“Hi, I’m Quentin”
He was in Japan to promote Reservoir Dogs. Although he couldn’t give any details, he was in preproduction on what would become Pulp Fiction, his finished script completed just the month before. The film of course would define Tarantino as an enfant terrible of cinema and garner universal acclaim.
The shoot was commissioned by FIGARO Japon magazine, it was to be in the Ginza district. I sat in on the interview with the editor and a local freelance journalist who I recall was also a road movie buff. It was very relaxed, shaking hands he introduced himself to me “Hi, I’m Quentin”.
I remember the journalist asking him, in regard to Reservoir Dogs, if the painting of a slain San Sebastian in the scene when Michael Madsen’s Vic (Mr Blonde) is wrestling with Chris Penn (Nice Guy Eddie) in Lawrence Tierney’s office, had any symbolism. He wouldn’t divulge. Only now, after all these years, did I realise it was directly connected to what Mr Blonde would do later in torturing and killing the cop.
My shoot followed the interview. They allowed 20 mins for the portrait. I was in a bland office, so I looked for the largest portion of white wall to use as a clean backdrop. I shoot two rolls of 120 film on my Hasselblad. During the shoot QT and I talked about the Toronto Film Festival among other things, its significance in the North America market. I explained I’d been living there prior to relocating a year or two before. Conversation flowed, not awkward, then it was over.
A few days later, walking with friends on a Saturday night near Shinjuku’s Kabukicho district, he crossed right in front of us, carrying what looked like a bag of newly acquired DVDs in a plastic bag from HMV or Tower Records, and still wearing the same coat I’d photographed him in. He didn’t notice me, I didn’t yell out. I could hear his line of conversation with his enthralled Japanese accomplice, a passionate and animated discussion on Japanese action movie figure Sonny Chiba. Oblivious, he passed into the night. I still have his business card, somewhere.