A Comprehensive Guide To Quentin Tarantino’s (Over)Acting Career

By: 03.27.14  •  22 Comments

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Everything you need to know about Quentin Tarantino’s acting can be explained in this Fresh Air interview:

GROSS: You dropped out of school when you were 15 or 17?

TARANTINO: Fifteen.

GROSS: To study acting?

Mr. TARANTINO: Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I dropped out in middle school. I dropped out in, towards the beginning of the ninth grade. And then I started studying -I started taking acting classes at a, well first I was like in a community theater at that time in Torrance, California, so I finished up like my season with that community theater just acting in, you know, acting in a small part on this play or a big part on that play or a stage manager or assistant stage manager in another play. And then I started studying with James Best, who played Roscoe Coltrane on The Dukes of Hazzard. Roscoe P. Coltrane. (Via)

Tarantino learning to act from someone on The Dukes of Hazzard? Perfect. In honor of QT turning 51 today, let’s take a look back at his acting career, which, yes, includes The Golden Girls.

1987: My Best Friend’s Birthday

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Tarantino’s first film, 1983’s Love Birds in Bondage, was unfortunately destroyed, so technically, his debut on-screen performance is in My Best Friend’s Birthday. He also wrote and directed the movie, which caught fire in an editing lab, and most of the ending was lost forever. Hence its 36-minute running time.

1988: The Golden Girls

Via QT himself: “Well, it was kind of a high point because it was one of the few times that I actually got hired for a job. I was one of 12 Elvis impersonators, really just a glorified extra. For some reason they had us sing Don Ho’s ‘Hawaiian Love Chant.’ All the other Elvis impersonators wore Vegas-style jumpsuits. But I wore my own clothes, because I was, like, the Sun Records Elvis. I was the hillbilly cat Elvis. I was the real Elvis; everyone else was Elvis after he sold out.”

1992: Reservoir Dogs

Mr. Pink > Mr. White > Mr. Orange > Mr. Brown > Mr. Blonde > Mr. Blue.

1992: Eddie Presley

During filming of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino took some time off to appear in Eddie Presley, the cinematic adaptation of Duane Whitaker’s one-man-show about a mentally frail Elvis Presley impersonator. The film was directed by Jeff Burr, and Tarantino and Bruce Campbell play orderlies in an insane asylum.

1994: Pulp Fiction

“Do I have a sign over my garage that says Dead N*gger Storage?”

1994: Sleep with Me

Sleep with Me isn’t a very good movie — it’s basically one big circle jerk of an experiment, in which six different writers wrote a scene each about the main characters — but it does have one memorable scene, when Tarantino goes off at length about “one of the greatest f*cking scripts ever written in the history of Hollywood,” Top Gun. It’s pretty much what I imagine Tarantino is like at every party.

1994: Somebody to Love

Tarantino has a very quick appearance as a bartender.

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