Few films are as mammoth in cultural significance as Quentin Tarantino‘s Pulp Fiction. The movie, and its cast, will go down in cinematic history. But it could have been a very different set of actors playing the iconic roles.
While Reservoir Dogs was a stunning debut feature, it was his 1994 film Pulp Fiction that truly transformed Quentin Tarantino into a bonafide global icon. Often cited as the perfect postmodern film, Pulp Fiction revitalised the American filmmaking landscape and influenced the ’90s more than any other cinematic work.
Starring the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, John Travolta and Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction is a sprawling exploration of Los Angeles’ seedy underbelly. Delving deep into a dark world of crime and violence, the film paints a complex portrait of one of the most mythologised cities in the world.
During a recent appearance on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast where he discussed his new TV show, Tarantino was also asked about the initial casting process for Pulp Fiction. The director addressed the internet rumours about his first choices for the iconic roles.
Tarantino said: “On the internet, there’s a thing floating around about my wish list of the cast of Pulp Fiction. I didn’t know exactly who I wanted to play this part or that part, so I wrote a giant list with a ton of names. I wanted to get them all pre-approved, and I didn’t know if it was gonna work out or if I would vibe with the person or if they would even do a good job. I just wanted to get them approved.”
One studio executive – Mike Medavoy – wanted Tarantino to cast Johnny Depp for the role of Pumpkin, which eventually went to Tim Roth. Tarantino asked Medavoy: “Do you think Johnny Depp playing the role of Pumpkin in this movie, which is the opening scene and the closing scene that’s it, do you think that will add that much to the box office? Him playing that role?” According to Tarantino, Medavoy replied: “It won’t add a dime, but it would make me feel better.”
Watch Pulp Fiction on Netflix now.