So many Mias. The list of names floating around online for the part of Mia Wallace is a long one, including such odd casting choices as Julia Louis Dreyfus, Joan Cusack, and Kate Beckinsale, who Tarantino supposedly thought looked too young for the role. Miramax favored Meg Ryan or Michelle Phiefer for the part because they were obviously already big stars at the time, but Tarantino decided after his first meeting with Uma Thurman that she was the only actress worthy of taking home a dance trophy from Jack Rabbit Slim’s.
Paul Calderón did land himself a role in Pulp Fiction, just a much smaller one than he’d originally auditioned for. Tarantino had always envisioned Samuel L. Jackson in the Jules role, but was blown away by Calderón’s reading for the role that he briefly considered giving the actor the hitman part. Harvey Weinstein advised Jackson that he should give the read through another take and Jackson sealed the deal, with Tarantino moving Calderón over to Paul the bartender.
Tarantino wanted Michael Madsen to play Vincent Vega, but Mr. Blonde had other ambitions and passed on the role in favor of joining Kevin Costner for Wyatt Earp. The move didn’t sit well with the director and Tarantino didn’t speak with Madsen again until finishing up the first script for Kill Bill.
Daniel Day-Lewis was everything that John Travolta was not in 1993. Tarantino was always interested in Travolta for the part of Vincent Vega, but Harvey Weinstein was adamantly against casting the washed up actor. Harvey Weinstein told Tarantino that he had sent the script to Daniel Day-Lewis who was interested in playing the part, but Tarantino wouldn’t budge and eventually negotiated John Travolta for the famous ponytail-wearing hitman.