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Film

How Quentin Tarantino paid tribute to Chris Pine’s family in ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’

Quentin Tarantino and Chris Pine are two figures that you wouldn’t necessarily think connected, as they seem to come from two disparate realms in Hollywood. 

Tarantino’s reputation precedes him. He’s one of the most celebrated auteurs of the past 30 years, with a penchant for B-movies, Akira Kurosawa and Blaxploitation films, and by fusing these visual influences with iconic soundtracks, he’s created a highly stylised and often violent universe that is one of the most influential in history. He also covets the human foot like no other, but we won’t go into that.

As for Chris Pine, he’s concerned with all things in front of the camera lens. He’s one of Hollywood’s go-to leading men and has starred in a host of memorable films ranging from Star Trek to Wonder Woman and Unstoppable. Pine is a familiar face when it comes to blockbusters, and for a good reason. He’s an actor whose merit needs no real explanation, and his resumé speaks for itself.

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It transpires that Pine comes from a long line of actors, and whilst none of them were prominent stars before him, Tarantino, who is a fan of everything to do with obscure cinema, has been a fan of the Pine family for years. His love of the Pine dynasty runs so deep that he referenced them in his last outing, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Pine’s grandmother, Anne Gwynne, was a B-movie actor who appeared in many films during the 1930s and ’40s that inspired Tarantino, such as House of FrankensteinThe Strange Case of Doctor Rx, and Black Friday. Additionally, Chris Pine’s parents, Robert Pine and Gwynne Gilford were also actors. His father starred in the TV series CHiPs, whilst his mother appeared in Fade to Black and The Waverly Wonders. 

However, it is through Anne Gwynne that Chris Pine and Tarantino are connected. The director is such a fan of her movies that he explicitly paid tribute to her in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. In the film, there’s a scene where a television set is playing a clip of a film starring Anne Gwynne from the ’50s, Teenage Monster. 

Furthermore, Tarantino has not been afraid to share his love for the Pine family outside of the film. During a 2020 interview with The RingerTarantino discussed Chris Pine’s 2010 thriller Unstoppable, and labelled himself the actor’s biggest fan. 

Reacting to this surprising fanfare, in March 2022, Chris Pine told The Hollywood Reporter“Of course, I’m extremely flattered”.

The Unstoppable star explained: “Just on a personal level, I used to take my mom [Gwynne Gilford] to the Academy Awards, and we’d always go to the Vanity Fair party, where we’d run into Quentin. And every time we ran into Quentin, he was so lovely with my mother and spoke with her about her mom [Anne Gwynne], who was an actress. And he, of course, knew everything about my grandmother. And then in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, he had one of my grandmother’s B movies [1958’s Teenage Monster] on the television screen that [the Manson family is watching] in Bruce Dern’s scene. So he’s a gem, man. I’m very, very grateful and kind of blown away that he thinks so highly of me. It feels nice.”

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