Back in the early nineties, there was one director’s name on everybody’s lips. His screenplay and first film Reservoir Dogs, the ultra-violent, heist masterpiece had framed him as one of the best artists of his time. Quentin Tarantino was, as so many have been and will be again, “the toast of .”
The former video store employee (remember them?) turned director and auteur was suddenly in hot demand. His newest movie, Pulp Fiction, was still in production but would go on to define a generation and even find critical acclaim winning the coveted Palme d’Or. While that production was still under development the clamour for his earlier unreleased work was building to a fever pitch. Two films, in particular, would go on to add further credibility to his talent, Natural Born Killers and True Romance.
Both films run similar thematic lines, both are love-on-the-run spectaculars, both filled with violence, drenched in pop-culture references, and both are truly fantastic watches. Unsurprisingly the two films are in fact related. They were born as two parts of The Open Road, a behemoth script written by Tarantino’s co-writer on Pulp Fiction and former video store colleague Roger Avary.
Later, when Tarantino was working in the glitzier side of life in Hollywood, he found himself at Tony Scott’s house at a party and saw his chance to bend the producer’s ear. He offered Scott the chance to look at both Reservoir Dogs and True Romance, in the end, selling the latter for $50,000 and choosing to fund the former with the cash made.
What transpired was a mind-melding of sumptuous style and effortless grit. True Romance would be the perfect combination of Scott’s brashness and the complex characters of Tarantino’s writing. Stylistically satisfying in every way the still remains the film would be nothing without its cast.
Patricia Arquette plays, Alabama, the call girl with a crazy pimp—oddly and beautifully played by Gary Oldham—while Christian Slater takes on the role of Clarence, the Elvis obsessed schmo who falls hopelessly in love with Alabama, in turn, finding himself at her side in a whirlwind of blood, cocaine and sex.
Despite not being Scott’s first choice of actors (he wanted Robert Carradine and Joan Cusack) but the match of Slater and Arquette is one of the most intense and effortless in modern film. “Christian had a woody from the first time he saw her,” Scott once said. “It was love at first sight,” admitted Slater. The huge cast also included Christopher Walken, Dennis Hopper, Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer the amazing Samuel L. Jackson plus many more.
The film is, quite frankly, a bonafide cult-classic and if this is all news to you then you have our permission to put down this article and immediately find and watch this movie. Not only is stylistically satisfying in every way it has a quite beautiful soundtrack produced by Hans Zimmer which only adds to its quality.
We take a look at some candid images of these great actors and producers working hand in hand to create one of the best films Tarantino has ever been involved with and quite possibly one of the best in modern times.
(All images © 1993 – Warner Bros. and sourced via IMDb)