John Travolta and Bruce Willis were among the list of celebrities that Quentin Tarantino wasn’t hoping to cast in Pulp Fiction. The same list also didn’t include Samuel L. Jackson or Uma Thurman.
The film that helped re-launch Travolta’s acting career originally had Michael Madsen as the ideal actor, which is ironic considering the two characters were brothers in the Tarantino shared universe. Brothers Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Vic Vega (Michael Madsen) had even been planned to receive a solo film just about them, according to Screen Rant, but it never happened.
Michael Madsen had gone on to become a regular in Tarantino’s movies, but Travolta didn’t. Instead, John went on to become an action film star alongside action newcomer Nicolas Cage (Face Off), and attempting comedy with William Hurt and Andie MacDowell in the film about a too-human angel, Michael.
Some would even argue that the quiet, subtle tough guy persona of Bruce Willis is almost the polar opposite of the highly emotive, often weird Nicolas Cage.
Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman had also been only considered alternates, according to the New York Post. The role of Jules Winnfield had originally been meant for Eddie Murphy, who had still been riding the success of his Beverly Hills Cop franchise. Sam hasn’t slowed down since, even starring alongside Bruce Willis twice since then (Die Hard with a Vengeance, Unbreakable).
— Metro Entertainment (@Metro_Ents) September 15, 2015
The original choice for Mia Wallace had actually been Patricia Arquette, as well as Virginia Madsen, Marisa Tomei, and Phoebe Cates. This was another ironic choice considering Patricia’s sister, Rosanna, was cast as Jody, the wife of the drug dealer, Lance.
Lance had been planned as John Cusack’s role, not Eric Stoltz, who much like John Travolta and Bruce Willis, wasn’t Tarantino’s first choice.
Of those on the list which surfaced on Reddit, a few such as Tim Roth and Amanda Plummer were penned among the only major roles that worked for the cast of Pulp Fiction. Among the alternative choices, the cast list almost reads like a “who’s who” of actors and actresses who were popular at the time.
The film would have been very different if thespians other than Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Bruce Willis, and Uma Thurman had made the final cut.
[Image via Tim P. Whitby / Getty Images]