US film director Quentin Tarantino has picked up a smattering of Hebrew after spending a year stuck in Israel due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he told talk show host Jimmy Kimmel during an interview broadcast Tuesday night.
Tarantino, who, among other trophies, has won seven Academy Awards, seven BAFTA Awards, and eight Golden Globe Awards, revealed he watches children’s TV with his son, Lio, aged 15 months, and has picked up a few words along the way.
Lio, he said, can only say one word and that is “Abba,” which Tarantino explained is the Hebrew word for “Dada.”
As for himself, he said he has “learned a lot of words [in Hebrew] but not enough to carry on a conversation or string anything other than a perfunctory sentence together.”
“I’m actually learning a lot with Lio, because he watches these baby TV kind of things and it’s all in Hebrew,” Tarantino said. “So I’m learning things with him.”
“Cat is hatul, horse is sus, cow is parah,” he demonstrated.
Tarantino said that he didn’t intentionally move to Tel Aviv, where he recently had a lengthy stay, but rather that he and his Israeli wife, model and singer Daniella Pick, planned to divide their time between Israel and Los Angeles. However, after arriving for a visit of a few months, “COVID hit.”
“So three to four months became nine to twelve months,” he said.
Speaking of Israel’s vaccine response, Tarantino said, “I would rather have not been out of my own country, against my will, for a year.
“However, if I’m going to be in another country, then the country that handled COVID the best…” he added, meaning Israel, to cheers from the audience.
Tarantino was on the show to promote his new book, a novelization of his comedy-drama film “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” which is set to be released at the end of June.
Tarantino, 58, and Pick, 20 years his junior, started dating in 2009 when the director was in Israel promoting his movie “Inglourious Basterds.” They later broke up, but began dating again in 2016.
The couple married under a huppah, or Jewish wedding canopy, in 2018, shortly after Tarantino finished filming “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” A Reform rabbi officiated and Tarantino wore a yarmulke.
Pick is the daughter of the popular Israeli singer and composer Svika Pick.
JTA contributed to this report.