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However, two weeks before the script was finished, Madsen passed on the project—opting instead to play the role of Virgil Earp in Wyatt Earp. It took years for Tarantino to forgive Madsen.

Sean Penn and William Hurt were also considered, but Tarantino wanted John Travolta, whose star had faded, for the part. Ultimately, of course, Travolta was cast in the role after Tarantino pushed hard for him.

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The genesis of the genius, Oscar winning screenplay to Pulp Fiction began in Amsterdam. Thus, there are many cultural references to Amsterdam in the screenplay including the hilarious car exchange between Vincent and Jules about Dutch hash laws. Tarantino later denied the rumor. What Tarantino does cop to is that when the project was at TriStar, executives wanted Gary Oldman for the part of Lance based off the strength of his performance as a drug lord in the Tarantino-penned True Romance.

When it went over to Miramax, Tarantino mulled playing Lance himself, but ultimately opted to play Jimmy so that he could film the memorable syringe sequence. Based on the strength of her audition, he built his follow-up film, Jackie Brown , around Grier. He delivered a staunch anti-drug speech to a crowd of 1, students. Respect your talent and power. Stop the commercialization of drug abuse. Stop the glorification of slow suicide. After watching that scene, you could hardly call the use of heroin in Pulp Fiction romanticized or glamorous.

However, he truly had his heart set on Thurman since her audition, and finally convinced her to accept the role after reading her the script over the phone. She was eventually nominated for an Oscar for her performance, which immediately propelled her to the Hollywood A-list. Lance hands him an adrenaline shot and black magic marker, and he must stab her hard enough with it to pierce his chest plate and inject it into her heart.

Only the last two lines, however, reference the Bible. Yes, Samuel L. After a great audition by Paul Calderon, which caused Tarantino to seriously consider him for the role of Jules, Jackson caught wind of it and immediately flew out to L. He was hungry, so he brought along a fast food burger and soda to the studio. I was scared shitless.

I thought that this guy was going to shoot a gun right through my head.

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His eyes were popping out of his head. And he just stole the part. Tarantino still had his heart set on the Afro, but then Jackson stepped in. So I put it on and we shined it up a bit and we were like, OK, this is how he Jules is. I know I went crazy for a minute, because—just for a few seconds—I held a blanket over her face and pressed.

I even thought of giving her away to an orphanage someplace. But I was scared to be one of those mothers who leave their babies on church steps.

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Recently, I heard about a couple in Germany, white as snow, who had a dark-skinned baby nobody could explain. Twins, I believe—one white, one colored. All I know is that, for me, nursing her was like having a pickaninny sucking my teat. I went to bottle-feeding soon as I got home. My husband, Louis, is a porter, and when he got back off the rails he looked at me like I really was crazy and looked at the baby like she was from the planet Jupiter. What the hell is this? That was what did it—what caused the fights between me and him.

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It broke our marriage to pieces. We had three good years together, but when she was born he blamed me and treated Lula Ann like she was a stranger—more than that, an enemy. He never touched her. He was dead sure I was lying. We argued and argued till I told him her blackness had to be from his own family—not mine. That was when it got worse, so bad he just up and left and I had to look for another, cheaper place to live.

I did the best I could. I knew enough not to take her with me when I applied to landlords, so I left her with a teen-age cousin to babysit. That hurt. I could have been the babysitter if our skin colors were reversed. It was hard enough just being a colored woman—even a high-yellow one—trying to rent in a decent part of the city.

Back in the nineties, when Lula Ann was born, the law was against discriminating in who you could rent to, but not many landlords paid attention to it. They made up reasons to keep you out. But I got lucky with Mr. Besides, she has funny-colored eyes, crow black with a blue tint—something witchy about them, too. His fifty-dollar money orders and my night job at the hospital got me and Lula Ann off welfare. Which was a good thing. I wish they would stop calling it welfare and go back to the word they used when my mother was a girl.

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Besides, those welfare clerks are mean as spit. I guess meanness filled out their skimpy paychecks, which was why they treated us like beggars. Especially when they looked at Lula Ann and then back at me—like I was trying to cheat or something. Things got better but I still had to be careful. Very careful in how I raised her. I had to be strict, very strict. Lula Ann needed to learn how to behave, how to keep her head down and not to make trouble.

Her color is a cross she will always carry.

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Oh, yeah, I feel bad sometimes about how I treated Lula Ann when she was little. But you have to understand: I had to protect her. With that skin, there was no point in being tough or sassy, even when you were right. Those boys held their stomachs and bent over with laughter. Long after she got away, they were still giggling, so proud of themselves.

But the lessons I taught her paid off, and in the end she made me proud as a peacock. Had to. All because of skin privileges. But I do. I really do. I think she understands now.

I think so. Last two times I saw her she was, well, striking. Kind of bold and confident. Each time she came to see me, I forgot just how black she really was because she was using it to her advantage in beautiful white clothes. Taught me a lesson I should have known all along. What you do to children matters. And they might never forget. As soon as she could, she left me all alone in that awful apartment. She got as far away from me as she could: dolled herself up and got a big-time job in California.

I prefer this place—Winston House—to those big, expensive nursing homes outside the city. Mine is small, homey, cheaper, with twenty-four-hour nurses and a doctor who comes twice a week. The boredom is worse than the weakness or the pain, but the nurses are lovely. One just kissed me on the cheek when I told her I was going to be a grandmother.