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Laurence Fishburne reveals why he turned down Samuel L Jackson’s iconic role in Pulp Fiction

Quentin Tarantino originally wrote the Jules Winnfield role for Fishburne

Annabel Nugent
Wednesday 19 August 2020 16:21 BST
Pulp Fiction Ezekiel 25:17 clip

Laurence Fishburne turned down a role in Pulp Fiction because of its ”cavalier” and “loose” portrayal of heroin use, the actor has revealed.

Fishburne was offered the iconic part of Jules Winnfield, famously played by Samuel L Jackson, in Quentin Tarantino’s 1994 classic.

Speaking to Vulture, Fishburne divulged that Winnfield’s character was written with “[him] in mind, but it wasn’t for me”.

The 59-year-old said he turned it down because he “just had a problem with the way the heroin use was dealt with. I just felt it was a little cavalier, and it was a little loose.”

Fishburne continued, “I felt it made heroin use attractive. For me, it’s not just my character, it’s ‘What is the whole thing saying?’”

Samuel L Jackson and John Travolta in Pulp Fiction (Mega Productions/Rex/Shutterstock)

In the film, John Travolta portrays Vincent Vega, a hitman and heroin user. In one of the movie’s most memorable scenes, Uma Thurman‘s character Mia Wallace loses consciousness after a drug overdose, leading Travolta’s character to revive her with an injection of adrenaline delivered directly into her chest.

Fishburne said, “It wasn’t about my character in Pulp Fiction. It was about the way in which the heroin thing was delivered. And the whole f****ing thing with the hypodermic and the adrenaline shot? No.”

It was previously thought that Fishburne’s agents discouraged him from accepting the role of Jules Winnfield as it wasn’t a “leading-man part”.

“No, no,” Fishburne said. “It is a leading-man part. F***ing Sam [Jackson] walks away with the movie! Sam f***ing sticks the movie in his pocket and walks away from it, walks into a f***ing leading-man career.”

In the same interview Fishburne, who played Morpheus in the Matrix films, also revealed he was “not invited” to star in the forthcoming sequel to the original trilogy, despite both Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Anne Moss reprising their roles.

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