary of the True Romance DVD, Quentin Tarantino says that Tony Scott read both the “True Romance” and “Reservoir Dogs” scripts and told Tarantino he wanted to direct “Reservoir Dogs”. Tarantino told him he could have “True Romance” but that he himself was going to direct “Reservoir Dogs”.
9. The title for the film came to Quentin Tarantino via a patron at the now-famous Video Archives. While working there, Tarantino would often recommend little-known titles to customers, and when he suggested Au revoir les enfants, the patron mockingly replied, “I don’t want to see no reservoir dogs!” The title is never spoken in the film, however.
10. Mr. Pink’s numerous references to being “professional” are a reference to movie director Howard Hawks, a favorite of Quentin Tarantino’s.
11. The passage from the Bible that Jules has memorized was mostly made up by Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson. The only part that’s similar to what the Bible says is the part where he says, “And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger. And you will know My name is the Lord when I lay My vengeance upon thee.” However, the parts about the righteous man and the shepherd are not real.
12. Quentin Tarantino wrote two of the three stories before he wrote Reservoir Dogs and True Romance. After the success of those films, he decided to write a third story, intending to have each segment directed by a different person.
13. Daniel Day-Lewis (who incidentally shares a birthday with Uma Thurman) wanted the role of Vincent Vega, but Quentin Tarantino turned him down in favor of John Travolta.
14. Uma Thurman originally turned down the role of Mia Wallace. Quentin Tarantino was so desperate to have her as Mia, he ended up reading her the script over the phone, finally convincing her to take on the role.
15. Jules’ “Bad Mother Fucker” wallet actually belongs to Quentin Tarantino. The inscription on the wallet is a reference to the theme song of Shaft. Samuel L. Jackson, who plays Jules, would later go on to play Shaft in the 2000 remake, Shaft.
16. Many people believe that the band-aid on Ving Rhames’ neck was an intentional choice by the filmmakers (see above entry on content of the briefcase). In reality, it came from an accident Rhames had while shaving his head. When Quentin Tarantino noticed this, it inspired him to open the “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace” sequence with a close-up of the band-aid instead. Ultimately Tarantino liked showing the band-aid rather than Rhames’ face because it accentuated the character’s mercurial nature and was more visually exciting than a series of single shots of Rhames and Bruce Willis.
17. Whenever Vincent Vega (John Travolta) goes to the toilet something bad happens.
18. Uma Thurman did not actually like the song that was played in the Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist Contest, and told Quentin Tarantino about this, saying it just didn’t sound right, Tarantino simply replied “Trust me, it’s perfect.”
19. Quentin Tarantino’s first and only film (as of 2010) to adapt from preexisting material, rather than his own.
20. Probably the least violent of all Quentin Tarantino’s movies, as only 9 shots are fired, and 4 squibs of blood are seen used.
21. Spike Lee publicly criticized Tarantino for the frequent use of the word “nigger” in the film. Samuel L. Jackson, previously a frequent Lee collaborator, defended Tarantino in the press. Miramax chairman called Lee in an attempt to mediate between him and Tarantino but Lee refused to speak with Tarantino.
Kill Bill Vol.1
22. Warren Beatty was originally offered the role of Bill. After turning it down, he suggested to Quentin Tarantino that he use David Carradine.
23. In order to achieve the specific look of Chinese “wuxia” (martial arts) film of the 1970s, Quentin Tarantino gave director of photography, Robert Richardson, an extensive list of genre films as a crash-course in the visual style they used. The list included films by genre-pioneers Cheh Chang and the Shaw Brothers. Tarantino also forbade the use of digital effects and “professional” gags and squibs. As such, he insisted that bloody spurts be done in the fashion made popular by Chang Cheh: Chinese condoms full of fake blood that would splatter on impact.
24. Part of the movie was shot at the legendary The Shaw Brothers Creative Group studio in Hong Kong. Quentin Tarantino has seen so many movies made at the studio that he felt it was important for him to work there.
25. Christopher Allen Nelson, who worked on the special effects, revealed in interview that over 450 gallons of fake blood were used on the two Kill Bill movies.
26. Okinawa is widely regarded as one of the worst possible places to get good sushi. In other words, a sushi joint in Okinawa would make a fine hiding place.
27. Director Quentin Tarantino was a big fan of the Japanese movie Battle Royale so he cast Chiaki Kuriyama (who played Takako Chigusa in Battle Royale) as Gogo Yubari.
28. Quentin Tarantino owns the “Pussy Wagon” and drove as his everyday vehicle to promote the release of Kill Bill: Vol. 2. He licensed use of it for the Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott music video, “I’m Really Hot”. It also appears in the video for “Telephone” by Lady Gaga and ‘Beyonce Knowles’.
29. According to Uma Thurman, Quentin had her watch three movies in preparation for this film: John Woo’s The Killer, Coffy (Starring Jackie Brown star Pam Grier), and Sergio Leone’s Per un pugno di dollari.
Kill Bill Vol.2
30. The Character Pai Mei is based on Pak Mei, the originator of the “White Eyebrow” kung fu technique. According to legend, Pak Mei was one of the few masters left following the decimation of the Buddhist temples, and later sold out other masters to save himself and his team during an attack they had mounted that subsequently went wrong. For this reason, Pak Mei Kung Fu has always been known as the “forbidden technique,” and Pak Mei himself has been a villainous figure in Chinese folklore and film for hundreds of years.
31. From script to film, the Ten-Point Palm exploding heart technique is changed to the Five-Point Palm exploding heart technique.
32. Bill’s speech about Superman was in part inspired by “The Great Comic Book Heroes” a book by Jules Feiffer.
33. Pai Mei’s three inch punch is a reference to Bruce Lee’s three inch knockout punch.
34. In an interview with Newsweek, Quentin Tarantino stated he came up with the idea of “Death Proof” when he was talking to a friend about buying a car. Tarantino wanted to buy a Volvo because he “didn’t want to die in some auto accident like the one in Pulp Fiction”. In regards to the safety of the car, his friend had said, “Well, you could take any car and give it to a stunt team, and for $10,000 or $15,000, they can death-proof it for you.” The “death proof” phrase had stuck to Tarantino after that.
35. The film was physically scratched to achieve its dirty look, rather than digitally scratch the film footage.
36. Quentin Tarantino intended for this to be as much a war film as a spaghetti western, and considered titling the movie “Once Upon a Time in Nazi-Occupied France”. He gave that title instead to the first chapter of the film.
37. When asked about the misspelled title, director Quentin Tarantino gave the following answer: “Here’s the thing. I’m never going to explain that. You do an artistic flourish like that, and to explain it would just take the piss out of it and invalidate the whole stroke in the first place.”
38. Eli Roth directed the film-within-the-film, “Nation’s Pride”.
39. Michael Fassbender’s performance as Lt. Archie Hilcox is layered with irony due to his real life. Fassbender was born in Germany to German and Irish parents and raised in Ireland, now residing in London with fluency in German as his first language and English as his second, and a mastery of English accents and dialects. Here he plays an Englishman who goes undercover as a German, and who can speak German fluently, but cannot hide his accent.
40. At the end of each take, actors would face the camera and say “Hello Sally”, referring to Sally Menke, the film’s editor. This practice has occurred since Quentin Tarantino’s previous movies (such as Kill Bill: Vol. 1, Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Death Proof). Inglourious Basterds was the last film by Tarantino to be edited by Menke, whose work was honored in 2010 with her final Academy Award nomination for Best Editing, prior to her death later that year.
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