Quentin Tarantino is credited for his homages to lesser-known cinematic gems. So much so, he has his own film festival in Austin, Texas. His films have helped revitalise the genres and styles amongst the hidden depths of world cinema but have also helped the careers of various actors and actresses, propelling them to the public eye.
Most of them have collaborated multiple times with Tarantino or been linked to his possible future projects – here we look through the Tarantino Hall of Fame, seeing whose careers have reaped the rewards of working with the cult director.
Amongst the several actors propelled into the limelight from appearing in a Tarantino picture, Waltz had a modest career on stage and television in his native Austria. When he was Colonel Hans Landa in Inglorious Basterds – a part that could have gone to Leonardo DiCaprio – the actor quoted that Tarantino “gave me my movie.” Unanimous praise from critics and film fans, multiple acting awards followed for his portrayal as the whimsical yet cunning SS Colonel and Hollywood stardom beckoned in the form of modest hits such as Water For Elephants (and ummm…The Green Hornet). Next to appear in Tarantino’s upcoming feature Django Unchained and a part in The Muppets 2, Waltz has indeed benefitted from playing Tarantino’s ‘un-playable’ Landa.
Samuel L Jackson
Considered one of the hardest working (and highest-grossing) actors in Hollywood, it is strange to think of Jackson before he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction. Amongst supporting roles in Jurassic Park, Goodfellas and a starring role in spoof Loaded Weapon, an infamous monologue misquoting Ezekiel 25:17 and a tense Mexican standoff with Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer turned him into the biggest badass in Hollywood. Now, with over 100 films under his belt, not to mention being known as the dude with the purple lightsabre in the Star Wars prequels and/or Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Jackson has become an icon not only in cinema but also in geek culture.
It all started with a black wig and a cigarette in her hand, staring moodily at the camera. Thurman already had a modest career before being cast as gangster’s wife Mia Wallace and the rest is history. Unlike Jackson and Waltz, Thurman chose not to do any high-profile films for the following three years before eventually reuniting with Tarantino in 2003 for his revenge film Kill Bill, where she starred as ‘The Bride’ – a character they co-created. Her performance revitalised her career and she recently appeared in NBC musical drama Smash. Just don’t mention Motherhood…
Although his career has spanned over 40 years, Keitel’s career took an interesting (and cautious) turn when he was involved with Tarantino’s debut feature, Reservoir Dogs. He helped the 29-year old aspiring director to gain additional funding, as well as co-produced and appeared in the film as Mr. White. More prolific roles followed, ranging from the compassionate George Baines in Jane Campion’s The Piano, subsequent Tarantino-related projects including Pulp Fiction, From Dusk Till Dawn and a cameo in Inglorious Basterds. In a way, Tarantino wouldn’t have had a chance in Hollywood if it weren’t for Mr. White.