Some celebrities are excited to buy their parents a house or pay off their bills once they strike it rich, but that’s not the case here. In a new interview with the podcast The Moment with Brian Koppelman, director Quentin Tarantino spoke about his mom, Connie Zastoupil, and how he vowed not to give her any of his money when he was a still a kid. Of course, at that point, Tarantino had no idea what his future held. But, he decided that if he became successful and wealthy as a writer when he got older, he wouldn’t give his mom any money, because of a comment she made when he was in his early teens.
On the podcast, Tarantino shared that there was one situation where he helped his mom out of a bind, but other than that, he has stuck to his vow. Read on to find out what happened.
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In the interview, Tarantino shared that when he was a kid, he wasn’t keeping up well in class and that the curriculum had to be adjusted for him. He felt he was “drastically more sophisticated” than the other students, but “had a lot of circumstantial evidence that would point to the fact that [he] was stupid.” He also said it took him longer than other kids to be able to ride a bike, swim, or be able to tell time.
As he got a little older—around “12, 13, 14,” he said—he started writing scripts and “trying to be a writer.” He got in trouble for doing this in school, but couldn’t understand why his new interest wasn’t seen as “an academic thing.”
His mother confronted him about it. “She was b****ing at me … about that,’ Tarantino explained. “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*** is f***ing over.'” He added, “She meant just don’t do it in class.”
It was this comment that made Tarantino vow to not give Zastoupil any money when he found fame. He explained, “When she said that to me in that sarcastic way, 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.'”
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Podcast host and writer/producer Brian Koppelman asked if Tarantino stuck to that decision he made in his youth, and he said, “Yeah. Yeah. I helped her out with a jam with the IRS. But no house. No Cadillac, no house.”
All of this was said with a laugh, so it’s hard to know how seriously Tarantino really was. Koppelman added, “Buy her a f***ing house, come on … She drove you to prove it, man.” The Once Upon a Time in Hollywood director responded, “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.”
In an interview with NPR’s Fresh Air in 2013, Tarantino spoke about growing up with his mom and being surrounded by her diverse group of friends. “It was almost like a sitcom, actually the way we lived in the ’70s because she was in her 20s, she was hot, all right, she was a hot white girl,” he said. “Her best friend was named Jackie. She was a hot Black girl. And her other best friend was Lillian, and she was a hot Mexican girl. And they lived in this like swinging singles apartment with me … I lived with these three hip ladies all going out on dates all the time and dating football players and basketball players.” He added that his mom even dated legendary basketball player Wilt Chamberlain.
“She was having a good time and everything, you know? She was taking care of me, too, so everything was fine. It was hip. It was just cool,” he said. “When I would hang around with kids I’d think they were really childish. I always used to hang around with, like, really groovy adults.”
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Tarantino said on Marc Maron‘s WTF podcast that he is estranged from his father, Tony Tarantino, and that if he started his career over again, he would use his middle name, Jerome, as his last name.
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