The Making of Pulp Fiction: Quentin Tarantino’s and the Cast’s Retelling | Vanity Fair
In late 1992, Quentin Tarantino left Amsterdam, where he had spent three months, off and on, in a one-room apartment with no phone or fax, writing the script that would become Pulp Fiction, about a community of criminals on the fringe of Los Angeles. Written in a dozen school notebooks, which the 30-year-old Tarantino took on the plane to Los Angeles, the screenplay was a mess—hundreds of pages of indecipherable handwriting. “It was about going over it one last time and then giving it to the typist, Linda Chen, who was a really good friend of mine,” Tarantino tells me. “She really helped me.”
When Tarantino met Chen, she was working as a typist and unofficial script consultant for Robert Towne, the venerable screenwriter of, most notably, Chinatown. “Quentin was fascinated by the way I worked with Towne and his team,” she says, explaining that she “basically lived” at Towne’s condominium, typing, researching, and offering feedback in the preparation of his movie The Two Jakes. “He would ask the guys for advice, and if they were vague or disparate, he would say, ‘What did the Chink think?’ ” she recalls. “Quentin found this dynamic of genius writer and secret weapon amusing.
“It began with calls where he was just reading pages to me,” she continues. Then came more urgent calls, asking her to join him for midnight dinners. Chen always had to pick him up, since he couldn’t drive as a result of unpaid parking tickets. She knew Tarantino was a “mad genius.” He has said that his first drafts look like “the diaries of a madman,” but Chen says they’re even worse. “His handwriting is atrocious. He’s a functional illiterate. I was averaging about 9,000 grammatical errors per page. After I would correct them, he would try to put back the errors, because he liked them.”
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