What is Caffeinated Clint’s Greats?
I’ve had plenty of emails from you guys asking such questions as “Who were your favourite actors growing up?”, “Do you have a favourite movie?”, “You’re producing films now, any particular film that inspired you to take that road?” and “Hey man, Got Kristen Stewart’s phone number?”, and it gave my an idea – why not profile some of my favourite films? (It saves me from flaming a pimply, unintelligent publicist or another fresh-from-junior-high exec over some harebrained remake he’s just greenlit for a couple of weeks, after all) and in doing so, why not make contact with some of the people from these films?
Title : Pulp Fiction
Year : 1994
Director : Quentin Tarantino
Starring : John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman, Samuel L.Jackson, Eric Stoltz, Ving Rhames, Amanda Plummer, Tim Roth, Harvey Keitel, Christopher Walken
The film probably needs little explanation, considering most of its fans have watched it more times than the evening news, but here’s a short run-down: directed by Quentin Tarantino (the chap who hit the big time with the uber-violent but unashamedly creative ”Reservoir Dogs”), it’s a three-hour crime pic that takes a band of different folks (including comeback king John Travolta as a mullet-haired hitman, Uma Thurman as a coke-snorting mobster’s moll, and Bruce Willis as a boxer-on-the-run) and interweaves their stories to form a complete – well, sorta, it’s all sequenced out of order – picture of how and where everyone’s life fits in and where the connection to each other lays.
It’s a brilliant pic – superbly written, fabulously paced, and predominantly, immaculately performed. Travolta, who had been stuck playing second fiddle to talking tots and dogs for the past few years before it, is a revelation here.
Unfortunately, Tom Hanks snagged the Oscar from him that year (for ”Forrest Gump”), but at the end of the day, it was Travolta who won: he got a second (or was it third?) career out of Tarantino’s gamble.
Actor Eric Stoltz has played some very interesting, not to mention significantly diverse characters. He played Stoner Bud in the legendary 1982 comedy hit “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”, won raves for his turn as the disfigured Rocky Dennis in “Mask” (1985), won hearts as teen rebel Keith Nelson in John Hughes’ classic “Some Kind of Wonderful” (1987) and as Martin Brundle in “The Fly II” (1989), proved a man can ‘Fly’.
In the 90s, Stoltz re-invented himself, emerging as a capricious dramatic actor that seemed intent on swimming in the choppiest waters possible. He won widespread acclaim for his role as the scarred Joel Garcia, in the acclaimed “The Waterdance” (1992) – a film he also produced – and soon after, became a constant in some of the breakthrough Independent films of the time, namely, “Pulp Fiction” (1994).
Caffeinated Clint : So man, how did the teen heartthrob from “Some Kind of Wonderful” end up playing greasy drug-dealer Lance in “Pulp Fiction”?
Eric Stoltz : I knew Quentin from the Sundance Festival – we were both there in ’92 or ’93. He was there with Reservoir Dogs, and I was there with Waterdance, and they were sort of the two films in competition. We met and became friends, and stayed in touch. Later, I was walking down 6th Avenue and bumped into him again. It was a sunny spring day – cos it was cold, but it was sunny – and it was early in the morning, like 9-9:30, and I looked across the street and from about half-a-mile away I saw this limbering figure – sort of walking like a madman – coming towards me. I’d only ever seen two people walk like madmen at this time of the morning – I saw Chris Walken walking towards me at 6am once. Anyway, I saw this giant red watch, from some comic book or something – and I knew then, that it had to be Quentin. I walked across the street, and he was like ‘Hey man! I was just thinking about you – I’ve got this script I want to give you’. I was like ‘Here I am’. He was staying with another director at the time. It was Roger Avary. Anyway, Quentin gave me the script for Killing Zoe.
Caffeinated Clint : Wait, so you were offered “Killing Zoe” before “Pulp Fiction”?
Eric Stoltz Yes. After Killing Zoe, I produced a film called Sleep with Me and I hired Quentin as an actor. Quentin came down, and I think that’s when he gave me the Pulp Fiction script.
Caffeinated Clint : And was “Pulp Fiction” a fun film to work on?
Eric Stoltz : That was a blast! We had two weeks of rehearsal on the sets, which is very rare – it was a low-budget film, about $8 million at the time, so we had to really have our act together. We would go out and eat together, and it was lovely. A lovely bunch of people. It was so much fun – and I think that comes across in the film. Fast Times [at Ridgemont High] had a similar vibe. When you’re doing something challenging and fun and everybody is in it for the right reasons it doesn’t really matter whether it’s a hit or not. The experience stays with you. Whenever I see anything from Pulp Fiction, a wonderful feeling just comes over me. Very good times.
Caffeinated Clint : How was it working with Travolta?
Eric Stoltz : He was hysterical. Silly guy. He’s hysterical – he does these little voices, he’s always dancing, teasing, and telling stories. He’s just a very wonderful fella.
Caffeinated Clint : And “Killing Zoe” was filmed after, right?
Eric Stoltz : We shot it first, but it was released second.
Caffeinated Clint: : Was that filmed in Paris?
Eric Stoltz : I wish! It was all in Los Angeles, with one day in Paris. Roger had a minuscule amount of money, and he found this bank that was going out of business in downtown LA and I think he wrote the heist film around that location so that he could make his film. Incredibly creative guy. He and Quentin are really connected in a deeply, creative way.