On the 25th Anniversary of the iconic masterpiece, Pulp Fiction (1994), we wanted to pay homage to this Tarantino classic that quickly became a pop culture phenomenon and redefined the formula, language, and rhythm of moviemaking forever. So join us on the second installment of Regal Reel’s Behind-the-Scenes Secrets as we stumble across some surprising behind-the-scenes facts about the production of Pulp Fiction:
1. Marsellus Wallace’s bandage
Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) and Butch (Bruce Willis) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
There are a few mysteries planted throughout Pulp Fiction, mainly the ones surrounding the contents of Marsellus Wallace's briefcase. Almost gaining an equal amount of attention from Tarantino fans is the curious bandage on the back of Wallace’s neck, which caused a whirlwind of rumors and theories. The truth behind the Band-aid is that on the day that they shot the scene, Ving Rhames nicked himself while shaving and used it to cover up the cut. Tarantino ended up loving the look of it, and decided to leave it in the forefront of this scene.
2. John Travolta choreographed the iconic dance at Jack Rabbit Slim's
Vincent (John Travolta) and Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
One of the more iconic and loveable scenes in the movie is the dance shared between Vincent and Mia at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Though Tarantino had asked them to just dance “The Twist,” they improvised almost the entire dance on the spot—in fact, Travolta came up with most of the dance moves. "I'd actually told Quentin about the dances I grew up with,” Travolta shared. “There were other fun dances from that era: The Spin, The Batman, The Hitchhiker.” So Tarantino let them run away with it.
3. Guns are never used as intended
Butch (Bruce Willis) and Vincent (John Travolta) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
A common theme that Tarantino used throughout the movie is that the guns are never used as they were meant to be used: multiple close range shots miraculously miss Jules, Vincent accidentally shoots Marvin in the back of the car, Butch kills Vincent with a gun that was supposed to be used to kill him, and Jules uses his gun to prevent violence from taking place at the coffee shop.
4. The red Malibu belonged to Tarantino, and it was stolen
Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) and Vincent (John Travolta) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Yes, that beautiful, red 1964 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu that Vincent drove belonged to the movie’s director, Quentin Tarantino, during the time the movie was in production. Unfortunately, after the filming was done, the car was stolen from one of the lots. Almost 20 years later in 2013, police found the car being stripped for parts by two teenagers, who were arrested immediately.
5. The wallet
Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Speaking of Tarantino inserting his personal belongings into his movies, some may be surprised to learn that Jules’ iconic wallet belonged to Pulp Fiction’s director. As it turns out, the script on the wallet was a reference to the Shaft theme song—knowing how Tarantino loves to make pop culture references—which, ironically enough, would be a role that Samuel L. Jackson would pick up in 2000.
6. Uma Thurman almost wasn’t Mia Wallace
Mia Wallace (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
As easily one of the movies most fascinating characters, the role of Mia Wallace was highly sought after by actors in Hollywood. A horde of major names auditioned for the role, including Meg Ryan, Halle Berry, Jennifer Aniston, Daryl Hannah, Joan Cusack, Michelle Pfeiffer and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Louis-Dreyfus came the closest to snagging the role but it was admitted by her agent that her scheduling conflicts with Seinfeld prevented her from committing. Though, we couldn’t imagine the role being played by anyone but Thurman.
7. The adrenaline shot scene
(left to right) Mia (Uma Thurman), Vincent (John Travolta), Trudi (Bronagh Gallagher), Lance (Eric Stoltz), and Jody (Rosanna Arquette) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
In another of the movie’s more memorable (and tense) moments, we find a panicked Vincent as he is forced to revive his boss’ wife after she’s had a little too much to, uhh… sniff. The iconic “syringe scene” looks very real on camera—which it kind of is. This shot was accomplished by having Travolta pull the needle out of Thurman’s chest and then running the film backwards.
8. Pulp Fiction only cost $8.5 million to make
Mia (Uma Thurman) and Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
With all of the elaborate sets, funky outfits, and an all-star cast, one would expect the movie to run a rather high budget. Surprisingly enough, Pulp Fiction cost very little to make, running the budget just under $8.5 million. Considering that 5 million of those dollars went to the actors, the remaining production was rather shoestring, especially when compared to the average Hollywood movie budget of around $50 million back in the 90’s.
9. The chronology of the movie
Butch (Bruce Willis) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Chronologically speaking, the last scene in the movie that we should see would be Butch and Fabienne driving away on Zed’s motorcycle. And if you listen carefully, the very first sound that we hear in the beginning of the movie is the same motorcycle's engine as it drives past the diner that Honey Bunny and Pumpkin are holding up.
10. The Ezequiel 25:17 quote was made up by Jackson and Tarantino
Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) and Brett (Frank Whaley) in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Jules’ Biblical kill speech holds its place as the movie’s most iconic moment. As the pair of hitmen recover Marsellus Wallace’s briefcase, Jules delivers the mantra to Brett (Frank Whaley) before laying his vengeance upon him. However, only the last two lines reference the actual Bible verse, which reads: “And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I shall lay my vengeance upon them.” The additional lines were directly written and inserted by Tarantino, amounting to one of the most badass lines in movie history.