While Quentin Tarantino had promised him the role of Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction”, Samuel L. Jackson realized that he was in competition with another actor. The actor therefore landed a bit upset at his second audition, where his anger went up a notch.
pulp Fiction : the consecration for Quentin Tarantino
revealed with Reservoir Dogs, Quentin Tarantino is expected at the turn with his second feature film. In 1994, the filmmaker unveiled pulp Fictiona gangster film consisting of segments co-written with Roger Avary where different characters cross paths, kill each other, take drugs and gossip.
Among them are hitmen Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winnfield (Samuel L.Jackson), employed by the kingpin Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). Caïd who makes several requests that turn into a nightmare, starting with a proposal to Vincent to go out to keep his wife Mia company (Uma Thurman), who inadvertently mixes up cocaine and heroin during an adrenaline-filled chapter.
The boss also invites the boxer Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis) to fold during a match to win fixed bets. Which the athlete refuses to do at the last moment, subsequently sparking a disastrous chase that ends in the shop of a slightly deranged pawnbroker.
Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken, Rosanna Arquette, Eric Stoltz, Maria de Medeiros and Quentin Tarantino himself complete the phenomenal cast of pulp Fiction. 18 years before the one given for Django Unchainedthe director won his first Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the feature film, also rewarded with the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
The competition between Samuel L. Jackson and Paul Calderon
When he writes pulp Fiction, Quentin Tarantino already has actors in mind for certain characters. He particularly thinks of Michael Madsen to lend his features to Vincent Vega, but the latter refuses to shoot the western Wyatt Earp. A decision he will bitterly regret. For his sidekick Jules Winnfield, he thinks of Laurence Fishburne. There again, he comes up against a refusal, the actor ofApocalypse Now and of Boyz’n the Hood believing that the project makes “heroin use attractive”.
The director therefore offers the role to Samuel L. Jackson and invites him to do a reading. Confident and sure to star in the film, the actor then returns to the set of Fresh. Shortly after, he learns that Paul Calderon (bad lieutenant, The King of New York) did an audition in New York that won over Quentin Tarantino. The filmmaker then wonders if the character of Jules Winnfield is really made for the future interpreter of Nick Fury.
Samuel L. Jackson therefore flies to Los Angeles to try to convince QT and spends the flight studying the script in depth. But when he arrives, he realizes that his competitor has also come for a second audition. Asked by Vanity FairPaul Calderon claims to have missed this second attempt:
I couldn’t find the rhythm I had in New York. At the end, I said: “I give up”.
Quentin Tarantino still entrusts him with the role of Paul, bartender who welcomes Vincent and Jules when they come to deliver the famous briefcase to Marsellus at the start of the feature film.
“I love your work, Mr. Fishburne”
As for Samuel L. Jackson, he is hungry and not really in a good mood when he sets foot in Los Angeles. He therefore arrives at the meeting with a burger bought on the way in a fast food restaurant. Once there, he finds no one to welcome him and his anger rises a notch when he finds himself face to face with a member of the team:
I was angry, tired and pissed off. (…) When they arrived, an executive producer or someone who was with them said to me: “I love your work, Mr. Fishburne”. (…) I was there: “He does not even know who I am. And then shit”. At that time, I really didn’t care.
Quentin, Lawrence and I were sitting on a sofa. He walked in and started sipping his drink and biting into his burger looking at all of us. I was terrified. I felt like this guy was going to shoot me in the head.
Lawrence Bender adds:
He was the guy you see in the movie. He said, “Do you think you’re going to give this role to someone else? I’m going to blow you motherfuckers.”
A few months later, Samuel L. Jackson is Oscar nominee for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of Jules Winnfield. And he thinks thathe should have won the statuettediscount to Martin Landau for Ed Wood.
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Pulp Fiction: why Samuel L. Jackson was mad with rage during his audition