Quentin Tarantino’s cast wish list for Pulp Fiction reveals film was almost very different

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson were second picks

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 06 December 2021 10:37
Opening from Quentin Tarantino cult classic film Pulp Fiction featuring song 'Misirlou'

The actors who Quentin Tarantino originally wanted for the main roles in Pulp Fiction have been revealed.

Tarantino’s crime film is one of the most acclaimed films of the 1990s, but if the director went with his first options, it would have looked very different.

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson star in the film as Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield, but according to the rough cast list (originally shared on Twitter by author Don Winslow and others), both actors were second choices for their respective roles.

When it came to jotting down who he wanted for the characters, Tarantino opted for Michael Madsen, with whom he’d already worked on Reservoir Dogs in 1992, and Laurence Fishburne.

He also wrote down Jackson for the role of Marcellus Wallace, a character who was ultimately played by his first choice – Ving Rhames.

Other actors in the running for Vincent were Alec Baldwin, Gary Oldman and Michael Keaton, while he also earmarked Eddie Murphy for Jules.

Quentin Tarantino’s cast wish list for ‘Pulp Fiction’

Interestingly, Bruce Willis’ name is nowhere to be seen for Butch – in fact, the role was written for Matt Dillion. Other actors in contention were Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage, Aidan Quinn and Johnny Depp, who was also considered for restaurant robber Pumpkin (Tim Roth).

The roles played by Tarantino’s first choices, alongside Marcellus, were The Wolf (Harvey Keitel) and Koons (Christopher Walken).

Quentin Tarantino’s cast wish list for ‘Pulp Fiction’

Other interesting points of note are that Uma Thurman, who played Mia Wallace, was not one of the 16 actors Tarantino had noted down, and that the role of Jody ended up being played by Rosanna Arquette, the sister of Tarantino’s first choice, Patricia.

For Mia, actors Tarantino had first envisioned included Virginia Madsen, Alfre Woodard, Bridget Fonda, Angela Bassett and Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Beals.

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