Either you love Quentin Tarantino or you hate him. The director’s work is recognizable for his trademarks—or his routines, depending on your point of view—including: long, powerful dialogues and/or speeches; frequent use of violence and dark humour; and, of course, larger-than-life characters.
But when it comes to these characters, success ultimately hinges on casting. After all, who can imagine any other actor playing Jules Winfield than Samuel L. Jackson? Who but Christoph Waltz could have brought Col. Hans Landa to life?
Tarantino knows his casts and what to do with them. This has resulted in several nice surprises from the actors he chooses, even creating some unexpected performances of actors playing against type. And while it can also be said that he often likes to work several times with the same actors (such as in the cases of Jackson, Waltz, Michael Madsen, or Tim Roth), Tarantino manages to elicit different performances from them on every occasion.
Therefore, here we present you a list of 10 actors (that have worked with him only once, thus far) who should reteam with Tarantino.
10. Michael Keaton
Keaton and Tarantino worked together in the director’s third film, ‘Jackie Brown’ (an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s ‘Rum Punch’ and an homage to the 1970s blaxiplotation films), with Keaton playing a supportive part as Ray Nicolette. An ATF agent, Nicolette involves the main character, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier), in an investigation against her boss, the black-market gun runner, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson).
While the movie itself divided film critics and fans (with many people pointing it as one of Tarantino’s weakest films and some others claiming that is a focused work), very little has been said about Keaton’s character.
Even when he reprised the role of Nicolette in Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Out of Sight’ (also inspired in an Elmore Leonard novel), the character is far from being considered as one of Keaton’s best. So why would it be interesting to see the pair working together again? To find out what they could do with an original Tarantino character.
Even before his recent re-emergence as a stellar dramatic actor, Keaton proved that he can own each character he plays—and Tarantino can bring something different out of every actor. So, the pair could create something new and different for both of them, whether it is a hero, a charismatic supporting character, or even a villain.
9. Christopher Walken
It could be said that Walken has collaborated with Tarantino two times. Once as Vincenzo Coccotti in ‘True Romance’ and the other as Captain Koons in ‘Pulp Fiction’. However, while both of them are stories written by Tarantino, Walken has only being directed by him in ‘Pulp Fiction’; Tony Scott directed ‘True Romance’. But in what is ultimately an extended cameo (with Walken appearing in just one scene), the pair creates one of the most memorable and powerful moments of the film.
As Captain Koons, Walken only appears in Butch’s (Bruce Willis) dream or memory to give a long monologue about the complex—and somehow both sad and funny—story of the golden watch that has been on the Coolidge Family for generations and must now be given to Butch. It is the actor’s charisma and sophisticated voice that make the audience understand why that golden watch is so important to Butch (which leads to one of the major plots of the film).
If Walken managed to create such a powerful moment in only 5 or 10 minutes of the entire film, image why he could do in a more major role. After all, he was considered to play Mr. Blonde in ‘Reservoir Dogs’. Therefore, he would be, without a doubt, an interesting choice to find under Tarantino’s direction once again.
8. Melanie Laurent
Tarantino’s 2009 film, ‘Inglourious Basterds’ brought some new faces to international audiences. On one side, it introduced the charismatic Christoph Waltz, and on the other, it featured Michael Fassbender in a “big” film (but that should be discussed later). However, the film also presented a young French actress who was relatively unknown outside of France: Melanie Laurent. In the film, she plays one of the three major characters, the vengeful Shosanna Dreyfuss.
As Shosanna Dreyfuss a.k.a. Emmanuelle Mimieux, Laurent created an exquisite character. Complex, charismatic, and disturbed enough to complete a suicide mission in order to avenge her family and kill the mayor commands of the Third Reich, Shosanna was one of the biggest highlights of the entire film. She might even be one of Tarantino’s best female characters.
After ‘Basterds’, Laurent moved into all kind of films, both French and American—even trying her hand at film direction. So, there’s no doubt that Laurent is a talented artist who can change from one character to another. Therefore, much like Tarantino did with Uma Thurman, it would be interesting to find the actress playing a different kind of character under Tarantino’s direction.
7. Bruce Willis
The action star worked with Tarantino in what is considered by many to be his best film to date, 1994’s ‘Pulp Fiction’. Here, Willis portrays Butch Coolidge, a boxer that betrays his arrangement with mob boss, Marsellus Wallace, by winning an important fight that he has agreed to lose. Planning to take the money and run away with his girlfriend, Butch’s scheme is complicated when he discovers that, in making a hasty getaway, his girlfriend forgot an important gold watch that has been in his family for generations.
Filled with dark humour, the film was a hit and an instant classic—and it helped Willis to explore different roles and films, before turning into the big action star that is today. As Butch, Willis delivered a tough, but somehow funny character that must deal with all kind of troubles (including a quite disturbing rape scene) before his escape.
To find Tarantino directing an action guy such as Willis once again, at this point, when a big part of his career has been made of action films, could engage a new side of the actor.
After all, Willis has proven that he can be a hero, an anti-hero, a supporting character, and a villain—and while it could be said that the pair has worked together in other projects (such as the small segment on ‘Four Rooms’ or ‘Grindhouse’), to have Willis in another completely-Tarantino film could refresh his now-stale action star image.
6. Steve Buscemi
Tarantino’s first film, ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ was an indie success that introduced a lot of new faces, such as Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and, of course, Steve Buscemi. Buscemi, considered by many to be one of the most charismatic supporting actors of his generation, portrayed one of Tarantino’s most iconic characters: Mr. Pink.
As Mr. Pink, Buscemi plays a nervous, but focused character who sometimes seems to be only one looking at the situation in an objective way, constantly remarking to the others that they should be professionals. Now, while the character could have turned annoying, is Buscemi’s charisma makes him one the most likable guys in the film. His physical figure and personality also embody the comedy elements onscreen.
And so, even when the whole cast was simply perfect, Buscemi was the only one who received any awards, earning an Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actor. Being quite a versatile actor, as his career has proven several times, it would be interesting to see Buscemi reteam with Tarantino—and in no small cameo, like his Buddy Holly impersonator in ‘Pulp Fiction’.