Quentin Tarantino once directed his Grindhouse film Death Proof that featured an unforgettable ensemble cast. Actor Rosario Dawson helped round out the actors who’d star in the film.
But one of the unexpected ways Tarantino helped Dawson understand Death Proof was by making her watch commercials of bad films.
Rosario Dawson studied Quentin Tarantino when she first wanted to become an actor
Working with Tarantino was a memorable experience for Dawson. The Death Proof actor had unwittingly even prepared for her collaboration with the director long before she even met him. Kids was the actor’s feature film debut, and the experience motivated Dawson to become an actor afterwards. It was a career move that has since been very lucrative for her.
Dawson would watch Tarantino films to further examine the film industry.
“Quentin’s rhythm is something I’ve been studying since I first decided I wanted to be an actor after Kids,” she once told Collider. “I was sixteen when that movie came out and decided to pursue acting and I asked my dad ‘what movie should I watch?’ and started putting a movie list together of what I should watch to really watch great acting and the first movie he gave me was Reservoir Dogs and I watched it seven times that week which I think most parents would be unnerved by.”
When Dawson had the opportunity to finally work with Tarantino on Death Proof, she jumped at the opportunity.
“I auditioned for this twice,” she said about the movie. “I fought really hard for this role. I ended up going in and telling Tracie [Thoms] to come into the audition with me to make sure he knew that I really, really wanted to do this part and work with him, have the chance to take on working on that rhythm in his dialogue because, the only way you can ever study for a Quentin Tarantino movie is to watch Quentin Tarantino movies which he loves.”
Quentin Tarantino had Rosario Dawson watch trailers for really bad movies for ‘Death Proof’
The Grindhouse movies Tarantino did with Robert Rodriguez were a throwback and homage to classic horror movies. It acted as a double feature, with Tarantino directing the slasher flick Death Proof. Meanwhile, Rodriguez shooting the zombie film Planet Terror.
In a resurfaced interview with MTV News, Dawson considered the possibility that Grindhouse was a celebration of bad movies. But Dawson felt that celebrating those bad movies was what made Tarantino’s Death Proof that much more appealing.
“I think you have to see some of the humor. I think we get so caught up sometimes doing these performances that are nomination-worthy, and you kind of forget why you’re acting,” Dawson said.
To prepare Dawson, and help her recognize the value of Grindhouse films, Tarantino made Dawson experience these films firsthand.
“So Quentin has everybody come to his house [and says], ‘I am going to show you 50 trailers of bad movies you’ve never seen, and it’s going to be great.’ You are sitting there watching, and sometimes it makes you really depressed because you’re an actor too,” she said. “Technically speaking, we have the same job. You think, ‘I’m really glad I’m not doing what you’re doing right now, because that’s kind of depressing.’ But at the same time, it’s really brilliant. We translate something and entertain, catch someone’s eye. Those are great stories, and that’s what they’re about.”
Rosario Dawson felt Quentin Tarantino was a control freak
Working with Tarantino, as fun as it was, came with a certain level of restriction that his actors had to abide by. Dawson confided that Tarantino wanted his actors to be one hundred percent present on set. Sometimes this even meant blocking all communication from the outside world while they were filming.
“Quentin’s got his little quirks. … Most directors don’t like cell phones on the set, but he doesn’t even like people getting calls on the set,” she informed. “He doesn’t like people reading magazines or reading books, because you isolate yourself into something that’s not part of the movie. Like if you want to read something, read the script. If you want to talk to someone or be hanging out, talk with the people around you, get to know people around you. Create a family there, a team.”
She felt these quirks offered a glimpse into the way Tarantino’s mind worked when making his films.
“I think he can be like that ADD control freak, and when you have someone like that, you usually can’t add anything, because they have everything under control, they have everything thought out,” she said.
RELATED: ‘Haunted Mansion’: Rosario Dawson Joins the Disney Film’s Cast