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The Oscar-winning filmmaker dropped by the WTF podcast for an interview posted Monday in which he talked about his career, as well as his upbringing and how it shaped his love of movies. Tarantino reminisced about his stepfather, Curtis Zastoupil, of whom he was quite fond, but also his biological father, aspiring actor Tony Tarantino, whom he loathes.
Starting on the topic, the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood writer-director said he chose to keep the last name Tarantino because it sounded cool. “It had nothing to do with him,” Tarantino told Maron. “It had nothing to do with the family. If I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t use the name Tarantino. If I had it to do all over again, I would use my middle name as my last name. I would be Quentin Jerome.”
Maron then was able to accomplish something not many other interviewers could do: He got Tarantino to talk in detail about his father, whom the Reservoir Dogs creator said he never knew — and never wants to know.
“He had 30 fucking years to find me and he never did. But then when I became famous, he crawled out of the woodwork,” Tarantino said. “It was fucking horrible. It was a drag. He tried to reach out to me. I wasn’t interested.”
The Pulp Fiction writer-director said he was completely incensed when his father gave an interview in 1995 to journalist Jami Bernard, who wrote the biography Quentin Tarantino: The Man and His Movies, which featured the Tony talk.
“So, she does this whole interview with him — who I’ve never met! And they print it in Premiere magazine,” he said. “It was so fucked up. You can’t even say that he was a bad dad and that maybe reflected on Quentin’s life. No. He was not there. It was pretty tasteless.”
The only good Tarantino said he could possibly find from the entire father-son situation was the fact that Tony and Al Pacino’s late estranged father, Sal, were apparently able to appear in straight-to-video films based solely on their sons’ brands.
“Look, I am not into this dude, but I actually do think there is something kind of sweet that the son he never saw allowed him to have somewhat of the resemblance of the career he was never able to get on his own,” Tarantino said. “Had he been cool and didn’t try to horn in and actually had some class — I might even have looked him up.”
Tarantino even talked about the one and only time the two saw each other. “So one day I was in a cafe, I’m ordering something and all of a sudden, he is just there,” the filmmaker began. “And he’s like, ‘Hi. It’s me.’ And I look up, and I knew exactly who it was. And I go ‘Ugh. I knew this day was going to come.’ And he goes, ‘Yup. That day is today.’ And he goes, ‘May I sit?’ And I just looked at the table, and I waved him away with my hand. I looked at him when I said, ‘Ugh.’ And then I just looked at my plate and waved him away. Just go, just go. And he went. That was it. I am sure he is alive. He has done enough that when he dies, they’ll write about him.”
Tarantino’s novelization of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood goes on sale Tuesday.
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