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Film

The 'Pulp Fiction' scenes that were not directed by Quentin Tarantino

If you asked someone to select a film that represents the spirit of American filmmaking in the 1990s more than any other, there’s a good chance that Pulp Fiction by Quentin Tarantino would sit at the top of the pile. Starring the likes of John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Therman and more, Pulp Fiction is a brilliant cinematic translation of the nihilism and irreverence that dominated the social fabric during that time.

In an interview with the American Film Institute, Tarantino opened up about the influences that inspired him to write Pulp Fiction, explaining: “Well, the idea in Pulp Fiction was the idea of taking the – I wouldn’t say film noir, but the pulp genre that was represented in the case of magazines like Black Mask where you had Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett writing them”.

He went on to explain how these stories weren’t exactly original but his treatment would amplify the atmospheric sensibilities that were prevalent during the the ’90s. Tarantino added: “So I thought the idea in the case of Pulp Fiction, that would be kind of cool is to take three separate stories and make them be the oldest stories in the book”.

According to Tarantino, he had been working on the script since 1990 with Roger Avary and had been influenced by gems like Mario Bava’s 1963 film Black Sabbath as well as American cult films such as Bonnie and Clyde. Apart from writing and directing Pulp Fiction, Tarantino also starred in the film as Jimmie – a friend of Jules (played by Jackson) who suddenly finds a messy car and a dead body in his house while his wife is out.

When he was starting out, Tarantino developed his skills as a screenwriter by attending acting classes. He explained: “I actually realised I had a bit of talent at it [by] going to acting class. And I was always doing bizarre scenes in acting class. Little by little, I started adding more and more and more to the scenes and that was me learning how to write dialogue”.

While he was focused on the acting, Tarantino’s best friend Robert Rodriguez took over for him and filled the directorial seat to supervise the scenes with Jimmie in it. Tarantino was torn between choosing to play Jimmie or Lance, the latter being Vincent’s (Travolta) eccentric drug dealer. In order to help him out with the confusion, he asked the From Dusk Till Dawn director to take charge of the Jimmie scenes.

Watch Tarantino’s cameo in Pulp Fiction below.