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How Quentin Tarantino Secured Kurt Russell As The Movie’s Star

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“[…] Obviously, when Quentin Tarantino gives you a call and wants you to work in his movie, your interest is immediately spiked,” said the actor, speaking to The Quentin Tarantino Archives near the time of the film’s release in 2007. He added:

“When he shows you that he knows everything about your career, everything you’ve ever done, you realize his level of knowledge is extraordinary. And then when you hear about what he wants to do, and his level of expertise and excitement about doing it are equal, you really figure ‘I have to do this. I have to know what this is like.'”

Likewise, whenever Russell stars in a project, he brings a lifetime’s worth of baggage with him, including his performances in cult favorites like “Big Trouble in Little China” and “Escape From New York.” It’s the actor’s street cred — his gravitas, if you will — that Tarantino was eager to tap into with Stuntman Mike. You have to believe the character is able to maintain a cool, easygoing charade when he isn’t murdering women with his car; if his attempts to charm them ring false or strain credibility, it deflates the sense of danger he poses. With Russell in the role, however, even the audience starts to buy into his act.

As Russell noted, it wasn’t even anything specific from his roles in those films that Tarantino wanted to tap into. Rather, he “wanted to carry into this movie the aspect of some of the things that I present by having played Snake Plissken [in ‘Escape From New York’] all these years ago, and what it meant to him personally […].”



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