Trivia / Pulp Fiction

  • Actor Allusion:
    • We've certainly seen John Travolta dancing in a couple of movies... (Saturday Night Fever, Grease) ... as well as winning a dancing contest prize he didn't entirely deserve.
    • During a deleted scene, Mia says "The girl in the cowboy hat, that's me."
  • AFI's 100 Years... Series:
  • All-Star Cast: With Tim Roth, John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Steve Buscemi, Christopher Walken, Harvey Keitel, Ving Rhames, Phil LaMarr and Tarantino himself. It comes across moreso years later because it was a career resurrection or star-making role for several of its cast members.
  • Breakthrough Hit: Quentin Tarantino's first big hit as a director.
  • Career Resurrection: The film put John Travolta back on the A-list.
  • The Danza: Paul Calderón plays Paul.
  • Doing It for the Art: This was one of several movies in the 1990s in which Bruce Willis took a paycut to work in an independent film.
  • Fake Nationality: Portuguese actress Maria de Medeiros plays a French character (and, comically, in the Spanish-language dub of Pulp Fiction she is incapable of speaking Portuguese rather than Spanish).
  • Real-Life Relative: The man who burst from the bathroom in Brett's apartment was played by the then-named Robert Arquette (whose sister, Rosanna Arquette, played Jody). However she is listed in the credits as Alexis Arquette, the name she later adopted after coming out as a transgender woman.
  • The Red Stapler: The UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs T-shirt that Vincent wears became a hot seller after appearing in the movie.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: Many people believe that the band-aid on Ving Rhames' neck was an intentional choice by the filmmakers. In reality, it came from an accident Rhames had while shaving his head. When Quentin Tarantino noticed this, it inspired him to open the "Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace" sequence with a close-up of the band-aid instead. Ultimately Tarantino liked showing the band-aid rather than Rhames' face because it accentuated the character's mercurial nature and was more visually exciting than a series of single shots of Rhames and Bruce Willis.
  • Shrug of God: Quentin Tarantino's explanation for what's in the briefcase:
    "It's whatever the audience wants it to be".
  • Star-Making Role: For Samuel L. Jackson, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman.
  • Throw It In:
    • Quentin Tarantino originally wanted Jules to have an actual afro, but the wig wrangler got a jheri curl wig by mistake. Samuel L. Jackson thought it was perfect for the character and insisted they keep it.
    • The scene with Marvin shot in the face was also going to be played out differently. It wasn't until a suggestion from LaMarr to Tarantino that the scene was changed to be what happened in the film.
    • John Travolta ad-libbed the line "That's a pretty good question" after Uma Thurman asks why it's necessary to talk about bullshit.
    • Jules flipping the table over in the beginning was improvised by Samuel L. Jackson and Frank Whaley's reaction was genuine, but they continued with the scene, and it was done in one take.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda: There's been this popular conception that had been awhile since the film premiered that all clocks in the film are stuck at 4:20. While the events of the film had an Extremely Short Timespan, there's only one scene that ran around 4:20, the pawnshop.
  • What Could Have Been: Mainly if you consider the initial casting choices.
    • Vincent Vega: Daniel Day-Lewis actively campaigned for the part, but Tarantino turned him down. He initially wanted Michael Madsen to play the goofy hitman, but the latter chose to pursue another project instead (a decision he later regretted). Now just imagine Vincent being played by those two instead of John Travolta...
    • Jules Winnfield: The quintessential Samuel L. Jackson role, but he almost lost this part to Paul Calderón. He eventually kept it, with Calderón playing Paul (Marsellus's right-hand man) instead.
    • Mia Wallace: Michelle Pfeiffer (Tarantino's favourite choice before Uma Thurman), Daryl Hannah, Meg Ryan, Joan Cusack, Isabella Rossellini and Halle Berry were considered. Julia-Louise Dreyfuss turned it down due to her commitment to Series/Seinfeld.
    • Ringo: Johnny Depp or Christian Slater could have taken Tim Roth's part, but unlike Jules or Vincent it was always a fat chance.
    • Lance/Jody: According to Courtney Love, she and Kurt Cobain were specifically offered the role. Apparently (and unfortunately), Cobain turned it down. Depending on what article you read, Tarantino denies this. Pam Grier auditioned for Jody. Though she had a great audition, Tarantino decided not to cast her because he could not imagine Grier getting pushed around the way the character does.
    • Jimmie: Tarantino had written the role with Steve Buscemi in mind but Buscemi had to turn it down due to scheduling conflicts. Tarantino himself ended up filling the role and Buscemi was given a cameo appearance as the Buddy Holly waiter at Jack-Rabbit Slims.
    • Butch was written for Mickey Rourke. Rourke turned the role down, since the script was too "out there" and he hadn't seen Reservoir Dogs yet. He has called the decision to pass as the biggest regret of his career. Tarantino next offered the role to Bruce Willis, who was a long shot, as he was still a big-money, A-list star at that point. Sylvester Stallone was also considered.
    • Several Tri Star executives favoured Gary Oldman for the role of Lance, based on his portrayal of a similar character in the Tarantino-written True Romance.
    • Outside of casting, Marvin's death was originally very different: Vincent's wayward shot was originally supposed to hit Marvin in the neck, after which Vincent mercy-kills him. The scene was deemed too depressing by Tarantino, and he altered the scene to the more comedic version seen in the movie.
    • Tarantino had originally intended "My Sharona" by The Knack to be played during the Gimp torture sequence, but the rights had already been licensed to another film, Reality Bites. On top of this, one of the members of the band had become a born again Christian, and did not want the song to be associated with a scene of sexual violence.
  • Word of God: Quentin Tarantino was quoted as saying that Butch is responsible for keying Vincent's car.
  • Pulp Fiction was the very first film Miramax financed with new distribution partner Disney, after studio chiefs there sealed a deal in 1992; this began a 10-year long relationship between the two studios.
  • Pulp Fiction is also on Roger Ebert's Great Movies List.
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