TELEVISION / Tarantino, star of the show

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The Independent Culture
Monday 13 June The Omnibus team propose to 'do' Tarantino, with me as producer. No problems with his media friendliness; just as Reservoir Dogs is garrulous, wild, referential and energetic, so is the man. But has he broken the sophomore jinx with his second film, Pulp Fiction? The Cannes Festival Palme d'Or suggests yes.

Saturday 18 June Down to Nottingham's 'Shots in the Dark' Festival, where QT is presenting a Blaxploitation season. Expecting to get about 10 minutes with the man, we end up spending two hours in concentrated cinephiliac chat, interrupted only by autograph hunters and amateur photographers (QT never forgets his own fan-boy past, and can identify with the spottiest of them).

He agrees to the profile, and after a rapturous reception for Pulp, we continue talking in the bar until we're all thrown out around 4am.

Tuesday 9 August Arrive in the morning at QT's West Hollywood apartment to begin the first interview. The apartment is small but airy, the front room dominated by a huge video screen. Shelves are packed with books (including the complete works of Pauline Kael), video cassettes, and board-games. QT is resistant to the usual documentary gambits; CBS recently had him driving around in his tiny Geo, which he insists isn't really 'his thing'. 'His thing' consists only of marathon conversations and watching tapes and laser discs, so this is what we agree to do. At the end of the day, the cameraman tells me it's the second- longest interview he's shot (the longest was a drunken art critic who rambled on until he fell asleep).

Wednesday 10 August We meet up at the Four Seasons Hotel to film a discussion with his favourite living director, Brian De Palma. Dubbed 'The Movie Brute' by Martin Amis, De Palma's social style is only a notch less imperious than on my last encounter, when I interviewed him on the NFT stage. Commanding us to bring him an ashtray and two cappuccinos, he and QT quickly settle into familiar badinage about press labelling and studio idiocies. QT recalls his excitement at seeing Carlito's Way when shooting Pulp. De Palma counters with his memory of catching Raging Bull, when making Blow Out: 'When I saw that first black-and-white shot, with the opera music, I thought, he's done it again. Every time you think you have an original idea, there's always Scorsese]'

Thursday 11 August Back at his apartment QT goes through some favourite scenes from his laser disc collection, whooping his way through the shoot-out in Dillinger, purring ecstatically at De Palma's 360-degree pans in Blow Out, gasping at Harvey Keitel's sudden violent outburst in Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore. Afterwards he promptly falls asleep. He wakes in time to be reminded about our rendezvous at the former premises of Video Archives, where he worked for five years. QT dismisses current theories that video stores are the new film schools as 'bullshit', but acknowledges that holding forth about his opinions there did help 'define his aesthetic'. We are just in time, as the old sign is about to be ripped down. At the new Video Archives, nearby on Hermosa Beach, QT is reunited with manager Lance Lawson (who gets a name-check in True Romance). Lance provocatively wears a Natural Born Killers T-shirt; QT insists he hasn't seen it, and says little else about his old script.

Thursday 18 August In the evening, we see Natural Born Killers. Maybe QT has reason to keep his distance. Director Oliver Stone appears on CNN saying it's a satire on the media. Ah, so that's it . . .

Monday 23 August New York: after struggling to extract much from Harvey Keitel, we strike luckier with Sam Jackson and a sweetly shy Steve Buscemi (Mr Pink]). I speak to QT's mother on the phone. She expresses her regrets at not being able 'to justify having spawned this violence-mongerer'. She really likes his films, by the way.

Tuesday 24 August Fly home to London, faced with stacks of tapes to edit down to 50 minutes. By now QT is in Korea, where no doubt someone has asked him just who did shoot Nice Guy Eddie in the final stand-off in Reservoir Dogs. Sorry, somehow I forgot that question.

'Omnibus: Quentin Tarantino', BBC 1, 25 Oct, 10.25pm