Mr. Tarantino has made the news lately after his New York Police speech and receiving the wrath of right wing pundits and those who feel they must defend the cops no matter what misdeeds they perpetrate. As I delighted in seeing his demonstration of not fearing consequences, inwardly I wondered if his timing was exposure for his upcoming movie. Police Unions all over the country have vowed to boycott his films, which always drives more into the theaters. I do not doubt Quentin’s passion for those who are being victimized by racist cops, but I don’t think he minds being in the news.
The Hateful Eight is a western due in theaters by Christmas and as a true fan I am excited for more western themed films by him. I have met Quentin several times and found him to be fascinating and personally nice to me. I thrilled hearing him discuss back stories of how he made Pulp Fiction and others.
A few years ago I went to a screening of “JACKIE BROWN”, a movie he made in 1997. “JACKIE BROWN” is based on a book by Elmore Leonard, RUM PUNCH. The storyline is a bad guy, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L Jackson), is smuggling his half million dollar profits made by illegal gun sales from Mexico to LA, with the aid of a flight attendant, Jackie Brown (Pam Grier). The plan is fouled by an informant and Jackie finds herself in a trap by the cops. Brown masterfully outwits the bad guy and the cops with the help of a bail bonds man, Max Cherry (Robert Forster), who is a law abiding business man struck by her charisma and charm.
On the bonus DVd, Tarantino talks about how he and Lawrence Bender went through a pile of scripts to choose RUM PUNCH, as a project. However, when I saw the movie with the director and listened to him talk about it, he told a different story.
Quentin lived in South Bay and Torrance when he was growing up, and told us he regularly shoplifted at K-Mart as a teen. He took CD’s, clothes, and books for an extended time, never getting caught. One day on one of these forays, RUM PUNCH caught his eye and he stuffed it in his pants. He got caught, had to pay a fine and do some community service. The next week he went back and stole it again. When RUM PUNCH came up in the submitted scripts, the incident came flashing back into his mind and he decided to make the movie-Tarantino style. He changed the name and the color of the star, as well as some other points.
Pam Grier said the same night how she came into the project. She was shopping at Hollywood and Highland (near my own residence) in Hollywood one day when she saw Quentin “macking on some white girl” and he came over to her. He told her he was a big fan and had a part for her in an upcoming movie (Jackie Brown). She said she was interested and told Tarantino to send her the script. He agreed and she asked how he could manage that (she lived in New York)? He muttered “I’ll find you”. True to his word, she came home one day months later in New York, and her doorman had a package with postage due. “That mother f***er didn’t even have enough for the postage”. She read it and loved it, thinking she was targeted for the role Bridget Fonda played. She was stunned to find out she would play the lead, which she did magnificently.
Jackie Brown is one of my favorite Quentin Tarantino movies. Constructed beautifully, it stands the test of time. Here is what he said in New York last week that is pissing off so many.