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Let’s Explore Quentin Tarantino And His Acting Crew…

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Quentin Tarantino has only nine directorial credits to his name – but he’s still considered one of the most impactful filmmakers working today. With the recent release of his latest film, we’re seeing many of his favorite actors appear on the screen for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. 

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Like a lot of filmmakers, Tarantino has a posse of actors who he can rely on to appear in his films. Let’s take a look at some of his most frequent collaborators over his 27-year career.


Leonardo DiCaprio

Appearances: Django Unchained, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Weinstein Company / Sony Pictures Releasing

The Oscar-winning actor is fairly new to the Tarantino club, appearing in only two of some of his most recent films. DiCaprio took a notable break from acting after winning his academy award in 2016. It seems that his four-year break was broken by Tarantino asking him back to star opposite Brad Pitt. After Once Upon a Time in Hollywood was released, there is already talk about a potential second Oscar for the star.

Lucy Liu

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2

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Lucy Liu has made two appearances in the Tarantino universe – as the deadly O-Ren Ishii in the Kill Bill films. Her character was one of the deadly assassins that put Thurman’s Bride on her journey of revenge. Liu technically appears in two films even though it was one character. Similar to other people on this list, she appears in two films since the original version was cut into two separate volumes.




Michael Madsen

Appearances: Reservoir Dogs, Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

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Madsen is the star of one of the most iconic movie moments in recent years. Staring as Mr. Blonde in 1992’s Reservoir Dogs, his character famously cut off the ear of one of his enemies. Today, no one can listen to Stuck in the Middle With You without thinking of the scene. A fun fact for Tarantino fans: his character is the brother of John Travolta’s Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction.

Harvey Keitel

Appearances: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds

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Not many people know that Harvey Keitel is largely responsible for launching Taratino’s career. The actor signed on to produce and star in the filmmaker’s first film – helping put him on the Hollywood map. Ever since, Keitel has appeared in two more Tarantino films, notably as Winston Wolfe in Pulp Fiction. Is there a character cooler? Today, he still gives off that gangster energy that made him so popular in 1994. 

Brad Pitt

Appearances: True Romance, Inglourious Basterds, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

Technically, Quentin Tarantino was only a writer on True Romance, but it still marks the first time these two met and worked together. Since then, Pitt has starred in two of Tarantino’s recent films in the last decade. It seems like the perfect time to bring Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio together on the big screen to work opposite each other. Tarantino writes the perfect scripts for these charismatic stars to exchange in banter.

Uma Thurman

Appearances: Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2

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Quentin Tarantino has described Uma Thurman as his ‘muse’ over the years. The blonde star first appeared in 1994’s Pulp Fiction opposite John Travolta before starring in two more of his films. Tarantino originally wrote Kill Bill as one film but it had to be split into two volumes due to its length. Sadly, their working relationship came to an end when Thurman accused the filmmaker of acting inappropriately. 

Mélanie Laurent

Appearance: Inglourious Basterds

Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

She may have only appeared in one of his films, but Mélanie Laurent definitely made an impression! In 2009, Laurent played Shosanna in Inglourious Basterds and wowed us with her charming French. To date, it’s been the only time that Laurent has appeared in a Tarantino film. However, since we don’t know what his 10th film will be, there’s every chance that she would appear in the next installment! Do you think she will want to appear again?

Samuel L. Jackson

Appearances: True Romance, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 2, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight

The Weinstein Company

Is there an actor who collaborates with a filmmaker more than Jackson? The action star has appeared in seven out of nine Tarantino films, making him the most notable star in the filmography. Over the years, we’ve seen him appear in main roles as well as small cameos. Samuel L. Jackson has an objectively impressive career, also appearing in franchises like Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. 

David Carradine

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2

Tarantino
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Even though it was intended to be one film, we can still count Carradine as appearing in multiple Tarantino films. The veteran actor played the titular character who sparked a chain of events to set The Bride on her journey of revenge. While it took him a bit of time to turn up, he certainly didn’t disappoint fans once he did. His calm and collected nature adds a deeper sense of dread since we know just how dangerous he can be. 

Michael Parks

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2, Death Proof, Django Unchained

Tarantino
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Michael Parks has had modest parts in Quentin Tarantino’s films over the years, but it doesn’t mean he hasn’t left an impact. He played Earl McGraw in both Kill Bill films, as well as in the Grindhouse films, Planet Terror and Death Proof. The character is a Texas ranger created by Tarantino and often moves from different franchises and movies in the Tarantino universe. He often appears opposite his real-life son, James Parks…

James Parks

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Death Proof, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight

Tarantino
Miramax

Parks plays Edgar McGraw, the fictional son of Earl. As mentioned, they often appear next to each other in different films from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez. As well as the films listed above, Parks has also appeared as McGraw in From Dusk til Dawn. Even though the Parkses appear briefly in each film, they are a fun addition for eager film fans to spot every time a new film comes out. 

Michael Bacall (right)

Appearances: Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained

Tarantino
The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

Michael Bacall is another actor you might not know right away, but fans of the filmmaker will notice him pop up in quite a few movies. Bacall had modest parts in Tarantino films but they were memorable nonetheless. In Django Unchained, he played Smitty Bacall and appeared as Omar in both of the Grindhouse films. While he hasn’t acted much in recent years, we shouldn’t rule out the possibility of him appearing in his next film! 

John Travolta

Appearance: Pulp Fiction

Tarantino
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Travolta played Vincent Vega, the gangster brother of Michael Madsen’s Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs. At the time, his involvement in the crime film was a major turning point for the actor and marked the start of his official comeback to Hollywood. In Pulp Fiction audiences got to see a new side of John Travolta as he exchanged in fun conversations opposite Samuel L. Jackson. Would you like to see Travolta appear in one last Quentin Tarantino film?

Steve Buscemi

Appearance: Reservoir Dogs

Tarantino
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Steve Buscemi immediately helped introduce us to Tarantino’s filmmaking and writing style with his opening performance in Reservoir Dogs. He played Mr. Pink, one of the eight gangsters who was responsible for robbing the bank thus setting up the inciting incident for the rest of the film. While it was his only appearance in the Tarantino world, the actor certainly made an impact on the future of the films. Would you like to see him return for the director’s final film?

Zoe Bell

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Tarantino
Dimension Films

You might not know who Zoe Bell is right away, but if you’ve seen a Tarantino film then you’ve definitely seen her on the screen. The actress is one of the hardest-working stunt doubles in Hollywood and has often doubled up for Uma Thurman. As well as stunt-doubling, Bell has also appeared in Death Proof as ‘herself’. 

Margot Robbie

Appearance: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

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It might be a first for the blonde bombshell, but we doubt it will be the last! Margot Robbie has already worked with directors like Martin Scorsese, Adam McKay, and Richard Cutis – so it makes sense she would want to up the ante by appearing in a Tarantino flick. In Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, Robbie plays a fictionalized version of Sharon Tate, a woman who met a ghastly fate thanks to Charles Manson.

Eli Roth

Appearances: Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds

The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

Another two-time collaborator with Tarantino comes from Eli Roth. This Hostel director joined the cast of Inglourious Basterds after appearing in Death Proof two years before. He played Sgt. Donny Donowitz, one of the soldiers responsible for killing Hitler. Roth is more used to being behind the camera and has focused more on directing and producing. To date, he has 15 director credits and 37 producer credits to his name. Would you like to see him star in more films in the future?

Kerry Washington 

Appearance: Django Unchained

The Weinstein Company / Sony Pictures Releasing

Kerry Washington has more than 50 acting credits to her name, but it was 2012 that proved to be her breakout year in Hollywood. As well as starring in Django Unchained, Washington was also cast as Olivia Pope in ABC’s Scandal. In Django Unchained, Washington played Broomhilda von Shaft – Django’s wife. While it was the only appearance she made in a Tarantino film, it was a memorable performance that left audiences members in awe of her acting.

Pam Grier

Appearance: Jackie Brown

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Out of all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, Jackie Brown seems to have the fewest number of frequent collaborators. Pam Grier starred as the titular character in the 1997 heist film. In Jackie Brown, Grier plays a flight attendant caught smuggling money for her boss. Instead of deciding between death or jail, Brown decides to play both sides and escape with her money. It’s a compelling performance and begs the question as to why Grier didn’t return to the Tarantino sphere.

Dakota Fanning

Appearance: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

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This young star made her gran Tarantino premiere this year, playing Squeaky Fromme in his ninth film – Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. The child star made waves from a young age when she appeared in films like War of the Worlds and I Am Sam. As time has gone on, Fanning has proven that she can carry the screen on her own. While she may not make it into his 10th and final film, Fanning surely has a successful career ahead of her.

Ving Rhames

Appearance: Pulp Fiction

Miramax

Rhames only appeared in one Tarantino film, but he played one of the most iconic characters in the whole filmography. In 1994’s Pulp Fiction, Ving Rhames portrayed the crime boss Marsellus Wallace. He immediately caught our attention while speaking to Willis’ Butch, and then again when the two reunite in the gun shop. Of course, Marsellus Wallace was the husband of Thurman’s Mia – who danced the night away with John Travolta. Did you notice his bandaid on his neck?

Damien Lewis

Appearance: Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

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British actor Damien Lewis entered the Tarantino game when he appeared in 2019’s Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood as Steve McQueen. Interestingly, this is one of the first times that Tarantino has based one of his films in a historical timeline. Damien Lewis is currently starring in Billions, but first made his name as Nicholas Brody in the acclaimed hit Homeland. While the actor usually spends most of his career in the television, it will be interesting to see his continued success in cinema.

Michael Keaton

Appearance: Jackie Brown

Miramax

Here’s another actor who has certainly been around the block in the last 30 years. Keaton has appeared as two major superheroes and villains, as well as working alongside some of the best directors in the industry. In 1997’s Jackie Brown, he played Ray Nicolette, the agent who wants to work with Brown to bring down Ordell Robbie. We don’t see him again in a Tarantino film, but we would love to see him share the screen with Christoph Waltz!

Emile Hirsch

Appearance: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood

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Hirsch made his first appearance in a Tarantino film this year for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. He played Jay Sebring, the real-life hairstylist who was killed by the Manson Family. Along with his girlfriend, Sharon Tate, these two met their nasty fate which the director highlighting in his recent film. Emile Hirsch had also appeared in films like The Girl Next Door and Into The Wild. After a brief hiatus from Hollywood, it appears he will be appearing in a few more roles in the future.

Kurt Russell

Appearances: Death Proof, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

The Weinstein Company

Kurt Russell is Hollywood royalty, and his personality perfectly suits some of the bizarreness of characters seen in a Tarantino film. To date, the actor has appeared in three films and certainly left an impact in each one. Recently he was the narrator and actor in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and brought a certain authenticity to the role and the story. Outside of classic Tarantino films, Kurt Russell also appeared in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

Christoph Waltz

Appearances: Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained

The Weinstein Company / Sony Pictures

The irresistibly charming Christoph Waltz has appeared in two Tarantino films, earning him an Oscar for each one! The two-time German Oscar-winner first appeared in the opening scene of Inglourious Basterds and immediately captivated audiences. Even the director believes that Hans Landa is his best-written character from all his films. Three years later, Waltz would return to Tarantino’s filmography as the bounty hunter, Dr. Schultz in Django Unchained opposite Jamie Foxx. Which performance did you prefer?

Tim Roth

Appearances: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Four Rooms, The Hateful Eight

Miramax

While history has stored Four Rooms away where no one can see it, the rest of Tim Roth’s performances certainly make an impact all these years later. In Reservoir Dogs, we saw him bleed to death for the whole film, in Pulp Fiction, we saw him rob a diner. Finally, in The Hateful Eight, we saw him adopt a fake moniker and fool the cabin. Either way, Roth definitely knows how to make each character his own.

Amanda Plummer

Appearance: Pulp Fiction

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Plummer’s Honey Bunny plays an important role opposite Tim Roth’s ‘Pumpkin’ in the opening and closing scenes of Pulp Fiction. Immediately, she throws us in the middle of the action as the loved-up character who helps rob a diner during breakfast. Aside from Pulp Fiction, Amanda Plummer has appeared in more than 100 film and television projects, including The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and Phineas and Ferb. To date, Honey Bunny remains her most famous role. 

B.J Novak

Appearance: Inglourious Basterds

The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

This The Office star appeared in Tarantino’s Nazi action film as Pfc Smithson Utivich. He got his big break from comedy, where his set caught the attention of producer Greg Daniels. It would be a few years as a sitcom actor before he would star in a feature film. Since his supporting role in Inglourious Basterds, Novak has appeared in films like The Smurfs, The Internship, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. While his role in Tarantino’s film was modest, it was enough to help boost his film career. 

Robert De Niro

Appearance: Jackie Brown

Miramax

As one of the most famous crime actors working in recent years, it makes sense that De Niro would appear in a film like Jackie Brown. The actor plays Louis Gara, one of the antagonists of the 1997 film. Of course, outside his appearance in Jackie Brown, De Niro has a seasoned career in films like Taxi Driver, Meet The Parents, and The Godfather pt, 2. He hasn’t appeared in any other Tarantino film yet.

Vivica A. Fox

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2

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Fox puts in a memorable performance as Vernita Green, otherwise known as Copperhead. Together, she and the Bride battle in a suburban home as her daughter rests upstairs. The entire first scene of the film sets the tone for the rest of the Bride’s brutal journey of revenge. Outside the two Kill Bill films, Vivica A. Fox has actually appeared in almost 200 film and television roles! It is her performance in Kill Bill, Batman and Robin, and Independence Day that has garnered her the most recognition.

Diane Kruger

Appearance: Inglourious Basterds

The Weinstein Company / Universal Pictures

Diane Kruger has appeared in many Hollywood films, rising to fame as Abigail Chase in National Treasure opposite Nicholas Cage. Originally from Germany, Kruger has appeared in nearly 50 Hollywood films and TV shows. Recently, she portrayed Kellyanne Conway in Funny Or Die’s The Kellyanne Conway story. While she hasn’t been cast in more mainstream projects recently, her portrayal of Bridget von Hammersmark was certainly a memorable one. Would you like to see her return to the Tarantino-verse?

Michael Bowen (right)

Appearances: Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 1, Django Unchained

Tarantino
Miramax

Michael Bowen isn’t immediately recognizable as an actor, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played some impressive roles over the years. The actor has appeared in three Tarantino films over the years. In Kill Bill, he played the infamous character of Buck, who like to… you know. In Jackie Brown, he played Mark Dargus, and finally appeared in Django Unchained. Bowen also appeared as the villain in AMC’s Breaking Bad.

Robert Forster

Appearance: Jackie Brown

Miramax

Robert Forster might not be a leading name, but the seasoned actor has more than 185 acting credits to his name! In 1997, he starred in Jackie Brown as Max Cherry, the bail bondsman who befriends Brown during the film. Today, audiences might recognize Forster from his stint as Bud Baxter in Fox’s Last Man Standing. He also wowed audiences when he appeared in one of the last episodes of AMC’s Breaking Bad as the ultimate ‘fixer’. 

Bridget Fonda

Appearance: Jackie Brown

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Out of all of Tarantino’s films, Jackie Brown seems to have the most rare cast members than the others. Bridget Fonda is another example of an actor from the nine-movie filmography that only appears once. Fonda played Melanie Ralston, a young girl caught up in the drugs and crime world. After appearing in nearly 50 projects, Fonda has seemingly retired from acting and doesn’t seem to be planning a comeback soon. She is married to Danny Elfman.

Bruce Willis

Appearance: Pulp Fiction

Tarantino
Miramax

This Die Hard actor appeared in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. While it marks the only appearance for Willis, it was definitely one of the most noteworthy performances in the film. Bruce Willis played struggling boxer Butch Coolidge, who is on the hunt for his father’s watch. While it was the only time Willis appeared in a Tarantino film, we would love to see him appear in one last outing before the filmmaker retires from directing feature films. 

Daryl Hannah

Appearances: Kill Bill 1, Kill Bill 2

Miramax

Daryl Hannah’s Elle is the final player in the team of assassins that ruins the Bride’s wedding day. Hannah plays one of the older ladies who almost has a chance to kill her again – until fate took a different turn. Hannah appeared in both Kill Bill films but had a seasoned career before joining the roster of films. She is perhaps best known for her roles in Wall Street and Splash – two films from the 1980s that were pretty successful.

Al Pacino

Appearance: Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood

Sony Pictures Releasing

Along with other huge stars like Robert De Niro, actor Al Pacino recently joined the Tarantino world with his role in Once Upon a Time… In Hollywood. He played Marvin Schwartz and certainly gave a memorable performance. Of course, Pacino has had a long and fruitful career that has dated back to 1968. With more than 60 credits to his name and an Oscar under his belt, there’s no reason why this veteran star can’t appear in anything he wants.

Quentin Tarantino

Appearances: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill 1, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds, Django Unchained, The Hateful Eight, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Tarantino
The Weinstein Company / Sony Pictures

Is there any surprise that the man himself would put himself in his films? If you’re a Tarantino fan, you’ve definitely seen him appear in some of his works. Some roles are bigger than others (did you see him in Kill Bill?), but all are impressive. With one more film planned before his retirement, let’s see where he pops up next!

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