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When Quentin Tarantino was casting Kill Bill, he held a meeting with the actors. Ricardo Montalban was supposed to be present to read the part of a Mexican pimp who was Bill’s mentor, but he did not show up. Michael Parks, who was to play the role of a Southern sheriff, did show up, and he also read the part of the Mexican pimp. Mr. Tarantino liked the reading so much that he immediately hired Mr. Parks to act the part of the Mexican pimp as well as the role of the Southern sheriff. David Carradine, who played the role of Bill, was at the meeting. He remembers resolving never to miss a Quentin Tarantino meeting, and he thinks the other actors present made the same resolution.

In 2008, brothers Drew and John Erick Dowdle had a hit with the horror movie Quarantine. They consciously modeled their careers on filmmaking brothers Joel and Ethan Cohen, with one brother studying moviemaking and the other brother studying business. After all, you have to come up with the money to make a movie before you actually make a movie. Their father, Dr. John Dowdle, an orthopedic surgeon in St. Paul, Minnesota, remembers thinking that perhaps the two brothers would not make a good team, based on their relationship while they were growing up. He says, “John was always causing Drew trouble in school. When Drew came in for freshman initiation day, they made him kneel on the floor and sing the school anthem with his head in the locker. When he finished and looked around, they were all gone.” The two brothers do cast their father in their movies, but only in small parts. He mock-complains, “They haven’t given me a speaking part yet. I consider that parental abuse.”

In 2008, Dustin Hoffman and Angelina Jolie lent their voices to the animated movie Kung Fu Panda, which starred the character voiced by Jack Black. Actually, Mr. Hoffman had met Ms. Jolie in 1991, when she was 16 years old and he was starring in the movie Hook. Ms. Jolie’s father, Jon Voight, called Mr. Hoffman to say, “My kids are dying to meet Captain Hook. Are you in costume? Can I come over with the kids?” Mr. Hoffman agreed to meet Mr. Voight’s kids, and he remembers, “So he brings over his kids. I’m introduced to his son and his daughter and she’s this tall, thin, gawky-looking girl with a mouth full of braces and he introduces us.” Making small talk, Mr. Hoffman asked the kids what they wanted to do. He remembers that Ms. Jolie had an answer ready: “And she gave me a laser-like intensity look and she says, ‘I’m going to be an actress.’ And I went home to my wife and I said, ‘I don’t think this kid has any idea what a tough road she’s got.’”

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