You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Casting Quentin Tarantino’s PULP FICTION

The impact that Quentin Tarantino had on cinema in the 1990s can not be understated. Budgeted at $1.2 million, 1992’s Reservoir Dogs was a small movie that grossed less than $3 million worldwide. However, as time went by Tarantino’s debut captured the attention of critics and cult cineasts, before seeping its way into pop culture. All eyes were on Tarantino for his follow-up and the writer-director had Hollywood at his feet.

1994’s Pulp Fiction was a modern noir made up from a series of interconnected tales set within the Los Angeles criminal underworld. The film packed a visceral punch with its snappy dialogue, rich characterisation and excellent soundtrack. Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames and Uma Thurman the film was not just a huge hit with the public and critics, but it was a cultural phenomenon and spawned a host of imitators. 

Budgeted at $8 million, Pulp Fiction  grossed just under $108 million in the US and almost $214 million worldwide following its release. It won a slew of awards around the globe, including the Palme d’Or and the Academy Award for Best Screenplay. 

However, if Quentin Tarantino had secured some of his dream casting choices, Pulp Fiction could have been a very different film. Reservoir Dogs star Michael Madsen was the number one choice for Vincent, but he was too busy making Wyatt Earp to take the part. It ultimately went to ‘strong, strong second choice’ John Travolta and the result was one of the great Hollywood comebacks. Bruce Willis‘ part, Butch was written for Matt Dillion – and Willis isn’t even mentioned on the list of possibilities (Nicolas Cage, anyone?)

You can see who could have scored a part in Pulp Fiction below – start your dream casting now (click in it to make it bigger).