Quentin Tarantino talks about his vow as a kid to never share a ‘penny’ with his mom

Quentin Tarantino, the acclaimed director and writer who gave us “True Romance,” the “Kill Bill” duology, and single-handedly reignited John Travolta’s career with “Pulp Fiction,” has not forgotten the oath he took upon himself as a kid.

It seems his mother was not a fan of the boy’s lofty goals as a Hollywood dream weaver, expressing her disdain more than once and leaving a scar on the icon of cinema who vowed she would never reap any reward for his future success.

A sub-par student, Tarantino was often chastised for shirking his academic tasks, preferring instead to direct his energy at his own fantastical stories. But the constant admonishing from teachers carried little weight with him. It was the disapproval of his mother that stung the worst.

In a July interview with “Billions” co-creator Brian Koppelman, Tarantino reminisced, not too fondly, of the tension between him and his young mother. In trouble for writing his screenplays in school, he recalled of his mom, “She was bitching at me… about that…. and then in the middle of her little tirade, she said, ‘Oh, and by the way, this little ‘writing career,’ with the finger quotes and everything. This little ‘writing career’ that you’re doing? That s–t is over!’”

“And when she said that to me in that sarcastic way,” the man reflected, “I was in my head, and I go, ‘OK, lady. When I become a successful writer, you will never see penny one from my success. There will be no house for you. There’s no vacation for you, no Elvis Cadillac for mommy. You get nothing. Because you said that.”

Koppelman asked Tarantino, “Did you stick to that?”

“Yeah, yeah,” Tarantino said. “I helped her out with a jam with the IRS. But no house. No Cadillac, no house.”

Born in Knoxville, Tennessee to Connie Zastoupil, Quentin later found out his arrival in the world was unplanned. At the age of 16, his mother had gotten married in order to legally emancipate herself from her parents. Quentin’s father, Tony Tarantino, had assured Connie that he was sterile, but that was untrue, and months later baby Quentin burst onto the scene. Angry at Tony for lying to her about his sterility, she divorced him and left Knoxville for Los Angeles, only introducing Quentin to his father some years later.

The “Reservoir Dogs” director reportedly wrote a script called, “Captain Peachfuzz and the Anchovy Bandit” when he was only 12. Koppelman told Tarantino of his writing: “Thank you for all the gifts that you’ve given me. You read me the first 15 pages of ‘Kill Bill’ on an airplane one time… it was really an incredible experience, and so inspiring. Just the impact your work has had on me is really indescribable.”

Referring to the discord with his mother and his subsequent resolve, the massively successful filmmaker opined, “There are consequences for your words as you deal with your children, remember there are consequences for your sarcastic tone about what’s meaningful to them.”

Is it healthy to hold a grudge? Is it good for the soul? Who can confidently and truthfully say that they’ve always been able to rise above bitterness and forgive those who’ve burned them? It’s easy to give advice to others, but who knows what’s in another’s heart? Perhaps it has provided Tarantino with the driving force behind his creativity.

Naturally, every Twitter user has an opinion of their own:

And there’s always one person who takes the time to let you know they’re just over it:


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Frank Webster


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