One of the greatest directors of our generation is Quentin Tarantino and it’s not a big shock when I say, the man enjoys his cannabis.
Having grown up in Tennessee and California, Tarantino spent a lot of his childhood going to movies and taking acting classes. He dropped out of high school in Harbor City, Los Angeles and lied about his age in order to get a job as an usher at a porn cinema called Pussycat Theatre.
From that point on, he did a lot of other odd end jobs, like a few television acting gigs, a recruiter in the aerospace industry, and eventually worked at a video store called Archive Video in Manhattan Beach, California. He was considered a film encyclopedia or savant, very similar to my Flix Anonymous partner in crime Steve Stebbing.
Back in the late 80s, Tarantino wrote a script called My Best Friend’s Birthday. That screenplay was later transformed into 1993’s True Romance directed by Tony Scott. Tarantino expressed that he didn’t like what his script had become and denounced the cult classic.
However, after the death of Tony Scott, Tarantino had a change of heart when talking about the adaptation. He went on to mention that he disagreed with critics who said that Scott had “glossed up my script, made it too pretty, too vivid. That’s what makes it work so well, and the casting and performances he got.”
The only thing that the rogue writer/director would have changed about True Romance was what he called the sappy love story.
“Mine would have been more cynical,” Tarantino told indiewire.com “I wanted to make you fall in love with Clarence and blow his fucking head off; I wanted to do that to you. Tony didn’t want to do that. Clarence was me; I could blow my own head off, a punk rock move.”
Early on, Tarantino realized that it was best for him to write and direct his own films and in January of 1992, he released the neo-noir crime thriller Reservoir Dogs – which he also wrote, directed and even acted in as Mr. Brown. The film probably would have never seen the light of day had it not been for Harvey Keitel who not only put in some of his own money, but also starred in the film.
Reservoir Dogs was screened at Sundance Film Festival and it became an immediate hit. The script was written in just three weeks and went on to become one of the most successful independent films of all time. That was until Tarantino’s next project.
Other unknown facts that most people don’t realize, is that Tarantino also wrote Natural Born Killers which was eventually turned into a film by Oliver Stone in 1994. He was also an uncredited screenwriter on both 1995’s Crimson Tide and 1996’s The Rock.
After all the success Reservoir Dogs received, Tarantino had many directing offers on the table including the film Speed and Men in Black. But instead of taking on projects he didn’t write or create, he moved to Amsterdam to work on the script for Pulp Fiction.
This is where he really fell in love with legal craft cannabis. In a 2012 interview with Playboy, Quentin Tarantino talked about the creative spark he sometimes enjoys from smoking marijuana. He explained,
“I wouldn’t do anything impaired while making a movie. I don’t so much write high, but say you’re thinking about a musical sequence. You smoke a joint, you put on some music, you listen to it and you come up with some good ideas. Or maybe you’re chilling out at the end of the day and you smoke some pot, and all of a sudden you’re spinning a web about what you’ve just done. Maybe you come up with a good idea. Maybe it just seems like a good idea because you’re stoned, but you write it down and look at it the next day. Sometimes it’s fucking awesome.” He later added, “I don’t need pot to write, but it’s kind of cool.”
Pulp Fiction first played at Cannes Film Festival in May 1994 where it won the prestigious Palme d’Or. It continued the festival circuit before being released in South Korea, Japan, and Slovakia before it came to America in late 1994.
Pulp Fiction was made for $8.5 million, and when it was all said and done, it raked in a cool $100 million. It also became the vehicle for one of Hollywood’s best comeback stories for actor John Travolta, who received an Academy Award nomination for his performance.
When Pulp Fiction was first released people were blown away by the stylization, the nonlinear storyline, the violence, and the 265 “F words” that were littered throughout.
Like Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino inserted himself into the film as Jimmie and so he trusted another director named Robert Rodriguez to shoot those scenes. The pair later teamed up for a number other projects, including From Dusk Till Dawn and Grindhouse.
When it was all said and done, Pulp Fiction was nominated for 26 different awards and won eight of them including a few for best original screenplay. It showed that Tarantino was here to stay and that he could write, direct, and even produce his own art. He was a rebel, a self made man who pretty much created a blueprint for other independent directors to follow. He proved that you don’t have to sell your soul to the Hollywood machine.
Tarantino went on to direct Jackie Brown, Kill Bill (Vol.1 and Vol.2), Death Proof and 2009’s Inglourious Basterds.
While in France back in 2008, Tarantino visited Brad Pitt’s vineyard to talk about Pitt’s role in Inglorious Basterds and to go over the script. After a few bottles of wine, Pitt pulled out a bong he made out of a Coke can (you would think he would have better paraphernalia) and a large brick of primo hash. Tarantino and Pitt got baked, drank wine and played around with the screenplay until 3 AM.
Inglourious Basterds went on to becoming one of Tarantino’s highest grossing films and earned him a plethora of award nominations including an Oscar to Christoph Waltz for best supporting actor.
Tarantino followed Basterds up with another classic in Django Unchained in 2012 and The Hateful Eight in 2015.
Not bad work for a film junkie who also enjoys using cannabis to spark creativity. Below is a video about Tarantino talking about his hash session with Pitt, and it kind of goes from there. Enjoy.
Make sure to check Trevor Dueck and Steve Stebbing out every Friday on Cannabis in Canada for Flix Anonymous. They review all the new film releases, give you their weekly stoner flicks and more.