Posted on Friday, February 21st, 2014 by Germain Lussier
Wendell Pierce as Marsellus (as well as Boxing Announcer #2)
From his very first line, it was as if Pierce was born to play this role. He wasn’t better than Ving Rhames, but The Wire star used his deep voice to full effect in bringing the mysterious crime boss to life. And when it was time to get “medieval” on Zed’s ass, the crowd cheered in delight. Another script nugget: Marsellus actually calls the Wolf at the end of that scene too, which was later cut.
Rebecca Romijn as Fabienne (as well as Esmarelda and Jody)
I’ve got to say, the biggest surprise of the night had to be Romijn, who gave Esmerelda a perfect Spanish accent, and used a great French accent as Fabienne. Both were seductive and sexy, but also as funny and cute as they needed to be. If anything, she was almost too perfect and overshadowed Jonah Hill, with whom she interacted in both her roles.
Michael Chiklis as The Wolf (as well as Captain Koons, Brett)
Jordan Peele might have had big shoes to fill, but Chiklis had that times two. Now only did he have to play Harvey Keitel’s role, The Wolf, but Christopher Walken’s Captain Koons, too. In that role, Chiklis did he best to deliver the beefy monologue, but struggled with the cadence a bit. He won the crowd over, though, when he did a Walken imitation for the famous final lines, and actually removed his watch. The Wolf was another story, though. Chiklis didn’t quite imitate Keitel, but certainly used him as an inspiration to hone in on a delivery and sense of confidence. It was impressive. Also impressive was him playing Frank Whaley’s role, Brett. Chiklis tensed his whole body and pitched his voice up to a squeal, giving a hilarious performance.
Nick Kroll as Marvin (as Zed, English Bob, Ed Sullivan)
Compared to everyone else, Nick Kroll didn’t have as much to do, but he made the most of his limited stage time. For example, when Zed gets shot by Marsellus, Kroll responded with a super feminine ”Owwww” which got a huge laugh from the crowd. (Incidentally, the rape scene was originally imagined to play against a song by The Judds.)
Throughout the evening, Goldberg would literally stand back and put his hand behind his head to marvel what he’d overseen: an awesome reinterpretation of a film we all know and love so much. Listening to the script without the visuals, Tarantino’s disregard for the “rules,” in putting so much seemingly superfluous dialogue on the page, is almost insane. It’s incredible this movie exists the way it does. And it always will exist in that way; this was just an awesome, one night-only homage to one of the best and most influential movies ever made. In the end, while these actors got a standing ovation, everyone was really clapping for Quentin Tarantino, Roger Avery, the original cast, and the work of everyone who made Pulp Fiction.
Thanks to Film Independent at LACMA for a wonderful evening. The next live read, with the return of Jason Reitman, is March 20.