in ,

“I didn’t know I was making a comedy”: John Travolta Put Himself in Trouble With Quentin Tarantino After Putting Humor into ‘Pulp Fiction’

"I didn't know I was making a comedy": John Travolta Put Himself in Trouble With Quentin Tarantino After Putting Humor into 'Pulp Fiction'

Pulp Fiction marked John Travolta’s resurgence after a decline in stardom throughout the 80s. The unconventional film directed by Quentin Tarantino has gained a cult following over the years and it is the first independent film to gross more than $100 million. The movie takes audiences into the lives of different characters in the Los Angeles criminal world, narrating the plot in a non-linear style.

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in a scene from Pulp Fiction
John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction

Travolta played Vincent Vega, one of the hitmen working for a crime boss Marsellus Wallace. The Face/Off actor’s iconic scene in the movie is still remembered by fans, where he accidentally shoots a passenger in his car in the face.

Also Read: “We’ve done a really sh**ty job”: Harrison Ford, John Travolta, Sylvester Stallone Relentlessly Churning Out Movies is Killing Hollywood, Claims Industry Insider

Fandomwire Video

John Travolta Intentionally Made His Line More Humorous

John Travolta and Samuel L Jackson in a scene from Pulp Fiction
John Travolta and Samuel Jackson in the iconic “I shot Marvin in the face” scene

In the scene, John Travolta’s Vincent Vega and Samuel Jackson’s Jules Winnfield visit Brett, Wallace’s business partner who double-crossed him. The two hitmen are tasked with retrieving a briefcase and they kill everyone in Brett’s apartment, except Marvin, whom they take with them. During the ride back, Vincent and Jules engage in an argument, and Vincent turns to Marvin for an opinion, with a gun pointing at his face, and accidentally fires it.

Travolta revealed that the scene initially had a more serious tone. The Saturday Night Fever actor’s original dialogue was simply “I shot Marvin”. However, Travolta improvised the now iconic line, “Oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.” The Carrie actor explained that he wanted to lessen the intensity of his crime. The Get Shorty actor shared:

“In that scene I improvised. ‘I shot Marvin’ was the written word. What I asked permission to say is ‘I shot Marvin in the face’. And I knew the way I would say it would have humor because I would say it in a way like ‘I stepped on his toes’ or ‘knocked into him’ or something. I blew his head off, but ‘I shot him in the face’ is like I tried to make less of what I did. And it worked.”

Pulp Fiction later gained appreciation for this ironic blend of humor and violence. However, Quentin Tarantino initially had no intention to make a comedy film, though this combo later became his signature.

Also Read: “To hell with that stuff!”: John Travolta Regretted Mocking Denzel Washington’s $160.5M Film For Its Absurd Plot After Its 2 Oscar Nominations

John Travolta Apologized To The Director For Making It A Comedy

Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction
Quentin Tarantino in Pulp Fiction

John Travolta was nominated for an Academy Award for his role as Vincent Vega. It also put him back into mainstream cinema with diverse roles. However, the Phenomenon actor’s decision to deliver lines with a humorous tone was questioned by the director. Quentin Tarantino wanted to make an out-and-out crime thriller, and he never thought comedy would work with this genre. Travolta disclosed:

“Quentin, he even said to me when the movie when the movie was done, ‘I didn’t know I was making a comedy’. And I said, ‘I’m sorry. It’s just the only way I can get through it.’”

The iconic scene left behind a number of open-ended questions that are discussed among fans even today. The questions range from why they decided to bring Marvin along to whether the killing was accidental or not. Fans have proposed several theories and Tarantino loves these discussions, which is why he intentionally left the scene open-ended.

Also Read: Tom Cruise’s Scientologist Rival John Travolta Lost Millions After Trying to Appease Controversial Cult With $73M Movie That Almost Doomed His Career

You can enjoy John Travolta’s career-defining performance by streaming Pulp Fiction on Max.

Source: IMDB

Written by Hashim Asraff

Hashim writes about movies and celebrities at FandomWire. A Masters degree holder in Sociology, crime investigation thrillers really get him going. He's devoured 15 seasons of Criminal Minds and another 12 seasons of Bones. And the list of shows goes on. Oh, and don't even get him started on the MCU movies and Friends.