Inglourious Basterds And True Romance: Bonded By Family Blood

Quentin Tarantino has been building universes since day one. The characters of Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction and Death Proof talk about one another while eating at the same restaurants (like Big Kahuna Burger). Characters jump from one feature to another, and family relations might be mentioned in one script, but not seen on screen until another movie down the line. And at the Austin premiere of Inglourious Basterds, The Playlist learned that this film is, not surprisingly, related to True Romance, in a way that detail-oriented fans probably already suspect.

Fans of True Romance remember Saul Rubinek's character, the producer Lee Donowitz. (Based by director Tony Scott, in a not too subtle manner, on Joel Silver.) In Austin, Tarantino said that Lee's father is Eli Roth's Inglourious Basterds character, Sgt. Donnie "The Bear Jew" Donowitz. Donnie is a violent, slightly unhinged individual, and some elements of that character were perhaps passed onto his son, who in True Romance is proud of his film Coming Home in a Body Bag.

You're going to hear a lot about the Tarantino-verse in the next couple weeks, but this is a good refresher for the fact that he's created two fictional universes. He (or Harry Knowles, through whom the information comes) dubs them the Realer than Real (Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, True Romance, Death Proof, Inglourious Basterds) and Movie Movie (Kill Bill, Natural Born Killers, From Dusk Till Dawn) universes.

Characters from one universe can't appear in the other, but Realer Than Real characters might go see the Movie Movie films in their world. Three guys get to break the rules and jump between them: Winston Wolf, from Pulp Fiction and Sheriff Earl McGraw and his deputy son Edgar. (Robert Rodriguez created a couple of characters that also seem to jump, like the Crazy Babysitter Twins.) And Jackie Brown, as an Elmore Leonard creation, is in its own universe with Out of Sight, thanks to Michael Keaton and his character Ray Nicolette.