Beyond Fiction: unknown facts about Pulp Fiction

Nikola Simonovski
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 Pulp Fiction is considered the best movie which Quentin Tarantino has ever made. The movie was released 23 years ago, and almost instantly became an iconic piece of art.

This authentic, dark comedy made a huge impact on pop culture, becoming one of the most recognizable motions pictures in the entire history. The quotes and the images from the movie have been widely used, but there are some little-known stories behind this masterpiece, interesting almost as Pulp Fiction itself. Here’s a list of the eight most intriguing tales referring to the cult movie:

1. Pulp Fiction cost very little, comparing to its earnings

1994 was a big year for the movie industry. This was the year when big hits like Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, True Lies, Ed Wood, Speed, Natural Born Killers and Leon the Professional were released. Among these, was the jewel of modern cinematography, Pulp Fiction. Compared to the previously mentioned movies, Tarantino spent only 8,5 million dollars on the entire movie. Additional 10 million were spent for marketing purposes, and the worldwide earnings of the movie surpassed 200 million dollars, becoming one of the biggest earners among the R-rated movies in 1994.

The logo of Pulp Fiction

2. The scene with the adrenaline shot was reversed in post-production

The scene where Travolta injects an adrenaline shot into Uma Thurman’s chest is one of the most shocking scenes in the movie. Tarantino wanted the scene to look real, so he really had injected the needle in Mia’s chest.

He then had Travolta pull the needle out, and reversed the scene in post-production, making it look like Vincent Vega really stabbed the unconscious girl. Quite a courageous move by the great director.

Quentin Tarantino Photo Credit

3. The movie was accused of glorifying drug usage

The presidential nominee, Bob Dole visited a high school in California as part of his pre-election campaign, where he spoke in front of 1,100 students about drug abuse.

In his speech, Dole mentioned Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction as examples of movies in which drug usage is glorified.

Bob Dole, photo portrait

Tarantino was offended by this and stated that Bob Dole has never actually seen Pulp Fiction. The movie shows Uma Thurman’s character almost dying from a heroin overdose, being quite the opposite of Dole’s accusations. The director demanded a public apology from Bob Dole, once he’d seen the movie.

4. Daniel Day-Lewis was supposed to be Vincent Vega

The character of Vincent Vega was originally meant to be played by Michael Madsen. Tarantino and Madsen had previously collaborated on Reservoir Dogs, so the director wanted Madsen to play in his movie as well.
However, Michael Madsen had turned down the role with an excuse that he wanted to play in Wyatt Earp, another movie made in 1994. Harvey Weinstein, the producer of the movie, wanted Daniel Day-Lewis to play Vincent Vega and the picky actor became quite warmed up for

Daniel_Day-Lewis,_Jaguar, Photo Credit

Daniel is notorious for being quite hard to hire, but this was a role he has actually actively pursued. In the end, Quentin chose John Travolta for the part, eliminating Day-Lewis, Sean Penn and William Hurt from the candidate list. It took several years before the director has forgiven Michael Madsen for his refusal to play in Pulp Fiction.

5. Samuel L. Jackson almost lost his role in the movie

The role of Jules Winnfield was considered to be given to Samuel L. Jackson, but the director chose Paul Calderon after his brilliant audition. When Jackson found out, he flew to Los Angeles immediately and went to the audition.

The actor was hungry, so he brought a burger and soda with him. At the studio, Jackson was confused to be Laurence Fishburne by a line producer of Pulp Fiction, which enraged the famous artist. Samuel angrily entered the audition room where Tarantino was sitting. When Quentin saw the scary looking actor with a burger and soda in his hands, he immediately hired him for the role. Paul Calderon was given a smaller role in the film.

Samuel L. Jackson interprète Jules Winnfield Photo Credit

6.  Matt Dillon lost his role as Butch Coolidge

Tarantino had his eyes on Bruce Willis for the role of Butch Coolidge ever since he got the idea for Pulp Fiction. Willis wanted the role too, but there was a problem: the role was already promised to Matt Dillon. When Tarantino sent the script to Dillon, the actor said that he liked it, but still needed some time to think about it. This made Tarantino mad, as he wanted to know instantly if Dillon will accept the role.

Matt Dillon Photo Credit

He immediately replaced Dillon with Bruce Willis, so the famous actor got the role of the boxer Butch. Bruce Willis contributed to the movie in other ways as well. Because of his fame, the producers sold the international rights to the movie for 11 million dollars even before it was released. As the movie cost was 8,5 million dollars, having Willis in the movie brought an instant profit.

7. The “Big Kahuna Burger” joints have previously appeared in Tarantino’s movies

“Big Kahuna Burger” is a chain of fast food restaurants made up by Quentin Tarantino, and he’s using it in many of his movies. The burger joint became popular in Pulp Fiction, in the scene where Samuel L. Jackson eats a burger seconds before killing a man.

Banksy’s graffiti of an iconic Pulp Fiction scene Photo credit

But the fast food restaurant’s logo appeared in other movies as well.

It was previously seen in Reservoir Dogs, and after Pulp Fiction, it appeared in From Dusk Till Dawn, Four Rooms, and Death Proof.

8. Jules Winnfield possibly appeared in Kill Bill

On the end of Pulp Fiction, Jules Winnfield, who was played by Samuel L. Jackson, tells Vincent Vega that he is going to walk the world, meet new people and get into new adventures.

Quentin Tarantino’s Kill Bill

Years later, in Kill Bill: Vol. 2, Jackson appears briefly as a piano player at Uma Thurman’s wedding.

Read another story from us: Interesting historical facts they don’t teach in schools

The piano player name is Rufus, and he’s a drifter, so it might be possible that it is actually Jules Winnfield who plays the piano, but under a different name.