Several times each year, Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” casting list gets reposted to social media and goes viral all over again. The list showcases Tarantino’s desired casting for each main role, from first choices to back-ups and so on. Johnny Depp appears on the list as the second choice for Pumpkin, a role Tarantino wrote specifically for his “Reservoir Dogs” star Tim Roth. Tarantino confirmed on a recent episode of the “2 Bears, 1 Cave” podcast (via NME) that a studio executive wanted Depp, but Tarantino. challenged him over it.
“On the internet there’s a thing floating around about my wish list of the cast of ‘Pulp Fiction,'” Tarantino said. “I didn’t know exactly who I wanted to play this part or that part, so I wrote a giant list with a ton of names. I wanted to get them all pre-approved and I didn’t know if it was gonna work out or if I would vibe with the person or if they would even do a good job. I just wanted to get them approved.”
More from Variety
Orion Pictures co-founder and former TriStar Pictures chairman Mike Medavoy infamously passed on green-lighting “Pulp Fiction,” and the two didn’t see eye to eye on the casting of Pumpkin. Tarantino said on the podcast that it was actually Christian Slater who was his back-up choice on the role, and he only wanted to go to Depp if Roth turned it down and then Slater turned it down. Medavoy wanted to go straight to Depp, who had the most star power of the three actors.
Tarantino said he pushed back against Medavoy, asking the executive, “Do you think Johnny Depp playing the role of Pumpkin in this movie, which is the opening scene and the closing scene that’s it, do you think that will add that much to the box office? Him playing that role?’”
“Mike said, ‘It wont add a dime but it would make me feel better,'” Tarantino said.
Tarantino was able to cast first-choice Roth in the role once “Pulp Fiction” got off the ground at Miramax.
Best of Variety