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

Fans have long held theories about character's brief appearance

Jacob Stolworthy
Sunday 06 June 2021 10:57
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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 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 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.”

In the Empire interview, Tarantino also admitted that his ambitious double-film experiment Grindhouse failed because he and co-director Robert Rodriguez were trying to be “too cool for school”.

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