Michael Madsen, not John Travolta, was Quentin Tarantino’s first choice to play Vincent Vega in Pulp Fiction, and Eddie Murphy was considered to play Jules Winnfield, according to new documents leaked via Reddit.
The two hand-typed sheets of paper also suggest that Uma Thurman was not even in the original running to play gangster’s moll Mia Wallace, with Virginia Madsen, Marisa Tomei, Patricia Arquette and Phoebe Cates all named ahead of her. Meanwhile, John Cusack was Tarantino’s first choice to play Vincent’s drug dealer Lance, the role that eventually went to Eric Stoltz; and Matt Dillon, Sean Penn, Nicolas Cage and Johnny Depp were all ahead of Bruce Willis for the role of boxer Butch.
Some of the mooted choices hint at a very different direction for the 1994 film, with Danny DeVito suggested for the part of Winston Wolfe, Marcellus Wallace’s sinister “cleaner”. Meanwhile, Patricia Arquette tops a list of names considered for the role of Jody, Lance’s wife – the role eventually went to her sister Rosanna.
Christopher Walken appears to have always been Tarantino’s top choice to play Captain Koons, the Vietnam vet who appears to young Butch in a notable flashback scene to hand over a gold watch with a grim past. But other venerable actors considered for the role included Sean Penn, Robert De Niro and Al Pacino.
Jennifer Jason Leigh, who takes her first role for Tarantino in the upcoming western The Hateful Eight, was, according to the documents, under consideration for both Jody and Honey Bunny. The latter role went to Amanda Plummer, who was always Tarantino’s first choice, with Tim Roth also his first choice for the small-time thief’s partner in crime, Pumpkin.
Pulp Fiction, which was nominated for seven Oscars and remains Tarantino’s biggest box office hit when receipts are adjusted for inflation, is known for helping to revive the careers of a number of its stars. Travolta was suddenly hot property again in a way he had not been since Saturday Night Fever, after receiving a best actor Oscar nomination for his role as Vega, while Willis emerged from a troubled period at the box office. Meanwhile, Thurman began her rise to become one of Hollywood’s best known actors after being nominated for best supporting actress Oscar for her performance as Mia.
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Monday 14th September 2015 17.56 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010