List of Quentin Tarantino’s top casting picks for ‘Pulp Fiction’
I can tell you my four favorite movies of all time from the top of my dome, although the order I rank them often changes: The Dark Knight, GoodFellas, the Eternal Sunshine of the Flawless Spirit, and pulp Fiction. Ironically, finding what my fifth favorite is – because who doesn’t love a nice, clean “Top 5”? – turned out to be more difficult, although Blade Runner 2049 made a solid deal.
Of these four, however, there is no doubt that GoodFellas and pulp Fiction are the most important films of my life, as they have more or less helped shape my interest and general opinion of films. I remember very well the first time my parents showed me these two films. What I remember the most, however, is that I was probably too young to see them. The * first scene * of GoodFellas Tommy stabs Billy Bats in the chest with a kitchen knife. Compare that with pulp Fiction, which opens with an insignificant conversation at a calm California dinner before exploding in flight. I never saw whatever like either of those moments before to such a point that I immediately knew these movies were something different, they were on another. And I’ve never looked back since, because my livelihood is now built on writing those same movies. Work hard and maybe you will get lucky is the life lesson I learned from this one.
The point is, maybe it’s my lifelong love for pulp Fiction it distorts my perception, but I find this list of Quentin Tarantino’s casting choices for the film fascinating. Since the list is particularly dense, I’ll list a few highlights:
- Michael Madsen, not John Travolta, was Tarantino’s first choice for the role of Vincent Vega.
- Laurence Fishburne, not Samuel L. Jackson, was Jules Winfield’s first choice.
- Some of the names considered for Vincent included: Alec Baldwin, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Andy Garcia, Dennis Quaid and Denzel Washington.
- In addition to Fishburne and Jackson, Eddie Murphy was considered for the role of Jules.
- Virginia Madsen, Marisa Tomei, Phoebe Cates, Patricia Arquette, Robin Wright and Pam Grier were considered for the role of Mia Wallace.
- Wallace, who was played by Uma Thurman, doesn’t even appear on Tarantino’s roster.
- Tarantino wrote the role of Butch, played by Bruce Willis, for Matt Dillon. Sean Penn, Nick Cage and Johnny Depp were up for the role.
- Johnny Depp was Tarantino’s second choice for Pumpkin, who was played by Tarantino’s first choice Tim Roth. Christian Slater, Gary Oldman, Nick Cage and John Cusack were also options.
The butterfly effect of it all twists the mind. Imagine Denzel Washington as Vincent, a role that was written for Michael Madsen (who played Mr. Blonde in Tarantino’s first feature film Tank dogs) but eventually went to “second choice strong, strong, strong” John Travolta. Or the fact that Jules Winfield’s career-defining role wasn’t written for the now iconic Samuel L. Jackson, but rather for Laurence Fishburne.
For a movie buff like me – and if you’ve come to this point in the article, a movie buff like you too – it’s an invaluable look at the inner machinations that made up one of the greatest movies of my life. : pulp Fiction.
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