Quentin Tarantino explains the backstory of ‘The Gimp’ in ‘Pulp Fiction’
Quentin Tarantino has been spending some of his spare time in lockdown by reflecting on his career to date and, specifically, some of the plot specifics around his 1994 classic Pulp Fiction.
The spaghetti western crime thriller propelled Tarantino to world fame, often regarded as the director’s masterpiece and, more specifically, the detail and flair of his screenwriting.
“Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hitmen with a penchant for philosophical discussions,” the film’s official synopsis reads. “In this ultra-hip, multi-strand crime movie, their storyline is interwoven with those of their boss, gangster Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) ; his actress wife, Mia (Uma Thurman); struggling boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) ; master fixer Winston Wolfe (Harvey Keitel) and a nervous pair of armed robbers, ‘Pumpkin’ (Tim Roth) and ‘Honey Bunny’ (Amanda Plummer).”
Now, while answering fan questions for Empire, Tarantino has been discussing one scene from Pulp Fiction specifically. As Bruce Willis’ character Butch and Ving Rhames’ Marsellus Wallace find themselves in an uncompromising position after being captured by shop owner Maynard, one that results in sexual assault, a comical feature remains the gimp who is also in captivity.
“It doesn’t quite play this way in the movie, but in my mind when I wrote it, the Gimp’s dead,” Tarantino said in reflection. “Butch knocked him out and then when he passed out he hung himself.
“In terms of backstory, he was like a hitchhiker or somebody that they picked up seven years ago, and they trained him so he’s the perfect victim,” he added.
“I heard a funny thing from Jon Lovitz, who knew Stephen Hibbert, the guy who played the Gimp, from The Groundlings. Jon watches Pulp Fiction for the first time and is like, ‘What the fuck is this?’ And he stays in the theatre as the credit crawl is going on and sees Stephen’s name. He said out loud, ‘WHAT? I know the Gimp?!’ [Laughs uproariously]”.