Remembering when Quentin Tarantino danced behind the camera during iconic Pulp Fiction scene
We’re digging into the Far Out vault to look back at a piece of cinema history. Despite being on the set of one of the most nonchalantly cool films of all time, Quentin Tarantino still made it a little bit goofy.
Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is, to this day, still regarded as one of the most effortlessly cool pieces of cinema ever created. It features a simply sumptuous cast, doing that enviable thing of all hitting their peak at once. Two names in the hat as the finest performances are John Travolta as ‘Vince Vega’ and Uma Thurman as ‘Mia Wallace’.
The duo’s performances are widely regarded as some of their best, bar the odd yellow-suited swordsmanship. But what grabbed the audience’s attention was their chemistry, smouldering and underwritten by danger as it was, most notably during their now-iconic dance scene. It sees Wallace and Vega take to the stage at a ’50s diner and perform a slick and stylish dance to win a competition.
One unwelcome fact is that one of the coolest dance scenes in modern cinema wouldn’t have been able to reach the same level without a bit of dad dancing, from none other than Quentin Tarantino himself. The serial goofball, never famed for his suave demeanour, clearly takes that same energy on to the dancefloor.
We’re pretty sure by now that we all know Tarantino doesn’t really care what people think about him or, in fact, his movies. If he did, well, we probably wouldn’t have his catalogue of modern masterpieces. It’s an ethos which has served him extremely well, so it’s unsurprising that he was willing to again put himself out there to ensure he grabbed the pivotal scene of the film.
A behind-the-scenes clip that surfaced online a couple of years ago shows Uma Thurman, John Travolta, and Tarantino all on set for the filming of the ‘Jack Rabbit Slims twist contest’ scene of Pulp Fiction. Thurman and Travolta looking as perfect as you could imagine then, as the footage involves director Tarantino, you can see him letting loose to the jiving beats of Chuck Berry’s ‘You Never Can Tell’.
It was the film that cemented Tarantino’s place in Hollywood. It proved that a know-nothing who just so happened to watch a lot of movies could be a director and one of the greatest. In 1994, Tarantino pondered what being a part of the mainstream might be: “My integrity will always be the same. I mean, I might fail,” he said. “But I find it almost impossible to believe that I’ll ever do a movie for the wrong reasons because — it’s just too hard to make a movie! It takes too long! It’s a year of your life! And I can’t believe I’ll ever do something completely for money because I’m making enough money now. I never want my overhead to get so big that I gotta do stuff I don’t care about.”
He addeD: “In a way, doing a movie you didn’t care about would be worse than working behind a counter. It would be a death! When I was working behind a counter, I was going forward. Making a bad movie would be going backward.” He’s never really done that since.