Chris Pine on Meeting Quentin Tarantino and Finding Out His Grandmother Is in 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

Chris Pine
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Quentin Tarantino called Chris Pine "hands down, my favorite" actor of his generation, lobbing the compliment during an appearance on The Ringer’s Rewatchables podcast in January. He didn’t stop there.

The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood auteur got specific by saying he loved Pine’s work as Captain Kirk in the Star Trek franchise and in Unstoppable for Tony Scott. Of the latter, he said, "He’s filmed like a movie star and he looks it. He soaks in those colors, that lighting, those costumes. He completely holds his own against Denzel [Washington]. That’s what he needed to make himself a movie star."

At the time, the Pine love helped fuel anticipation of a possible collaboration between the two, though a once-planned Star Trek outing for Tarantino no longer seems an option. However, on a new podcast, Pine keeps the hope for a pairing alive by saying he’d love to work with Tarantino someday. And fans of Tarantino’s latest will perk up upon hearing Pine detail the night he met Tarantino and how it led to spotting his grandmother — legendary model turned actress turned scream queen Anne Gwynne — in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Speaking to comedian and actor J. Claude Deering on the inaugural episode of his "Things Are Going Great for Me" podcast, Pine calls Tarantino "a very cool dude," then recalls their encounter one night during a Vanity Fair Oscar party. Though he doesn’t mention the date, the two both attended the 2010 party hosted by then-editor-in-chief Graydon Carter.

"I've been to the Academy Awards a couple of times and I always take my mom and we have a great old time and laugh a bunch and she holds all the Power Bars," Pine recounts of his big night out. "We ended up at this great … Vanity Fair party that they always [had] at the Sunset Tower, which is one of my favorite spots, just because it feels so old-school, so old Hollywood. It has a romance to it that I think, unfortunately, we've kind of lost."

At some point during the party, Pine introduced his mother to Tarantino, famous for his encyclopedic knowledge of film, and found out the director "knows everything about my grandmother. He knows film names, co-stars, directors, production designers, just unbelievable. So [he and my mother] ended up talking for about 40 minutes and I went off and got another martini."

Years later, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes out, and "I love it," Pine says. "I call my folks and ask them if they'd seen it. They saw it, loved it, and my mom says, 'You know, that scene at the ranch [with Bruce Dern] and there's a TV on?' I said, 'Yeah, I vaguely kind of remember this.' But she said, 'On the television is one of my mother’s films.' So, I have yet to get in touch with him, and my mother actually wrote me up an email that I was going to forward to him. Obviously, it’s so sweet of him and I’m assuming that was done on purpose. … My mother was ecstatic, just over the moon."

Also on the episode, which features producer and co-host Winston Carter, Pine discusses his return in the upcoming Wonder Woman 1984, the possibility of Pine playing Bill Hader's brother in a project, and passing on the Oscar-nominated Jeremy Renner role in The Town in favor of doing Scott’s Unstoppable.

Though the episode was recorded in April, Pine does address the future of Star Trek, which Paramount has remained committed to making despite minor studio upheaval. Pine is still on board, saying he’d "love to" be a part of the next installment. "I’m the last person to find anything out," he says. "I know Paramount is coming out of having restructured a bit and hopefully when the dust settles, something concrete will come out of it and we’ll get to work."

Deering’s "Things Are Going Great for Me" debuted today and can be found on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Anchor and other podcast platforms. The composer is Cormac Bluestone (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) with sound engineering by Christopher Frontiero and graphics by Dan Olszewski. Deering has already recorded a full season featuring actors, comics, screenwriters and authors in conversation about everything from the future of entertainment, race and representation in the arts and everyday life.

New episodes drop every Thursday. Upcoming guests include Baron Vaughn, Liz Glazer, Brandon Scott, Jess Nurse, Clarke Peters, Della Saba, Chantal Thuy, Jordan Barbour, Melissa Fumero, David Lengel, Christine Woods, Royce Johnson, Sara Paxton, Dalia Malek, Rightor Doyle, Elna Baker, Tembi Locke and Vinny Chhibber.