Inside the mind of Quentin Tarantino: Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction: One of the greatest films made.


Julia Contreras, Staff Writer

To start off, everyone knows that Tarantino’s movies are extremely graphic. However, there’s much more to it then just fighting and killing. A lot of his movies are accused of plagiarism, however the critics that claim that don’t understand his logic regarding film-making. All of his movies have tributes to filmmakers from different era’s, even a lot of major issues in history take place in his movies, however there’s always a twist, and sometimes, a satisfying twist as well.

Lets go over some of his most popular movies and the history behind them.

Shot for $8 million, Pulp Fiction would become the most influential film in 1992.  Not only did people believe it was cool, but the retro soundtrack and aesthetic, crime, and characters is what made people fall in love with the movie. People loved that it was dark, odd, and clever, something new rather than boring. The performances of Uma Thurman, played in a lot of Tarantino movies, as a sly and bored gangster’s wife, and John Travolta, an addict with slick back hair, went wild.

Seven years earlier, Tarantino was a high-school dropout and part-time actor living on his own, little money, and not a promising future. His scripts never went to any high-class readers because they were seen as “Too vile, too vulgar, too violent,” Tarantino stated. Numerous complaints about cussing an harsh words were said about Tarantino, since his use of vocabulary was ‘colorful’. However he clapped back at his early manager, Cathryn Jaymes who stated those comments with a sweet letter containing purely the f- word.

In suburban L.A. Tarantino would work at a video store where he’d get all of his inspirations, it not all, some. He came up with some ideas, such as the “Mob guy whos supposed to take his boss’s wife out for the evening,” or the two hit men who come and kill these guys.” Inspired by the writers Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett

in the 1920s and 1930s pulp magazines, Tarantino brought his own stories and made Pulp Fiction. During the writing of his story, Tarantino created the idea of bizarre criminals who wanted to pull a diamond heist. Therefore, he dropped the making of Pulp Fiction and made “Reservoir Dogs.” With hundreds of pages and determination to finish the story, Pulp Fiction would have to wait, however unknowingly, he

was creating two gems in movie history that kickstarted his career.

After Reservoir Dogs was a huge hit, his focus turned to the City of Angels, which would inspire the setting of Pulp Fiction. Los Angeles, full of crime, partying, lavish lifestyle, and busy schedules is what truly helped his inspiration. After continuously writing in Amsterdam, Tarantino had prepared the script for “Pulp Fiction”. Harvey Weinstein, sent the scripts out to actors saying “if you show this to anybody, two guys from Jersey will come and break your legs.”

John Travolta’s career wasn’t as busy as it is now. After the hit movies “Look whos talking,” Travolta didn’t have many offers that were good. When he was told that Tarantino wanted to meet up with him, he gladly took the offer and went to his address on Crescent Heights Boulevard. Both of the men talked for hours, Tarantino even offered two roles for the films he had in mind. One in “Pulp Fiction,” and the other as a Vampire in the popular film that we all know, ” From Dusk til Dawn.” Travolta replied to this offer saying, “I’m not a vampire person.” Before we had Travolta as Vincent Vega, Michael Madsen who starred in Reservoir Dogs almost took his place, however he was already busy shooting another film. Travolta was unsure whether he was ready to play a drug addicted killer in the new film compared to being a greaser, a dad, a dancer, and much more. He went to family and friends for advice, all who stated that he should take the job. Everyone wanted Travolta except for Harvey Weinstein. Daniel Day Lewis and Bruce W

illis had their eyes on Vincent Vega, huge stars and more fans, Weinstein believed they would work out as a better Vincent Vega. However Tarantino had his mind set on Travolta.

Samuel L. Jackson fought for the role of Jules Winnfield. Though Tarantino had him in mind, Jackson was in fear that he would reportedly lose his role to Puerto Rican actor Paul Calderon. After learning that Calderon’s audition went well, making Tarantino clap, he told all of his agents and managers to call “Harvey.” “Harvey” would tell Jackson to immediately come to L.A. and blow Tarantino away with his audition. Both Calderon and Jackson had a lot of tension in the audition room, ultimately, Tarantino would pick Jackson.

The movie did not have as many famous stars that they intended, however when they came across Bruce Willis, who was a major fan of Reservoir Dogs, he considered the idea. He so badly wanted to work with the young director, even if it meant taking out a $5 million reduction in the production of Die Hard. With Travolta already casted as the leading role, which Willis wanted, he was left with the only other role,

the boxer. The boxer however was promised by Tarantino to Matt Dillon, who he had in mind when he created it. When he gave Matt the script, Matt claimed that he loved it, however, he also said, “Let me sleep on it.” Those four words made Tarantino cut him out of the film. Therefor


e, Bruce Willis got the role, quite annoyed that he would be bound up by a hillbilly in a pawnshop, he accepted it.

Now, they had some huge actors in the film.

The casting for Mia Wallace made plenty of actresses beg to be considered for the beautiful wife of a mega crime boss. Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfieffer, Rosanna Arquette, and many more were all considered for the role of Mia Wallace. Tarantino however had his eyes set on Uma Thurman, since she was the only actress that talked to him face to face. Thurman’s agent, deceased Jay Moloney, knew the role would be perfect for her. However she was unsure if she wanted it. She was not quite used to all of the violence and quite disturbing scenes, she deemed them as “pretty frightening.” However after a few long discussions, she took the role.

To get prepared for the role, every actor has to become their character. This meant changes in style, habits, mannerisms, everything. Travolta and Jackson liked the idea of black suit and ties. With long extensions slicked back

that Tarantino was iffy about, Travolta wanted the drastic change to look trashy and “elegant.” Jackson grew choppy sideburns with a wig containing big curls. Though Tarantino did not favor it, Jackson did. Ultimately, these drastic changes would make the characters popular, memorable.

One of the most important scenes, well, major scenes had some history to it. Uma Thurman was so nervous to dance with Travolta. She claimed she was “awkward” and “shy.” However, they both ended up loving the scene, creating an iconic memory for the viewers to recreate. It rapidly became a rollercoaster after that scene however, following Mia Wallace’s overdose.

Travolta had to stab Mia in the heart with an oversized syringe. Controversial and quite gory, this scene had many alternatives, however the syringe to the heart, carrying a limp Uma Thurman, was the way to go.

Filming wrapped up on November 30, 1993. They realized how much of a global impact Pulp Fiction had on the world, with thousands of people falling in love with it by the day. With it’s music, homage to vintage pieces of work, amazing actors and actresses, and unforgettable scenes, Pulp Fiction would win the hearts of many, along with any Tarantino movie.