Quentin Tarantino’s Original Wish List for the Cast of Pulp Fiction

In an alter­nate uni­verse ver­sion of Quentin Taran­ti­no’s Pulp Fic­tion, Eddie Mur­phy, not Samuel L. Jack­son, might have played Jules, the bible-spout­ing hit man. His part­ner-in-crime, Vin­cent Vega, might have been played by Gary Old­man, not John Tra­vol­ta. And the role of Mia, played mem­o­rably by Uma Thur­man in black bangs, could have been played by Debra Winger or per­haps Phoebe Cates.

Doc­u­ments about the movie recent­ly sur­faced on Red­dit, offer­ing a fas­ci­nat­ing glimpse into the ear­ly cre­ative dis­cus­sions for the huge­ly influ­en­tial movie. In Tarantino’s wish list, which you can see above, he states that he wrote the roles of Pump­kin and Hon­ey Bun­ny, the would-be Bon­nie and Clyde of the fam­i­ly din­ing restau­rant cir­cuit, with Tim Roth and Aman­da Plum­mer in mind. They, of course, were ulti­mate­ly cast but Taran­ti­no was will­ing to enter­tain John­ny Depp and Patri­cia Arquette. One won­ders how Depp’s oth­er­world­ly weird­ness would have trans­lat­ed as a low lev­el street tough. On the oth­er hand, Tarantino’s first choice for Lance, Vin­cent Vega’s bathrobe-sport­ing drug deal­er, was none oth­er than John Cusack. That would have been amaz­ing.

Many of the studio’s approved cast­ing choic­es for the movie, seen here in a fax also appear­ing in the same Red­dit post, are much stranger. Eddie Mur­phy was tapped as a pos­si­ble Jules. Mira­max liked Nico­las Cage or John­ny Depp (real­ly?) for Butch, the samu­rai-sword wield­ing box­er. Bruce Willis, who played the role, wasn’t even on the orig­i­nal list. And mob clean-up man The Wolf, played with an off-kil­ter deco­rous­ness by Har­vey Kei­t­el, could have gone to War­ren Beat­ty or Dan­ny DeVi­to. Strange­ly, the stu­dio didn’t think John­ny Depp would have been right for the role.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Quentin Tarantino’s Top 20 Grindhouse/Exploitation Flicks: Night of the Liv­ing Dead, Hal­loween & More

Quentin Taran­ti­no Lists the 12 Great­est Films of All Time: From Taxi Dri­ver to The Bad News Bears

Quentin Tarantino’s Hand­writ­ten List of the 11 “Great­est Movies”

Jonathan Crow is a Los Ange­les-based writer and film­mak­er whose work has appeared in Yahoo!, The Hol­ly­wood Reporter, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions. You can fol­low him at @jonccrow. And check out his blog Veep­to­pus, fea­tur­ing lots of pic­tures of vice pres­i­dents with octo­pus­es on their heads.  The Veep­to­pus store is here.

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  • Trevor says:

    You’re appar­ent­ly for­get­ting that John­ny Depp got his start as an under­cov­er cop in the 1980s TV series 21 Jump Street. He would have been a very log­i­cal choice. Or per­haps you’re too young? :)

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