When a new film from director and cinematic icon Quentin Tarantino comes out, you better sit up and listen. From the likes of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown at the start of his career, the director has gone on to helm the war drama Inglourious Basterds, western The Hateful Eight and his modern masterpiece Once Upon a Time in Hollywood starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie.
Growing up in Knoxville, Tennessee, the director is famous for having not attended film school in his youth, preferring an education of simply watching films from across the landscape of cinema including the monochrome action of Japanese samurai films to the thrills of western horror. Working at a video store, Tarantino was able to hone his knowledge of cinema, telling The Talks: “[My] head is a sponge. I listen to what everyone says, I watch little idiosyncratic behaviour, people tell me a joke and I remember it. People tell me an interesting story in their life and I remember it”.
Quentin Tarantino’s career was sparked by a love of simple, violent crime stories, releasing his debut film, Reservoir Dogs in 1992 that starred an ensemble cast of iconic genre actors who would each go on to elevate their career. This, coupled with his following film, Pulp Fiction, a blinding odyssey of American violence, crime and style would help to catapult the filmmaker to almost instant cultural prominence.
The third film of Quentin Tarantino’s illustrious filmography, Jackie Brown, was the first to truly divert from the director’s frenetic style, casting the likes of Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Keaton and Chris Tucker. Slower and more methodical than his previous films, Jackie Brown was adapted from Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch and follows a flight attendant who gets arrested by the FBI for drug smuggling and has to decide on her loyalties.
Upon the release of Jackie Brown in 1997, Quentin Tarantino spoke to Charlie Rose where he discussed the influence that Robert De Niro carried on set. Speaking to Rose, Tarantino stated that De Niro “deserves his reputation as probably the greatest actor of his generation”.
Continuing in his glowing praise of the actor, the director adds, “I think he is the best actor in the world. I’ve never seen an actor so completely consume himself in character, in true character work during the work. And what I mean by that is when Robert is playing Louis…he is working moment to moment”.
“De Niro has that down. He is so in character,” Quentin Tarantino concludes, finishing in his glowing praise of the iconic actor. Still working at the height of his capabilities, Robert De Niro is next due to star in Killers of the Flower Moon from Martin Scorsese, appearing alongside the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brendan Fraser, Jesse Plemons and Lily Gladstone.