Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino’s backstory of movie’s most mysterious character

Fans have long held theories about character's brief appearance

Jacob Stolworthy
Friday 19 April 2024 13:37 BST
Opening from Quentin Tarantino cult classic film Pulp Fiction featuring song 'Misirlou'

Pulp Fiction fans have long wondered about the story behind the film’s most mysterious, and controversial, character.

But in a 2020 interview, Quentin Tarantino, who has just scrapped plans to make his 10th – and final – film, shone a light on the backstory of the Gimp, the silent character dressed in nothing but leather bondage.

His brief moment in the 1994 film, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary, arrives after Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) and Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) get captured by the owner and security guard of a pawn shop after their fight spills into their place of occupation. The Gimp is revealed to be a prisoner kept in their basement.

Speaking to Empire, Tarantino revealed his line of thought in relation to the Gimp’s origins.

“It doesn’t quite play this way in the movie, but in my mind when I wrote it, the Gimp’s dead. Butch knocked him out and then when he passed out, he hung himself. In terms of backstory, he was like a hitchhiker or somebody that they picked up seven years ago, and they trained him so he’s the perfect victim.”

One person who will be intrigued to know this detail is Steve Hibbert, the actor who played the Gimp.

Speaking to Vulture about his role in 2014, Hibbert said: “I’d look over at [Quentin] and he’d shrug, he’d give me a thumbs up, and that was it.”

The cast of Pulp Fiction, including John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Uma Thurman and Harvey Keitel, reunited at a celebration of the film’s anniversary on Thursday (18 April).

Earlier this week, Deadline reported Tarantino will no longer release The Movie Critic, which he had lined up to be his final film before he retires from filmmaking.

The outlet claimed that the director has “simply had a change of heart” and “is going back to the drawing board to figure out what that final movie will be”.

The cast of ‘Pulp Fiction’ at a 30th-anniversary reunion
The cast of ‘Pulp Fiction’ at a 30th-anniversary reunion (Getty Images for TCM)

Talking about his retirement plans in 2021, the director, whose last film was the Oscar-winning Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, told GQ Australia that he thinks he’s “come to the end of the road” with his experience making “theatrical movies”.

However, he shed some light on what he plans to do with his career when that time rolls around, stating: “I see myself writing film books and starting to write theatre, so I’ll still be creative. I just think I’ve given all I have to give to movies.”

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