The Tarantino Actor Who Turned Down John Travolta’s Iconic ‘Pulp Fiction’ Role Sees The Silver Lining

Quentin Tarantino put Grease‘s John Travolta back on the map with Pulp Fiction. There’s no debating that phenomenon, but it may not have ever happened — meaning that we may have never seen Travolta in Face/Off and Fred Durst’s The Fanatic (the horror!) either — if Micheal Madsen hadn’t been too busy to play Vincent Vega. While folks were generally aware that Madsen had been offered the role, the Reservoir Dogs and House actor shone more light on the subject in a new documentary, QT8: The First Eight, which will soon arrive in limited theaters.

According to EW, Madsen explained that after dancing his way to ear-slicing mayhem as Mr. Blonde, Tarantino had wanted him to do the twist at Jack Rabbit Slim’s with Uma Thurman. Unfortunately for Madsen, he’d already signed onto Wyatt Earp and had to decline the opportunity, even though Tarantino had written Vega with Madsen in mind. However, Madsen sees that this was meant to be because the world didn’t need Travolta in more Look Who’s Talking, and his portrayal of Vega made the movie work:

“It became John’s comeback. He was doing movies about talking babies! And suddenly he’s Vincent Vega! He was doing movies about talking babies! And suddenly he’s Vincent Vega! He had that wig on. No one had seen Travolta with a fucking gun. That’s a huge, huge, huge reason why the movie worked.”

Indeed, we’d already seen Madsen dancing and doing the criminal thing, and much of the early mainstream (non-festival) buzz for Pulp Fiction was due to never seeing Travolta on this side of the law — at least not this way and delivering dialogue about Royales with Cheese. More Tarantino-related revelations are expected to come from interviews featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Christoph Waltz, Jennifer Jason Lee, Jamie Foxx, Lucy Liu, Diane Kruger, and Zoe Bell when QT8: The First Eight arrives on October 21.

(Via Entertainment Weekly)