When Pulp Fiction hit theaters in the fall of 1994, it wasn't only an instant hit, but it kickstarted Samuel L. Jackson's career, while reviving John Travolta's fading career. Both actors earned Oscar nominations for their portrayals of assassins Vic Vega and Jules Winnfield. Today we have new details that reveal John Travolta may have not even taken on the role, had he listened to some advice from a high-ranking member of the Church of Scientology, which he has belonged to for over 40 years.
During the latest episode of A&E's new documentary series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath, the actress hosted a Q&A session with former Scientologist Mike Rinder, who revealed that John Travolta asked him to review Quentin Tarantino's screenplay for Pulp Fiction, before he agreed to take on the role of Vic Vega. If the actor would have listened to his advice, the movie may have been so much different, since Mike Rinder told the actor he should turn down this role. But fortunately, he didn't. Here's what Mike Rinder had to say on last week's episode of Leah Reimini: Scientology and the Aftermath, when asked how Scientology plays a role in the lives of its celebrity members.
"I've got a story about this that I'm not sure I should really tell. When Quentin Tarantino approached John Travolta for a role in Pulp Fiction, John asked me to review the script to tell him what I thought, and his role was a heroin-addict assassin, and I said, 'Oh, John, I don't think that you should do this.' What great career advice; I should be an agent. Sensibly, he ignored me."
There were a number of other high-profile actors in consideration for the Vic Vega role, with a 2013 book revealing that Harvey Weinstein insisted that Daniel Day-Lewis play Vic Vega, with the producer also suggesting Sean Penn or William Hurt as viable options. Quentin Tarantino reportedly threatened to leave the project altogether if they didn't cast John Travolta. Of course, everything worked out in the end, with Pulp Fiction becoming the first independent film to earn more than $200 million worldwide, from an $8 million budget.
John Travolta still remains one of Scientology's most prominent members, and it seems there was no significant backlash to the actor taking on this role in Pulp Fiction, against the advice of Church of Scientology. The role did wonders for his career, paving the way for his comeback, which was almost derailed, ironically, by the Church of Scientology itself. The actor starred in and produced a big-budget adaptation of Scientology creator L. Ron Hubbard's novel Battlefield Earth, which earned just $29 million worldwide from a $73 million budget, and is still considered one of the biggest box office bombs of all time. The actor is currently in the midst of another comeback of sorts, receiving Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for portraying Robert Shapiro on FX's People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.