Here’s who Quentin Tarantino originally wanted to star in ‘Pulp Fiction’

It could have been Gary Oldman and Laurence Fishburne. Picture: TriStar

There’s an alternative version of Quentin Tarantino’s cult film “Pulp Fiction” being shopped around.

Or at least, “Pulp Fiction” as Tarantino originally wanted it.

One imgur user has uploaded a cast preference list for the film from a screenplay in which it’s obvious Tarantino wanted one thing above all – Gary Oldman:

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The closest Tarantino had come to working with the British actor was in “True Romance”, the movie Tarantino wrote the screenplay for which was directed a year earlier by Tony Scott.

For “Pulp Fiction”, Tarantino had Oldman listed as his top preference for the roles of Pumpkin (which went to Tim Roth), Lance (Eric Stoltz) and even Vincent Vega (John Travolta). TriStar executives wanted Oldman in the role of Lance as well, following his intense performance as drug dealer Drexl Spivey in “True Romance” a year earlier.

Tarantino’s first choice for Lance was John Cusack, and there’s no mention of Kurt Cobain, whom Courtney Love once claimed was originally offered the role. (Tarantino later said he’d never even met Cobain.)

Tarantino and Oldman struck out on all counts and are still yet to work together in a director-actor partnership. Tarantino was also pretty keen on Johnny Depp, too, whose career was only just lifting off after “Edward Scissorhands” and “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”.

Another imgur user has the other two pages of cast preferences here, which also show Tarantino’s keen eye for scene-stealers and resurrecting careers.

Under “Captain Koons”, his first choice came with three stars – cue Christopher Walken in his movie-stealing 60-second role involving an intense talk about hidden watches.


Under the part of Vincent Vega’s partner “Jules”, memorably played by Samuel L Jackson, Tarantino specifically asked for “No Rappers”. Of interest is the fact he “wrote the part for Larry (Fishburne)”. It has been widely assumed Tarantino wrote the part with Jackson in mind.

Jackson went on to be nominated for an Academy Award for his performance.

Of the other Academy nominees from the film, Travolta was Tarantino’s “strong, strong, strong second choice”. Michael Madsen, his first choice, gave it up to star alongside Kevin Costner in “Wyatt Earp”, a decision he later said he regretted.

Uma Thurman, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, doesn’t even appear on Tarantino’s list for the part of Mia Wallace.