PLAYER OF THE WEEK;TARANTINO DIRECTS HIS FUTURE INTO ADVERTISING

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Quentin Tarantino and his Hollywood pals want to inject some pulp into Madison Avenue.

The Oscar-winning actor-writer-director and his "Pulp Fiction" producer, Lawrence Bender, are expanding their production company, A Band Apart, to include a commercial production house that will offer the services of talented young directors to advertising agencies and their clients.

Mr. Tarantino will direct one or two commercials a year between film projects. He will probably shoot a Nike spot for Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore., before yearend; the ad could end up being the marketer's '96 Super Bowl spot.

And Bender said he hopes next year's premier advertising showcase will feature a number of spots from A Band Apart Commercials. He said his goal is to put together a stable of about seven directors, a "community of talent from both the film and commercial industries that will have strong input into the commercials, who will take jobs not for the money but because they have something to contribute."

The division won't officially open until September, but it already has one recruit: Robert Rodriguez, who is directing Mr. Tarantino in "From Dusk 'Til Dawn," a horror flick written by Mr. Tarantino and co-produced by Mr. Bender. It's due to hit theaters in December.

Mr. Tarantino's interest in advertising was piqued after he was offered the opportunity almost two years ago to direct Nike's infamously edgy football spots starring Dennis Hopper. But filming "Fiction" got in Mr. Tarantino's way, and David Fincher and Joe Pytka went on to helm the spots.

Mr. Bender says his motivation for getting involved in advertising is to work with a new wave of talent that will shape the future of pop culture.

"Quentin is steeped in pop culture, as evidenced by his movies," Mr. Bender said. "When he directs a commercial, it will be extraordinary, because he's got this encyclopedic memory of all things pop."

Backing A Band Apart's march into advertising are Miramax, the distributor of "Pulp Fiction"; producers Meir Teper and Gianni Nunari; and the William Morris Agency, which represents Mr. Tarantino.

In charge of day-to-day operations is co-partner Michael Bod-narchek, a veteran commercial producer whose portfolio includes spots for Little Caesars Pizza and Nike.

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Quentin Tarantino

BORN: Knoxville, Tenn., in 1963; moved to Los Angeles in 1965.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: According to Hollywood legend, learned movie making while working in a video store. Followed up his 1991 debut "Reservoir Dogs" with 1994's "Pulp Fiction," which earned an Oscar for his screenplay. Writing credits include "True Romance" (1993) and the story for "Natural Born Killers" (1994). In '95, directed an episode of NBC's "ER" and wrote dialogue for "Crimson Tide."

PERSONAL: Single; owns a collection of board games based on old TV shows.

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