From Cinephillia and Beyond, this comment from Roger Avary, who co-wrote Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction with Tarantino:

We just took all the best scenes we had ever written, and we packed them up, and we went to Amsterdam. Quentin rented this apartment, and we laid them out on the floor and basically just started moving them around… Our one requirement was that every scene should be able to stand on its own and be able to be performed in an acting class. A couple of actors should be able to do it together and it should be contained that way. No establishing shots… No wasted space, no traveling here and there, just no fat. It had to be the best material we had written to that point. We laid it out and we started changing names and piecing it together… It underwent a number of passes and pretty soon it was what you see.

When we finished that script it was taken to… TriStar and a producer named Mike Medavoy. We turned it in and they said ‘this is the worst screenplay that this film company has ever been handed. This is awful. It’s not funny. It makes no sense. This guy’s dead, he’s alive. What’s going on?’ They put it into immediate turnaround…

The full interview is here.

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3 Responses to “How Pulp Fiction was written (and rejected)”

  1. liz |

    that was fun to read, i like hearing about the process. for six years i had filled dozens of notebooks with notes and sketches for a movie idea. i recently met a writer who told me to write each scene out on those oversized index cards, and boom as soon as i could move them around, millions of things fell into place with the order and connections and subplots, helping to create so many more scenes, enough to throw some away. now i just need to get to amsterdam.

    Reply
    • A Reader |

      Now there’s a ground breaking, hard hitting argument with a lot of data to back it up. Got my laugh for the day, thank you.

      Reply

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