Did You Know? Quentin Tarantino Asked Kurt Cobain To Play Eric Stoltz’s Part In 'Pulp-Fiction'

by Edward Davis
May 25, 2011 11:44 AM
17 Comments
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The year was 1993. It was September and the school year had just started. Unless you were a pre-teener, chances are you were finishing high school or starting college (if you were friends with us). You were disenfranchised, angry, frustrated; the culture of complaint sweeping the zeitgeist was hitting your sweet spot and you were pissed.

Stoned, living in your parents basement or the shithole you were renting in your first year, you channeled your angst through smoking cheap weed resin and blaring Nirvana's latest album, In Utero, which had hit stores just a few short days earlier. Thinking to yourself, "God, these Albini (produced) drums are fucking sick," you passed the time thumbing through the liner notes trying to make sense of the mouthful-of-marbles lyrics to "Radio Friendly Unit Shifter" which you played on repeat.

Cranking up "Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle" to switch it up and being awed by the bass and the wickedly abrasive sounds, you noticed something in the "Thank You" notes that gave you pause. A thanks that included filmmaker Quentin Tarantino. "Huh?" you thought, initially thinking you were probably just too high.

But nope, it turns out you were right. Later you would read that Cobain was big fan of "Reservoir Dogs," Tarantino's feature-length debut, and the filmmaker and songwriter were mutual admirers. You'd even hear rumors that Tarantino wanted to include some Nirvana music in his films, but you could never substantiate those claims. You basically shrugged, moved on and then got older, moving to the suburbs, cutting your long hair and acquiescing to your wife's desire to dress you in salmon-colored polo shirts and mandals.

Cut to 2011, you're washing your car while your three year old wreaks havoc on your living room and the bills are piling up -- the "why" is revealed: Cobain was supposed to play Eric Stoltz's part in "Pulp Fiction" according to the singer's widowed wife. "At the same time, boy, was he excited when the scripts started coming in," Courtney Love said of Kurt's movie offers. "You ever wonder why he thanked Quentin [Tarantino] on the back of In Utero? Quentin asked him to play Eric Stoltz’s part in Pulp Fiction. You can ask Quentin that, because it’s true" (cue someone asking Quentin).

Who knew? Bonus extra credit: While he's surely too old for the part now, Love says Brad Pitt "wanted to play Kurt, by the way." [GQ via Vulture]

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17 Comments

  • mark | August 3, 2013 7:42 AMReply

    Why are you printing Urban Myths that QT has already debunked? A little research would have helped.

    Do better, please!

  • IcyHot Stuntman Mike | July 13, 2011 1:29 AMReply

    Even if Cobain was offered the role, I doubt he would have been able to accept--he could barely control his life, let alone his band in '93. Also, at this time, he was doing everything he could to dispel the image of his being a junkie in the public eye--mostly because he feared the courts would take his daughter away. Still, Cobain was ballsy and full of contradictions, so maybe playing a heroin dealer was right up his alley.

    In a parallel universe, who knows? Maybe he never ran away from that rehab to kill himself. Maybe he got himself off drugs and on the right meds. Maybe Nirvana headlined Lollapalooza '94 (so I could have seen them live and not lived with the greatest musical regret of my life). Maybe, in this parallel universe, he did indeed accept the role of Lance in Pulp Fiction (I'm sure Courtney would have pushed her way in to play Lance's mouthy wife--you can totally see it, right?) and somehow you know he would have nailed the role in the peculiar way that David Bowie has always nailed his roles.

    By the start of '95, Nirvana would have gone bust and Dave Grohl would have started up the Foo Fighters right on time. Then Cobain could have enjoyed acting for a few years, while Courtney battled Dave to be Nirvana's rightful heir (in that universe, like this one, Dave would win). Cobain would have split with Courtney and gone into obscurity for a few years (raising farm animals or something). Then he would return to have a Neil Young-esque solo career. Flash ahead 17 years and with Grohl, Novoselic, and Smear recording on the latest Foo Fighters record, there would be rampant rumors of Nirvana reuniting. And they would for one more album and lunatic tour before calling it quits forever. Sound good?

    Oh, to dream.

  • GabeCure94 | October 16, 2013 8:33 AM

    The best comment I've ever read. Thank you!

  • Suzy | June 19, 2011 3:58 AMReply

    Indiewire, we expect more of you- QT has already said this is an urban myth, and you're printing Courtney Love as though it were the gospel?

    Please quote the film makers and not the crazy publicity hounds, I mean really, how about an interview with Quentin instead?

  • Brandt Hardin | May 31, 2011 11:24 AMReply

    That would have been a helluva ironic casting... Kurt Cobain changed my life with his music- I only wished he could have stuck around to make more. I paid homage to him on the anniversary of his death with my portrait of the grunge legend on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2011/04/in-memoriam-kurt-cobain-and-lane-staley.html

  • Michelle | May 26, 2011 11:54 AMReply

    I'm sure Courtney Love only speaks the truth.

    Really.

    THIS is the news that's all over twitter? How about you put out the real truth, print what QT said on the Stern show?

  • Hal | May 26, 2011 9:44 AMReply

    Yeah, Ken's right, this is bullshit. Why would he give a really cool role to Kurt Cobain. A MUSICIAN!

    I remember hearing QT considered playing that role before the one he actually picked, that might be a total fabrication on my part but it sounds more credible than QT casting someone who'd never acted before.

  • Hayden Maxwell | May 26, 2011 8:22 AMReply

    I thought the piece was fun.

  • Jesse | May 26, 2011 5:12 AMReply

    I actually like the writing style of this piece. Don't stop.

  • G.C. | May 26, 2011 4:14 AMReply

    Actually, QT dispelled this rumor on the Howard Stern Show; said it never happened nor was the idea even considered.

  • Stephen | May 26, 2011 3:42 AMReply

    Blogger: "Hey guys, did you know ______? In case you didn't, I'm going to tell you about it, framing it in an interesting, entertaining and poignant way."

    The Internet: "We already knew this and have known it for years. And this post is stupid."

    unchill.

    i, for one, didn't know this, and i find it very interesting and i hope QT makes a comment about it at some point soon to make this official-ize this bit of trivia (and if he does, he will do so because a bunch of blog posts and tweets—the thing you guys, who i am sure would like an official statement on this from Tarantino, are bitching about—start cropping up talking about it).

  • Edward Davis | May 26, 2011 1:42 AMReply

    Kurdt Cobain was an English rose.

  • rodie | May 26, 2011 1:38 AMReply

    Nothing Courtney Love says is the absolute accurate truth. Literally nothing. It's almost humorously astonishing.

  • Ben | May 26, 2011 1:08 AMReply

    Agree with Ken. Edward Davis stick to writing straight ahead articles, we really didn't need the terrible lead up to this boring ass news.

  • ronjay | May 26, 2011 1:03 AMReply

    I don't think people said "sick" in those days....

  • Piotr | May 25, 2011 12:48 PMReply

    "New"s

  • Ken | May 25, 2011 12:38 PMReply

    Um, I'm pretty sure it came out that QT never offered Kurt that part. I thought this article was going to be show a quote of QT actually claiming this rumor to be true, but there is none. Is this the first time you guys heard about this? it's been on the imdb trivia page for years

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