You remember “Pulp Fiction,” Quentin Tarantino’s acclaimed second feature? Starring Denzel Washington as Vincent Vega, Eddie Murphy as his Bible-quoting partner Jules, Johnny Depp as boxer Jules, Julie Delpy as his lover Fabian, Marisa Tomei as gangster’s moll Mia, Samuel L. Jackson as her fearsome beau Marsellus, Nic Cage and Phoebe Cates as small-time thieves Pumpkin and Honey Bunny, Sean Penn as the man who put a watch up his ass, John Cusack as dealer Lance and Danny De Vito as clean-up expert The Wolf?
You don’t, not in that form. But in a parallel world, that’s the cast list that we could have ended up with, according to a fascinating leak that’s emerged thanks to an eBay posting from Steven Goverman (via Reddit) in the last couple of days that reveals Tarantino’s original casting shortlist for his ultimately Palme d’Or and Oscar-winning film which cemented her reputation. The documents (see below) reveal that in some cases Tarantino was able to get his first choice, but not in others —the Vincent character was written for Michael Madsen and Lance was created for Cusack, for instance.
The documents also reveal that Alec Baldwin, Pam Grier, Michael Keaton, Robert Carradine and Lili Taylor were also strongly considered for roles, while more offbeat names like William Petersen, Jason Patric, Dennis Quaid, Bill Paxton, Sofia Coppola, Debra Winger, Charles Dutton and Al Pacino were all up for parts, while 21 years before “The Hateful Eight,” Jennifer Jason Leigh was in consideration for multiple roles.
It’s fascinating stuff, and with the caveat that, as ever with Reddit, the sourcing is a little murky, this feels legit, if only because of the frequent misspellings. Take a look at the original documents below, and wonder what could have been…