9 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About “Pulp Fiction”

This might be old news for all of you Tarantino nerds. But for the rest of us, this trivia is pretty fascinating.

 

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On this day : The 14th October 1994

Pulp Fiction debuts

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On this day in 1994, the writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, a crime drama featuring multiple storylines and a large ensemble cast including John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis and Harvey Keitel, opens in theaters. Made for less than $10 million, Pulp Fiction earned more than $100 million at the box office and was also a huge critical hit, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and earning seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture. Tarantino and Roger Avary shared the Oscar for Best Screenplay. Some critics have called Pulp Fiction, which spawned a slew of imitators, the most influential movie of its time. It contained such Tarantino trademarks as clever dialogue, graphic violence and numerous pop-culture references. The film is also credited with reviving the movie career of John Travolta, who as the pony-tailed hit man Vincent Vega shares a memorable dance with his boss’ wife (Thurman) and famously discusses with his partner (Jackson) how in France a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese is called a “Royale with cheese.”

Quentin Tarantino was born on March 27, 1963, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He dropped out of high school, studied acting and worked at a video-rental store in Manhattan Beach, California, where he reportedly spent all day talking about movies. In the late 1980s, he appeared as an Elvis impersonator on an episode of the TV sitcom The Golden Girls. Tarantino made his directorial debut with the 1992 indie film Reservoir Dogs, about the events surrounding a bungled jewel heist. Written by Tarantino, the violent film featured characters with names such as Mr. Pink and Mr. Blonde and co-starred Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Chris Penn, Michael Madsen and Lawrence Tierney. Initially released in a small number of theaters, Reservoir Dogs garnered more attention and became a cult hit after Pulp Fiction turned Tarantino into a Hollywood darling. His third feature film, 1997’sJackie Brown, starred Pam Grier, Robert Forster, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Keaton. Inspired by the Elmore Leonard novel Rum Punch, Jackie Brown was also an homage to the so-called “blaxploitation” films of the 1970s, a number of which featured Grier.

In addition to directing his own movies, Tarantino also penned the screenplay for 1993’s True Romance, which was helmed by Tony Scott and co-starred Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette. He was also credited with developing the story for director Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers (1994), with Woody Harrelson and Juliette Lewis. Tarantino has also continued acting, appearing in several of his own films and co-starring opposite Keitel and George Clooney in 1996’s From Dusk Till Dawn.

Tarantino’s fourth feature project as a director was Kill Bill, which was released as two films, Kill Bill: Vol. 1 in 2003 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2 in 2004. Both movies starred Uma Thurman as a violent, revenge-seeking character called The Bride. Among Tarantino’s more recent projects was 2007’s Death Proof, a movie he wrote and directed about a deranged stunt man, played by Kurt Russell.

Film Facts : PULP FICTION

21

Jules was originally meant to have a massive afro, but a crew member purchased a ‘jheri curl’ wig instead. Luckily, both Jackson and Tarantino liked it, and it became part of the character.

22

Pam Grier auditioned for a role in Pulp Fiction, as Lance’s wife Jody. Though Tarantino was a fan of Grier, he didn’t cast her as he didn’t believe she could get pushed around the way the character does. He later wrote Jackie Brown‘s eponymous character especially for Grier

23

Some of the scenes featuring Quentin Tarantino on screen as Jimmie Dimmick were directed by an uncredited Robert Rodriguez.

24

Pulp Fiction cost a relatively modest $8m to make, with over $5m going towards actor salaries. The film went on to make over $210m.

25

The role of Vincent Vega was originally written for Michael Madsen, who played Vic Vega in Reservoir Dogs. Instead, Madsen opted to play Virgil Earp in Wyatt Earp. Tarantino then made the controversial choice of casting John Travolta, an actor best known for roles inGrease, Saturday Night Fever and Look Who’s Talking. Travolta was paid less than $150,000, but went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

26

Actor Max Julien was set to play Marcellus Wallace, but refused to do the anal rape scene, meaning Ving Rhames got the role instead.

27

In a deleted scene, Vincent Vega tells Mia he’s been fantasising about being beaten up by Emma Peel from The Avengers. Uma Thurman later played Emma Peel in the 1998 film

28#

Courtney Love once claimed Quentin Tarantino wanted Kurt Cobain and herself to play Lance and Jody. Tarantino, however, denies ever offering Kurt the part, or even meeting him.

29

One of the movie’s (many) unanswered questions is who keyed Vincent Vega’s car. Years after the film’s release, Tarantino admitted it was the work of Bruce Willis’ character, Butch.

30

Uma Thurman originally turned down the role of Mia Wallace, but Quentin Tarantino was so desperate for her to play the role, he read her the script over the phone, eventually convincing her to take it

Film Facts : PULP FICTION

11

A theme throughout the film is guns not being used as intended. A close-range gunshot miraculously misses Jules, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the face, Butch shoots Vincent with a gun that was meant to kill him and, at the end of the film, it is Jules’ gun that preventsviolence in the coffee shop.

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Quentin Tarantino originally wanted to use My Sharona by the Knack during the gimp torture sequence, but the rights had already been sold to another film, Reality Bites. On top of this, one of the members of the band was a born again Christian, and didn’t want the song used in a scene involving sexual violence.

13

Quentin Tarantino hesitated over playing Jimmie or Lance. He eventually chose Jimmie as he wanted to be behind the camera during Mia’s overdose scene.

14

Jules’ famous and oft-quoted Bible passage was in fact made up by Quentin Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson. Only the final two lines feature in Ezequiel 25:17.

15

The character of Trudi (Bronagh Gallagher) wears a T-shirt of Irish rock band The Frames. This is because she appeared alongside Frames lead singer, Glen Hansard, in The Commitments , and promised she’d wear their T-shirt in Pulp Fiction if she got a part.

16

The fight card that Butch appears on advertises Coolidge vs Wilson and Vossler vs Martinez. The first is a reference to US presidents Calvin Coolidge and Woodrow Wilson, the second a reference to Russell Vossler and Jerry Martinez, two of Quentin Tarantino’s friends from when he worked in a video store.

17

According to her agent, Julia Louis-Dreyfus was offered the role of Mia Wallace, but turned it down as she was committed to Seinfeld. Halle Berry, Meg Ryan, Isabella Rossellini, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack and Michelle Pfeiffer all auditioned for the role.

18

The ‘Bad Mother F*cker’ wallet Jules has in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. The inscription is a reference to the theme song of Shaft, a role Samuel L. Jackson later went on to play.

19

When Bruce Willis escapes the pawn shop, he sees a neon sign that says ‘Killian’s Red’, but as some of the letters are missing it reads ‘Kill ed’. Picking up Zed’s keys, Butch looks at the ‘Z’ on the keyring, subliminally spelling out ‘Kill Zed’. It’s then that Butch goes back to save Marcellus.

20

Quentin Tarantino wrote the character of Jules especially for Samuel L. Jackson, after he missed out on a role in Reservoir Dogs, but the role was nearly given to Paul Calderon after a great audition. Hearing this, Jackson flew to Los Angeles and auditioned again, in order to secure the role. Calderon ended up with a small role in Pulp Fiction as Paul.

Film Facts : PULP FICTION

1

#Whenever Vincent Vega goes to the toilet (which is a lot – constipation is a side effect of heroin), something bad happens. He emerges at Mia Wallace’s house to find her overdosing, comes out at the restaurant to find a robbery unfolding and is shot dead by Butch after using his bathroom.

2

When the ‘Buddy Holly’ waiter (Steve Buscemi) asks Mia her if she wants her $5 shake “Martin and Lewis or Amos and Andy?”, he’s asking if she wants it vanilla or chocolate flavoured. Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis are white entertainers (vanilla), whereas Amos and Andy are black comedians (chocolate).

3

When Butch flees in a cab after killing his boxing opponent, the taxi driver (Angela Jones) actually played the same character in a TV show pilot – as a crime scene cleaner – where she was fascinated with death. This explains why she asks Butch what it’s like to kill a man.

4

At the end of Pulp Fiction , Jules says he wants to become a “drifter.” In Kill Bill Volume 2, Samuel L. Jackson appears as a piano-playing drifter, called Rufus.

5

After the movie’s iconic dance scene, you see Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace walk into her house holding a trophy. The audience assumes they won the contest, but later in the film, a barely audible advert states the trophy had been stolen – meaning Vince and Mia lost the competition then stole the trophy.

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Butch was originally intended as an up-and-coming boxer, with Sylvester Stallone, Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke all considered for the role. Eventually, Tarantino amended the character and offered it to Bruce Willis, who previously wanted to play Vincent.

7

John Travolta spoke to a recovering heroin addict during his research for Vincent Vega. The addict, a friend of Quentin Tarantino, suggested Travolta get drunk on tequila and lie in a hot pool, as this would be the closest representation of heroin’s effects without actually it. Travolta tried this method with his wife in their hotel hot tub, lining up tequila shots along the bath.

8

The shot of Vincent plunging the syringe of adrenaline into Mia’s chest was filmed by having John Travolta pull the needle out, then reversing the footage.

9

When Butch shoots Vincent Vega, it isn’t Vince’s gun that’s been left on the side. As Jules had ‘retired’ by this point, Marcellus Wallace is staking out Butch’s house with Vincent, leaving his firearm there while going to get coffee and doughnuts – which is when Butch next sees him.

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Marsellus and Mia Wallace never speak to each other on-screen, despite being husband and wife.