Pulp Fiction has stood the test of time like very few movies. The 1994 classic derived its title from pulp magazines (fiction) famous for sensational and loud subjects, which were printed on low-quality paper.

But there’s nothing low about the quality of Quentin Tarantino’s movie which was more sensational, more lurid, and more roaring than your typical pulp magazines. Some consider the blockbuster movie a game-changer for Tarantino.

Quentin Tarantino.
Quentin Tarantino.

Still, the genius filmmaker already had another hit up his sleeves before going on the sets of Pulp Fiction. The 1992 hit Reservoir Dogs made him a sought-after director among top actors. At the same time, it gave him enough power to dictate his casting list.

Read more: Quentin Tarantino Nearly Canceled Inglourious Basterds Until This Happened

Why Quentin Tarantino Rejected Johnny Depp for Pulp Fiction

Every character in Pulp Fiction has their own cult following, and Pumpkin and Honey Bunny are no different. Sitting in the cafe, the couple hatch a plan of robbing customers, Pumpkin unfurls his pistol and Honey screams, “Any of you f**king pigs move, and I’ll execute every motherf**king last one of ya” and sets the tone of the whole movie. Loud and brash.

Pirates of the Caribbean lead Johnny Depp.
Pirates of the Caribbean lead Johnny Depp.

Turns out at one point Johnny Depp, whose relationship with Winona Ryder was in some ways equally loud during the same era, was considered to be part of the project.

Orion Pictures co-founder Mike Medavoy wanted Depp, while Quentin Tarantino was fighting for Tim Roth and then Christian Slater as his backup for the role of Pumpkin. The Edward Scissorhands star was basically his third choice.

Speaking on the 2 Bears, 1 Cave podcast, he recalled his discussion with Medavoy. He asked him: “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?’”

“Mike said, ‘It wont add a dime but it would make me feel better,’” Tarantino added.

The Reservoir Dogs director won the tussle and Roth played Pumpkin to great effect. But the mix-up regarding the casting didn’t end just there.

Read more: Margot Robbie Doesn’t Feel “Weird” About Fans’ Quentin Tarantino-Like Obsession With Her Feet

How Bruce Willis Landed a Role in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction

Depp was already a box-office-proven star, and since he wasn’t added to the cast list, there was still a void for a big-name actor. Harvey Weinstein-owned entertainment giant Miramax were keen on this factor.

Bruce Willis and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.
Bruce Willis and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction.

Meanwhile, since Tarantino was already an established name in the industry, superstars were very open to working with him. Stars somehow aligned and after a conversation with Harvey Keitel, Bruce Willis, who was a trending name at the time, expressed his desire to act in Pulp Fiction.

Willis played the role of Butch Coolidge – a boxer who ends up in trouble after defying the orders of his gangster boss. Initially, the character of Butch was supposed to be played by Matt Dillion, but the actor didn’t commit to Tarantino’s demands, opening doors for the Die Hard legend to become part of the much-hyped movie.

At Miramax’s request, Willis got the opportunity to work with Tarantino, the director got his Butch, and Weinstein got his big movie star. Most importantly, we got a classic for the ages.

Read more: Quentin Tarantino Slammed Haters Who Claimed Late Top Gun Director Tony Scott Ruined His Script and “Made it too pretty”

Source: Vanity Fair

Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!
Explore from around the WEB