The short answer is: it depends on who you ask. But the long answer sees one of music’s most iconic singer-songwriters and ultimate frontmen, Kurt Cobain, considered for a role in one of the iconic films ever made, Quentin Tarantino’s classic Pulp Fiction. The rumour has been knocking around for some time and we’re here to try and clear it all up for you.
There is perhaps no greater 1990s pop culture crossover than this one. As the frontman for Nirvana, Kurt Cobain was rightly considered the voice of his generation. Gen X were looking for a leader after the commercialisation of the eighties and Cobain was ready to step up and bring some authenticity to the alt-rock genre. Meanwhile, over in Indiewood, a young Quentin Tarantino was doing the same—creating visually stunning and narratively captivating films for a new generation. It would have been a match made in heaven.
The only real issue with the story is the legitimacy of it. Sadly, the source of the story seems to largely be Cobain’s wife and partner, Courtney Love. The Hole singer has herself picked up a few acting parts in her time, (The People vs. Larry Flynt is particularly brilliant) but this would have seen Cobain take up a prominent role in a major motion picture.
The role Cobain was allegedly in contention for was Vince Vega’s heroin dealer Lance, perfectly played by Eric Stoltz. Love has even suggested that she too was up for a role in the cult classic. According to Love, while Cobain was set to take the role of Lance, she was earmarked for Patricia Arquette’s role as Jody.
The idea of Cobain and Love as the heroin dealers of the story may have been an easy snag at some extra column inches for Tarantino, after all, at the time, the duo were two of the most famous people in the world. However, the duo’s proximity to the roles, Cobain was a noted heroin user, may have dissuaded Tarantino from ever formally offering the roles to the two grunge stars.
So far, everything fits. The roles are perfect and the actors are big names. However, the story falls down with the director himself who has been clear in denying this rumour as simply smoke without a fire. According to the Daily Express, Tarantino “denies ever offering Kurt the part, or even meeting him.”
That leaves us with our opening question, did Tarantino really offer Kurt Cobain a role in Pulp Fiction as Lance the heroin dealer? Probably not. Should he have? Definitely yes.