Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is regarded as one of the most important films in the history of cinema. Tarantino’s second film, which won him his first Palme d’Or, is known for its non-linear stylised storytelling. Pulp Fiction became a phenomenon soon after it released as nothing before its release, ever looked like this.
Starring Uma Thurman, John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel and Ving Rhames among others, Pulp Fiction was nominated for seven Academy Awards but won only for Best Original Screenplay.
Here are some lesser known facts about Pulp Fiction:
1. The Malibu
The 1964 Chevy Malibu that Vince drives in the film actually belonged to Quentin Tarantino. The vehicle was stolen after the production of the film but turned up 20 years later when some teenagers were trying to sell parts of the car. Not just this car, Tarantino also owned the wallet used by Jules in the film.
2. Butch never liked Vince
In the movie, Vince tells Jules the story of someone keying his car. Tarantino later said that it was actually Butch who keyed his car. The two characters chronologically meet for the first time when they are called by Marsellus.
3. Lance or Jimmie?
Tarantino had two options when it came to playing a character in the film. He could either play the drug dealer Lance or the role he ultimately played – Jimmie. But since he would be required to hand over the directing responsibility to someone else while he was acting, he chose to play Jimmie. Tarantino wanted to be behind the camera for the now-famous scene where Mia is stabbed with a syringe.
4. Who directed the director?
The scenes where Tarantino is acting have been directed by Robert Rodriguez.
5. The reverse stabbing
The scene where Travolta’s Vince stabs Thurman’s Mia with a syringe was shot in reverse with a dummy needle. What the audience sees on screen is footage played backwards.
6. Small investment, big returns
Pulp Fiction was made for only 8.5 million dollars and since the film was made on such a modest budget, all the actors took pay cuts. John Travolta, Samuel L Jackson, Bruce Willis and Uma Thurman were paid 20,000 dollars a week and most of them shot only for a few weeks. The actors had a share in the profits.
7. The Briefcase
Famously, the contents of the briefcase are never disclosed in the movie, making the audience run wild with their imagination. Theories have been floating for years which suggest that this could actually contain Marsellus’ soul (spooky), Elvis’ gold suit (True Romance), or even diamonds (Reservoir Dogs) but Tarantino cleared the confusion in 2003. He told Howard Stern, “It’s whatever the viewer wants it to be.” Though while filming, the suitcase contained bulbs and battery.
8. Thriving in competition
Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption opened in US theaters on the same day.
9. The Vega Brothers
John Travolta’s Vincent Vega is actually related to another Tarantino character. Vince is actually the brother of Vic Vega from Reservoir Dogs. Tarantino had earlier expressed interest in doing a film on the Vega Brothers but the project never took off.
10. Who will be Mia?
The casting of Mia Wallace went through a lot of bumps before Uma Thurman got the role. Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Jennifer Anniston were both offered the role which they refused because of their commitments to Seinfeld and Friends, respectively. Meg Ryan and Michelle Pfeiffer were in the running too but Tarantino was quite sure of casting Thurman. She wasn’t keen on accepting the role until Tarantino called her and narrated the entire script over the phone.
11. Jules’ interpretation of the Bible
Jules recites the Bible passage Ezekiel 25:17 before shooting Brett. But the lines he utters aren’t actually in the Bible. The bulk of the speech was co-written by Tarantino and Jackson.
12. Royale with Cheese
In the initial scenes of the film, Vince talks about spending time in Amsterdam which actually made its way into the script because Tarantino had just spent three months in the city. After the success of Reservoir Dogs, Tarantino took off to Amsterdam where he wrote the early draft of Pulp Fiction.
13. Not all 420
It is widely believed that all the clocks in the film display the time 4:20 but in fact, this is not true. In many scenes, different time can be seen but all the clocks at the pawn shop certainly show the time as 4:20.
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Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood releases on August 15 in India.