Laurence Fishburne discusses turning down the role of a lifetime in 'Pulp Fiction'
(Credit: Wikimedia / Tony Shek)

Laurence Fishburne discusses turning down the role of a lifetime in Quentin Tarantino film ‘Pulp Fiction’

Actor Laurence Fishburne has opened up about his decision to turn down a leading role in Quentin Tarantino’s now-iconic film Pulp Fiction.

Tarantino sparked a conversation about the film earlier this year when revealed that he actually wrote the character of Jules Winnfield for Laurence Fishburne. However, after approaching the actor for the role, Tarantino explained that Fishburne took the decision to reject the offer because he didn’t consider the role of Jules as a leading part. His decision to avoid the film famously allowed Samuel L. Jackson to take up the spot.  

Reflecting on his decision in a new interview with Vulture, Fishburne has revealed that the heavy drug content is the main reason he decided against it. “I just had a problem with the way the heroin use was dealt with,” Fishburne said.

“I just felt it was a little cavalier, and it was a little loose. I felt like it made heroin use attractive. For me, it’s not just my character. It’s, ‘What is the whole thing saying?’…It wasn’t about my character in ‘Pulp Fiction.’ It was about the way in which the heroin thing was delivered. And the whole fucking thing with the hypodermic and the adrenaline shot? No.”

Discussing Tarantino’s leading man comments, Fishburne has explained that the role of Jules is absolutely “a leading-man part” before adding that “Sam Jackson walks away with the movie.” He continued: “Sam fucking sticks the movie in his pocket and walks away from it, walks into a fucking leading-man career. What are you talking about? It’s a great part.”

“It wasn’t about the part,” Fishburne added. “It was about the totality of the thing, where I was like, ‘Why is it that the biggest, blackest, baddest motherfucker in the whole thing gets fucked in the ass by two country-ass motherfuckers? Explain me that.’ But when you talk to Ving [Rhames], he was like, ‘You know what, Fish? You have no idea how many cats have told me, ‘Thank you for doing that’ and appreciated the fact that I was able to do that because some cats, that happens to them, and they’re still men. Just because you get raped, doesn’t make you any less a man.’ I wasn’t evolved enough to actually realise that, or to even think about it in those terms, but Ving was. Everything’s not for everybody.”

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