Jackie Strauss and The Hollywood Reporter present Reservoir Dogs at 25: Quentin Tarantino and Cast Reveal Little-Known Facts. Here are three of my favorites…
Making Reservoir Dogs was the happiest time of Tarantino’s life.
Tarantino, who had told THR he plans to retire after his next two films, recalled a personal story about the night Keitel had the cast over for dinner after they had finished two weeks of rehearsals and were about to embark on five weeks of filming. “I was living in Glendale, California, with my mom at the time and [drove to Harvey Weinstein’s house in] Malibu, it’s a long drive but it’s a cool drive,” he explained. “I’m sitting there at Harvey’s and I realized almost all the pressure was off my shoulders, cinematically. These guys were so perfect in their parts. They were so vibe-ing with each other and I thought, ‘My God, if I just keep the movie in focus, I’ve got a movie.'” He continued, “I remember that night getting in my car and just taking that drive all the way from Malibu to Glendale on Sunset Boulevard and that was the happiest time of my life. It was this thing I had thought about for so long, making movies in general, and I thought, ‘This might just work out.'”
All of the stars wanted different roles except for Roth.
When Roth received the script, he was instructed to read the parts of Mr. Blonde and Mr. Pink. But he quickly knew he wanted Mr. Orange. “This thing arrives, this ******* script, Reservoir Dogs — which I thought was a spelling mistake,” he recalls. “About 20 pages in I thought, ‘I’ve got to do this.’ I plowed on through and then the liar emerged, the ‘bad guy’ — the good guy.” (Madsen couldn’t help but interrupt to correct him: “The rat,” he scowled to laughs.) Keitel says he initially wanted the role of Mr. Blonde, but realized he couldn’t play it right. “Michael and Chris Penn did one of my favorite scenes in the movie together,” he recalled. As for Madsen, he wanted the role of Mr. Pink and even auditioned for it. “I did all the big scenes and Quentin just stood there watching me,” he said. “At the end I was all done and thought I did a really great job and Quentin looks at me and says, ‘You’re not Mr. Pink. You’re Mr. Blonde or you’re not in the movie.'”
Madsen says Mr. Blonde typecast him as the bad guy.
“I’ve done over 100 pictures and usually the only one that anyone wants to talk about is Reservoir Dogs and/or Kill Bill,” Madsen told THR. While he’s grateful to be a part of cinematic history, he says he thought his roles in Thelma & Louise and Free Willy would have helped to elevate him to leading-man status. “Unfortunately, it typecasted me as a bad guy,” he said. “I would prefer to be a leading man. I’m a leading man in a bad guy’s body, basically. And everybody thinks of me as the guy with the gun.” Still, he said he’s a long way from finished. “Dogs gave me a career. I wouldn’t imagine I would have been able to do that when I started as an actor, and there’s a lot coming that I’m waiting for.”