Hollywood wouldn’t be the obsessive, all-conquering dream factory that it is if people weren’t fascinated with the on-screen and off-screen antics of their favorite stars. But for many cineastes, the same preoccupation extends to their favorite directors, who occasionally wield unorthodox techniques to craft their cinematic masterpieces. Some of these fascinating filmmakers are merely eccentric, while others seem to be toeing the fine line between genius and insanity. Regardless, the filmic fusion of their quirks, phobias, chutzpah, and bizarre stunts combined have helped to shape some cinema’s most memorable works. Here’s our dossier of famed filmmakers and their weird ways that proves sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Who would you add to the list?
Inglourious Basterds director Quentin Tarantino is known for his uniquely stylized and quirky dialogue — and his screenwriting methods follow suit. There have been conflicting reports about the way the Pulp Fiction filmmaker approaches his writing, but it seems to be universal that he has a penchant for handwritten scripts. In an interview with Filmmaker Magazine last year, Tarantino also admitted to being a henpecker typist — a method he uses to prevent himself from overwriting. “To tell you the truth, what I do is write it all by hand and then I get to the end. I have this gigantic manuscript, all handwritten, and then I type it up on a little Smith Corona word processor. But I don’t type, so I just type it with one finger. It’s a long, arduous process, but I’ve been doing it ever since Reservoir Dogs,” he shared. Sanford L.P. — the company that produces pens under their Paper Mate banner — released this press statement in 2004, piggybacking off of Tarantino’s Kill Bill Vol. 1 success. Apparently he wrote the Uma Thurman vehicle with the company’s Flair pens.
It’s a little known fact that Quentin Tarantino hand writes all of his scripts with a set of three red and three black retro-styled Flair pens. It’s no wonder that the Paper Mate black and red Flairs were given a “supporting role” in Kill Bill Vol. 1 as Uma Thurman’s weapon of choice when she composes her hit list — laying the premise for Kill Bill Vol. 2. When discussing his writing style, the moviemaker affirmed, “I’m not superstitious in my normal life, but I kind of get superstitious about the methods of writing … it’s the way I started doing it, so that becomes the way. My rituals are that I don’t use a typewriter or a computer. I write by hand, and what I’ll do – it’s a ceremony, actually – I go to a stationery store and I buy a notebook. Then, I’ll buy a bunch of red and black felt pens. And I’m like, ‘These are the pens that I’m going to write Kill Bill with!’”