Pulp Fiction is an iconic film, a piece of pop culture so ubiquitous it seems like a collective dream. It's cool and sexy and bloody and hip, and it changed the career trajectories of many of the actors involved in it—the film famously revitalized the prospects of both John Travolta and Bruce Willis and made Uma Thurman a star.
But some pre-production documents recently leaked on Reddit show that the Pulp Fiction we all know and love isn't exactly the Pulp Fiction that Tarantino intended. We would have seen some very different actors on screen if he had initially gotten his way.
Tarantino apparently wrote Travolta's suited-and-slick Vincent Vega for Michael Madsen, who had already played a Vega brother in Reservoir Dogs. The casting list notes that Travolta was a "strong, strong, strong second choice" for the role, but also has Alec Baldwin and Michael Keaton as potential options.
Bruce Willis wasn't even in the running to play Butch the boxer—Tarantino had the role going to Matt Dillon. Uma Thurman isn't anywhere to be found, either. Tarantino apparently wanted Virginia Madsen to play Thurman's coke-fueled, raven-haired lead. He also considered Nicholas Cage as that perpetually confused junkie dealer.
Unbelievably Samuel L. Jackson wasn't his first choice, either. Tarantino wanted Lawrence Fishburne, who was fresh from playing Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s dad in Boyz n the Hood. Eddie Murphy was also in the running to play Jules the hitman, but he was apparently too busy filming another Beverly Hills Cop turd, so we were spared the pain of watching Pluto Nash spout Ezekiel 25:17.
With that casting it would have been a very different film, but it's hard to imagine it being a better one—it scored seven Oscar nominations, including three for acting.