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Quentin Tarantino hid a secret nod to Chris Pine’s grandmother in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Tarantino has previously called Pine his favourite young actor currently working in Hollywood

Adam White
Friday 28 August 2020 13:56 BST
Chris Pine reveals secret nod to his grandmother in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Chris Pine has revealed that Quentin Tarantino hid a secret nod to his horror movie star grandmother in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

Pine’s grandmother Anne Gwynne, who died in 2003, was known as one of cinema’s first “scream queens”, famous for starring roles in classic B-movies such as House of Frankenstein (1944), Murder in the Blue Room (1944) and The Ghost Goes Wild (1947).

Pine discovered Tarantino knew “everything” about his grandmother when he encountered the filmmaker at a Hollywood party. Pine was in attendance with his mother, and Tarantino ended up speaking to her for 40 minutes about Gwynne.

“Quentin knows everything about my grandmother,” Pine told J Claude Deering’s Things Are Going Great for Me podcast. “He knows film names, co-stars, directors, production designers, just unbelievable. So [he and my mother] ended up talking for about 40 minutes and I went off and got another martini.”

Years later, Pine was speaking to his mother, who had seen Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and noticed that one of Gwynne’s films made a brief cameo in it.

“Lo and behold, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes out,” Pine remembered. “I call my folks and ask them if they’d seen it. They saw it, loved it, and my mom says, ‘You know, that scene at the ranch [with Bruce Dern] and there’s a TV on?’ I said, ‘Yeah, I vaguely kind of remember this.’ She said, ‘On the television is one of my mother’s films.’”

Pine continued: “Obviously, it’s so sweet of him and I’m assuming that it was done on purpose, in kind of a nod … My mother was ecstatic, just over the moon.”

According to IMDb, the Gwynne movie spotted in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is 1958’s Teenage Monster, in which she played a mother trying to prevent her mutant son from wreaking havoc.

Anne Gwynne, Chris Pine’s grandmother, in 1941’s ‘The Black Cat’ (Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock)

As well as admiring Pine’s grandmother, Tarantino said in January that Pine is his favourite young actor currently working in Hollywood. He specifically praised Pine’s performance in the Denzel Washington action film Unstoppable.

“He’s filmed like a movie star and he looks it,” Tarantino told The Ringer podcast. “He soaks in those colours, that lighting, those costumes. He completely holds his own against Denzel. That’s what he needed to make himself a movie star.”

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