Quentin Tarantino has been in a number of fights throughout his life, most of which have been well-documented. From engaging in a fistfight with Lawrence Tierney on the set of Reservoir Dogs to slapping a cameraman at Sundance for filming him, Tarantino has never been one to back down from a confrontation by taking it to the next level.
However, none of these stories come close to what happened to him almost ten years ago when he got into an altercation with a formidable opponent: a New York taxi driver. Tarantino recalled: “I was in the back of this cab and this taxi driver who was a big guy – he was a real jerk. So he was such a jerk I said, ‘Pull over to the side of the road and let me get out.'”
According to the director, he had such an intense disliking for the driver that he refused to pay him 50 cents as a tip for a $4.50 ride which rubbed the driver the wrong way. Tarantino continued: “I was like, ‘Give me my money,’ and he was like, ‘Fine’ and he gives me the two quarters and he refers to my date and says, ‘Use it to buy her a new face.'”
This was the straw that broke the camel’s back, sending Tarantino into a frenzied rage which made him run around the back of the car to attack him. His blows were so forceful that the driver retreated to the car while the director continued to punch him hard in the face with all the force he could muster up after such an insult.
“Now this is all happening in front of a club,” Tarantino said. “So the bouncers grab me and pull me off of him.” Seeing a window of opportunity, the taxi driver strategises and comes up with the perfect counterattack – a nipple bite. Tarantino elaborated: “The guy sees that I’m being held and he attacks me and tries to bite me on my nipple. He didn’t hit me … he sunk his teeth into my chest.”
Tarantino kept this incident under wraps until he finally came clean about it, revealing that he had to pay $30,000 per fight to keep such events out of the newspapers: “I go, ‘Maybe he doesn’t know who I am. I can’t tell anybody about this. I can’t tell my best friend about this.’ So for a year I didn’t tell anybody about it to see if anybody would know about it and it went away.”