Every wondered where Tarantino got the overdose/adrenaline shot story in Pulp Fiction?

Read the comments on Reddit.

American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince is a 1978 documentary directed by Martin Scorsese. Its subject is Scorsese’s friend Steven Prince, best known for his small role as Easy Andy, the gun salesman in Taxi Driver. Prince is a raconteur telling stories about his life as an ex-drug addict and a road manager for Neil Diamond. Scorsese intersperses home movies of Prince as a child as he talks about his family. When talking of his years as a heroin addict, Prince tells a story about injecting adrenaline into the heart of a woman who overdosed, with the help of a medical dictionary and a Magic Marker. This story was re-enacted by Quentin Tarantino in his screenplay for Pulp Fiction. Prince also tells a story about his days working at a gas station, and having to shoot a man he caught stealing tires, after the man pulled out a knife and tried to attack him. This story was retold in the Richard Linklater film Waking Life.

Here is the script for Pulp Fiction, written by Quentin Tarantino & Roger Avary. (NOTE: For educational purposes only)

We just took all the best scenes we had ever written, and we packed them up, and we went to Amsterdam. Quentin rented this apartment, and we laid them out on the floor and basically just started moving them around… Our one requirement was that every scene should be able to stand on its own and be able to be performed in an acting class. A couple of actors should be able to do it together and it should be contained that way. No establishing shots… No wasted space, no traveling here and there, just no fat. It had to be the best material we had written to that point. We laid it out and we started changing names and piecing it together… It underwent a number of passes and pretty soon it was what you see. When we finished that script it was taken to… TriStar and a producer named Mike Medavoy. We turned it in and they said ‘this is the worst screenplay that this film company has ever been handed. This is awful. It’s not funny. It makes no sense. This guy’s dead, he’s alive. What’s going on?’ They put it into immediate turnaround…

You have to remember, Reservoir Dogs, in the United States, made less money than Leprechaun. I didn’t have huge expectations for this. I wasn’t thinking we were going to change film history with this movie. I just thought we put our hearts and souls into this thing, and it is what it is… Thank god for Harvey and Bob Weinstein who immediately picked it up out of turnaround and gave Quentin the power to make the script as it was. Not a single thing was really changed. Some things were removed, there were a couple of scenes that were taken out in editing, but truth be told, Quentin was given complete and total command to make that movie exactly as he sees it in his head. That’s a gift to be given that. I’m really grateful to Harvey and Bob for that.

Since then, I’ve bumped into those executives who were in that room (at TriStar) and each one tells me ‘I was the one fighting for you. I was the one guy in the room fighting for you, fighting for that brilliant script.’ The only guy who was really honest about it was Mike Medavoy who was running TriStar at the time. I met with him later on and he actually said, ‘I made a mistake. I got to tell you, it was a weird time in my life, I didn’t really understand it. It just read very violent… And I was wrong.’ And that’s rare. I so deeply respect Mike Medavoy… It’s a real testament to him that someone in Hollywood would say ‘I was wrong’ because that never happens. —Roger Avary, Tarantino’s co-writer on Reservoir Dogs and Pulp Fiction

More: Pulp Fiction

American Boy: A Profile of: Steven Prince (Martin Scorsese, 1978)


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E. Thompson

I make movies. Sometimes people see them. I have been a martial artist for a very long time. I'm in a personal war with the Oxford comma.

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