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Quentin Tarantino jolted onto the Hollywood scene with his screenplay for True Romance, before directing the early 1990s films Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction.
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Grier herself had appeared in many blaxploitation classics, including Foxy Brown (1974). The film was well received, with many calling it a more mature work for Tarantino. Critic Leonard Matlin commented that there were "dynamite performances all around" for a cast that also included Michael Keaton, Robert De Niro, and Robert Forster. Not everyone loved the film,
however. Fellow filmmaker Spike Lee objected to Tarantino's overuse of a derogatory term for African-Americans in Jackie Brown, publicly complaining in Army Archerd's column in Variety.
After Jackie Brown, Tarantino took a break from filmmaking. He starred on Broadway in 1998 in a revival of Wait Until Dark with Marisa Tomei. It was a bold move for him, as he had never done professional stage work before. Tarantino played a thug who terrorizes a blind woman (played by Tomei), and the critics were less than impressed. The reviews for the production were brutally harsh, and Tarantino was devastated. He felt people on the street were recognizing him as "the one whose acting sucks. I tried not to take it personally, but it was personal. It was not about the play—it was about me, and at a certain point I started getting too thin a skin about the constant criticism."
Tarantino worked on a World War II script on-and-off during this period. The screenplay "became big and sprawling. It was some of the best stuff I've ever written, but at a certain point, I thought, 'Am I writing a script or am I writing a novel?' I basically ended up writing three World War II scripts. None of them had an ending," he later explained to Vanity Fair.
Instead of tackling his war epic, Tarantino jumped into the world of martial arts films. The idea for Kill Bill was formed by Tarantino and Thurman in a bar during the filming of Pulp Fiction. In 2000, Thurman ran into Tarantino at an Oscar party and asked about whether he had made any progress on developing that idea. He promised her that he would write the script as a birthday present for her. Initially he said that he would get it done two weeks, but it actually took over a year. For this film, Tarantino learned on the fly how to make a kung fu film, working and reworking the sequences as he went along.
Tarantino originally wanted Warren Beatty for the titular "Bill," but he then moved on to David Carradine from the television series Kung Fu. The plot focused on revenge, as a female assassin known as the Bride (played by Uma Thurman) seeks to kill those involved in the savage attack on her and her wedding party. Running over budget and over schedule, Tarantino persevered with the project, shooting so much that he eventually had to create two films. Kill Bill: Vol. 1 was released in fall of 2003 with Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) following a few months later.
After Kill Bill, Tarantino dabbled in television. He wrote and directed an episode of the drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation in 2005, for which he received an Emmy Award nomination.
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