Tag Archives: Quentin Tarantino

Actress Pam Grier Chats Candidly about her Career at Florida Film Festival By Sandra Carr

During her 50-year career, actress Pam Grier has portrayed powerful women and is the queen of 1970s blaxploitation films, including Coffy, Foxy Brown and Sheba, Baby.

Foxy Brown

Grier discussed her film career during a question-and-answer session with Rollins College history professor Julian Chambliss and fans after the Jackie Brown screening during the Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater.


She portrayed the title character in the crime thriller Jackie Brown, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, which he wrote for Grier and is a love letter to her career. The film is about a sexy flight attendant who orchestrates a scheme to keep smuggled cash from an arms dealer. The movie pays homage to blaxploitation films and is an adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s novel Rum Punch.

Jackie Brown Movie Poster

When Grier first met Tarantino, she noticed his office walls were decorated with five framed posters of her films.

“These were original posters that are worth thousands of dollars,” she said. “It was humbling and made my heart race knowing that someone really liked my work. It was that moment of reality for someone who is an artist.”

Grier informed the audience that if you don’t rehearse, then you don’t get to work with Tarantino. She said she was always ready, knew her lines and credited her theater background for preparing her for the role. Grier also said she cooked meals for the cast and crew who sang and danced to tunes since Tarantino played music on the set.

Pam Grier and Quentin Tarantino

I had an opportunity to ask Grier about her chemistry with the film’s cast. She provided a hilarious assumption about Brown and Ordell Robbie’s past.


“Quentin, why would this man (Robbie who was portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson) walk into my apartment and turn out my lights? Did we have sex before? He feels like he can walk into my apartment and turn off the lights. Does he pay the power bill? Did we have a relationship before? I think we tried it one night and it didn’t work. We were awkward. I felt that. We became friends after that and we didn’t talk about him not being able to get it up. Maybe my nipples didn’t get hard. I don’t know! You all have been there before! I thought it was going to be hot, but it wasn’t. If we’re going to have sex, then don’t put a ring on your gotee! That’s going to hurt and cause blisters!”

Jackie Brown and Ordell Robbie

Grier also came up with the line “Booya! With a cherry on top!” during the scene where Brown leaves a shopping bag filled with cash underneath a fitting room door for Melanie Ralston (Bridget Fonda) to pick up.

In the action film Above the Law, she portrayed Chicago Police Department narcotics detective Nico Toscani’s (Steven Seagal) friend and partner Delores ‘Jacks’ Jackson. Grier was diagnosed with cervical cancer the same year the film was released and is in remission.

Above the Law

She enjoyed filming Bad Grandmas with actress Florence Henderson. She said Henderson was very funny and didn’t act like she was in her 80s. The movie was Henderson’s last before she passed away in Nov. 2016.

Bad Grandmas

Grier also portrayed Lily in Rose, a film about a woman who finds love while soul searching throughout the southwest during her final days. The movie also stars Cybill Shepherd and James Brolin.


Besides films, Grier has appeared on TV sitcoms, including Miami Vice as Valerie Gordon, a New York Police Department detective who had an on-again, off-again relationship with Ricardo “Rico” Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) and The L Word as Kit Porter.

Miami Vice

The L Word2

She shared some funny anecdotes during her Q&A, including hanging out with John Lennon and Harry Nilsson during a Smothers Brothers concert at the Troubadour in Hollywood, Calif back in March of 1974. Lennon started singing a song and asked Grier if she knew it. The song was I Can’t Stand the Rain by Ann Peebles. Grier sang the song and Lennon hit the table like he was playing the drums. Lennon got everyone to sing while harmonizing and becoming intoxicated.

When the Smothers Brothers came on stage, Lennon thought they were boring and wanted to continue singing the song with Grier. The Troubadour’s manager asked him to be quiet. That didn’t last very long. He started singing again and the manager attempted to remove him by grabbing his collar and pulling him over the table. A fight broke out between Lennon, Nilsson and the manager. The group, including Grier, were tossed out of the club and sat on the curve while providing the Los Angeles Police Department with their accounts of the incident. Afterwards, Lennon sent Grier flowers and thanked her for not hitting him.

John Lennon Note

John Lennon’s apology letter to Pam Grier.

Grier was raped by two boys when she was 6 years old and again as a teenager. She said the incidences have affected her during her acting career. She recalled having a flashback of being raped when her and Thomas were filming a romantic scene for Miami Vice. She needed an hour to compose herself along with talking to Thomas about interacting with her differently during the scene.

She discussed her relationships with comedian Richard Pryor, actor Freddie Prinze and retired NFL basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and why they didn’t work out.

“These stars were reaching their pinnacle and becoming very powerful,” she said. “I was the target of possibly being their mate, wife and mother of their children. It was blocking my trajectory of being an independent woman. I didn’t want to thrive in their spotlight and lose my identity.  I loved them dearly, but I chose myself more and it was my time. I disbanded the relationships because I really wanted to be on my own.”

Pam Grier and Richard Pryor2

Pam Grier and Richard Pryor

Pam Grier and Freddie Prinze

Pam Grier and Freddie Prinze

Pam Grier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Pam Grier and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Grier talked about Pryor and shared a humorous and almost tragic moment that occurred with the stand-up comic’s miniature horse.

“Richard’s dogs attacked his miniature horse Ginger, which was a gift from Burt Sugarman and the name is based on the Mudbone folklore (Mudbone was a recurring character in Richard Pryor’s stand-up comedy act),” she said. “I put the miniature horse in the back of my four-door Jaguar and we took it to the vet. We’re rolling down the 405 with the miniature horse’s head hanging out the window and Richard is in his bathrobe crying about what happened. We saved the miniature horse’s life and got it home. Richard then found out that I loved horses and thought he could lure me with horses. I knew if the miniature horse had died, then he would have fallen off of the wagon. Richard’s wife Jennifer Lee said in his Showtime documentary that I was the one person who had a positive effect on his life. I realized that he would fall and I didn’t want him to take me down with him. I’m a great nurse and caregiver, but you have to meet me half way. I can only carry you so far before my back breaks.”

Pam Grier and Richard Pryor3

Pam Grier and Richard Pryor

Her grandfather Daddy Ray was the first feminist in her life and taught her how to hunt, fish and shoot guns. She brought those experiences with her while portraying different characters throughout her acting career.

Grier also said young people introduce her to their dads and uncles. The men ask her if she shoots all of the guns in her movies. Grier lets them know that she has a gun collection, including hunting rifles from her grandfather, a gun that Steven Seagal gave her after filming Above the Law and another gun from Miami Vice.

She’s comical in her response to the men’s inquiries about her firearms.

“Their eyes get big and I tell them not to worry about my guns,” she said. “You just need to worry about my Sears Craftsman chainsaw! If I smell cologne or see lipstick when you come in, then you’re in trouble!”


Pam Grier portrays Coffy.

She published her memoir Foxy: My Life in Three Acts eight years ago. Grier said a biopic is in the works for her story to appear on the big screen. Actor and former Saturday Night Live cast member Jay Pharoah has been selected to portray Pryor in the film so far.

Pam Grier's Book

Grier provided film students with advice and emphasized to the audience that we’re all brands.

“I started creating a brand by showing different types of women and not just the sexy and pretty ones,” she said. “I don’t want to fall behind the comfort. I want to be the antagonist and crazy person. There are so many roles that I want to do. I want to play my age, but a lot of it isn’t seen. Film festivals and schools are inspiring all of these new narratives and stories. The inspiration is during the film festivals across the country because they keep developing and sustaining the brands of the actors, producers and directors.”


Learn more about Grier’s career on imdb.com.


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‘Death Proof’ Star Zoë Bell Talks Acting and Stunts at Florida Film Festival

New Zealand stuntwoman Zoë Bell has been kicking butt since playing Lucy Lawless’ (Xena) stunt double on the TV series Xena: Warrior Princess. Her background includes gymnastics, martial arts and sports. Her career took off after playing actress Uma Thurman’s stunt double in both of Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill films.

Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Zoe Bell  Image courtesy: ZoeBell.com

Lucy Lawless (Xena) and Zoe Bell
Image courtesy: ZoeBell.com

Tarantino cast Bell as herself in the action-thriller Death Proof  (2007), which was shown during the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival. Seeing the movie on the big screen and feeling the adrenaline rush and anticipation was worth every penny I spent at the Enzian Theater. My husband Dan and I rented the movie years ago but watching it in the theater put us in the driver’s seat instead of the couch.

Death Proof

Death Proof

The movie features a psychopathic stuntman Mike who kills women with his death-proof stunt car. He meets his match when he comes across stuntwomen Bell and Kim and makeup artist Abernathy driving a muscle car during a movie-making break on the back roads of Lebanon, Tenn. Bell’s gripping performance while playing ships mast, a game where you ride on the hood of a car, during a car chase with stuntman Mike, keeps you on the edge of your seat. Bell is natural, funny and a badass throughout the movie.

A Q&A with the darling daredevil followed the film presentation, with Bell sharing that Tarantino provided her with acting training during the filming of the Kill Bill movies. He had also seen her in Double Dare (2004), a movie about stuntwomen, and felt she was a character that people enjoyed watching and wrote a role for her in Death Proof

Photo by: Sandra Carr

Photo by: Sandra Carr

Bell’s role in Death Proof was such an honor from Tarantino. I asked Bell what it was like to play herself. Bell thought “Tarantino was complimentary but smart because I wasn’t a trained actor and didn’t know the difference or had any point of reference for acting myself or somebody else. The reality was he wrote the character based on me—it was my name, acting and career. But the words were his. Quentin writes dialog and that’s what he does. Quentin wouldn’t allow me to take acting classes and just wanted me to know my script. For the record, I have never rode on a hood of a car or killed a man before [Laughs].”

Zoe Bell during her Q&A at the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival Photo by Sandra Carr

Zoe Bell during her Q&A at the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival.
Photo by: Sandra Carr

She also portrayed Eve, an assassin getting revenge on her former employers in the web series Angel of Death (2009) with former Xena star Lucy Lawless. TV show appearances include Lost, CSI: Miami, Gossip Girl and Hawaii Five-O.

Zoe Bell and Sandra Carr at the Florida Film Festival on April 12, 2013 Photo by: Dan Carr

Zoe Bell and Sandra Carr at the Florida Film Festival on April 12, 2013.
Photo by: Dan Carr

Besides Death Proof, her big-screen films include Django Unchained, Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters and Oblivion. She produces and plays the lead character Sabrina in Raze, a horror, female-fighting flick about abducted women that are forced to fight to the death with their bare hands. The movie premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival and will be out in theaters real soon.

Raze Image courtesy: Upcoming-movies.com

Image courtesy: Upcoming-movies.com

Bell says Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters was the most challenging role during her career. She plays a Tall Witch in the movie and had to undergo three hours of prosthetic makeup glued into her orifices, contacts, fake teeth and heavy clothing with a corset, hood,  gloves tucked into her costume, horns on her shoulders and heeled boots.

Zoe Bell and Tanya Hanson Photo by: Sandra Carr

Zoe Bell and Tanya Hanson
Photo by: Sandra Carr

Zoe Bell and fans at the Florida Film Festival. Photo by: Tanya Hanson

Zoe Bell and fans at the Florida Film Festival.
Photo by: Tanya Hanson

Being a stuntwoman isn’t easy and Bell provided one person with some valuable advice. “You should be in peak, physical condition and keep training, so that you’re capable of whatever people are asking of you. It’s important to know what your limits are. If you push yourself too far and commit to jobs that are past your limit, then that’s when you disappoint people. Just work very hard to be the best.”

Tanya Hanson, Zoe Bell and Sandra Carr striking a pose on the red carpet during the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Fla. Photo by: Samantha Laine

Tanya Hanson, Zoe Bell and Sandra Carr striking a pose on the red carpet during the 22nd Annual Florida Film Festival at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, Fla.
Photo by: Samantha Laine

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