Quentin Tarantino's known for several things as a filmmaker: his florid, almost musical dialogue; his penchant for excessive blood and gore; and his ability to take actors to the next level in their careers - or resurrect the careers of faded stars. Whether with long-running collaborations over several films (Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen) or one-time roles that left an indelible mark (John Travolta, Pam Grier), Tarantino has made an impression on the lives (and bank accounts) of his actors.
Here's what some of his collaborators have said about working with Tarantino.
- Photo: The Hateful Eight / The Weinstein Company
Kurt Russell has appeared in three Tarantino films: Death Proof, in which he played the homicidal Stuntman Mike; The Hateful Eight, in which he portrayed the bounty hunter John "The Hangman" Ruth; and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, as stunt coordinator Randy Lloyd.
Russell enjoyed working with Tarantino, telling Parade:
There’s something sort of adventurous and illegal-feeling when it comes to working with Quentin. He loves the process of making movies from A to Z. It’s infectious, and you want to be a part of it.
Russell, by the way, managed to destroy a priceless vintage guitar that had been rented out to the Hateful Eight set. In his defense, he thought at the time that it was a prop replica.Good story?
- Photo: Reservoir Dogs / Miramax Films
Michael Madsen has worked on several Tarantino films, none more memorably than Reservoir Dogs, where he played the cool-yet-sadistic crook Mr. Blonde. His signature moment - dancing to "Stuck in the Middle With You" while preparing to cut off a policeman's ear - has become one of the most unforgettably chilling moments in cinema.
Madsen, who hasn't always starred in films of such quality, said Tarantino "changed [his] life," and compared their collaboration to other famous ones, like Sam Peckinpah and Steve McQueen, or Humphrey Bogart and John Huston:
That doesn't happen in an actor's life - you meet this one guy who gets you, and then when you work with him, you know it's gonna turn out probably pretty good. You don't have that anxiety about wondering what the finished product is gonna be... When you're with him, you go to work, you get up and you wake up and you go to the set, you know, "Man, this is probably gonna be pretty good." And it's very comforting.Good story?
- Photo: Django Unchained / The Weinstein Company / Sony Pictures Releasing
Speaking to Howard Stern, Django Unchained star Jamie Foxx said Tarantino was a "tyrant" and characterized the director's attitude as: "Do not f*ck my film up." But Foxx elaborated that, in his view, this was a good thing:
But that's what you want. You want a director who, even if you're going off the cliff, you know that you're going off the f*cking cliff.
When Stern asked if Foxx would work with Tarantino again, despite the difficulty, Foxx didn't hesitate to say, "A thousand times."Good story?
- Photo: Pulp Fiction / Miramax Films
In Pulp Fiction, Eric Stoltz played Lance, the dealer who finds himself forced to help Vincent Vega rescue Mia Wallace, a crime boss's wife, from an OD.
In an interview many years later, Stoltz talked about how Tarantino's off-set methods helped to turn the actors into a cohesive bunch:
The smart thing Quentin did is, we rehearsed, and he'd bring in the department heads to watch, and then we'd all go out to dinner. And we'd all go to sushi, and talk about it, and listen to Sam Jackson and John Travolta tell stories. And so by the time we started shooting we felt like a company. We felt like this little tribe of freaks. And it was a good feeling.Good story?