Actor Joe Manganiello on how ‘Pulp Fiction’ changed everything

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Joe Manganiello: “‘Pulp Fiction’ just planted a seed in me that grew a tree this past year. Photo credit: KCRW

When Quentin Tarantino’s groundbreaking film “Pulp Fiction” came out in 1994, actor Joe Manganiello had already set out on a path to become an actor. He watched the film with friends at an old theater in Pittsburgh, a day he says he’ll never forget.   

After roles in television and film including the “Magic Mike” trilogy, Manganiello’s career came full circle with Tarantino’s life-changing movie. Manganiello plays a hitman in the upcoming dark comedy thriller “The Kill Room” alongside Uma Thruman and Samuel L. Jackson, co-stars of “Pulp Fiction,” the film which started everything off. 

More: Actor Joe Manganiello on finding his own surprising roots

More: FADE IN: Quentin Tarantino & Pulp Fiction

This segment has been edited for length and clarity. 

I saw “Pulp Fiction” eight times, and it just changed everything. Just the way that Tarantino wrote the voices of the characters. He wrote like a great theater writer, and the way that he edited the film, the way that he turned those stories on their head, like we had seen those stories before a million times: The boxer who's supposed to throw the fight and doesn't, and there were these kinds of familiar tropes that he just completely turned on its head.

Warning: This video contains explicit language. 

It was one of those films at the right time that made me so excited about film. I remember seeing it at the Beehive Theater in Oakland, Pittsburgh. You could buy alcohol there [or] you could bring your own alcohol in. They had couches in the back. If you got there early, you could get the couches, and you could smoke in the theater. 

So there was a double feature of “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction,” and we got there early, got the couches, brought in a bunch of six packs, a bunch of packs of Camel cigarettes, and we just smoked cigarettes and drank beer and quoted the movie the whole time and just laughed. I'll never forget that. 

Warning: This video contains explicit language. 

I have a weird way of manifesting things, and last year, I had the pleasure of starring on a film with Uma Thurman and Samuel Jackson, which is the first time that they've gotten back together for a film since “Pulp Fiction,” called “The Kill Room.” 

Being in a bunch of three-person scenes, me, Sam and Uma, after having that movie really just explode my mind in the way that it did, and really make me so excited to get into this business and be here, Gosh, into my third decade and get to work with those two. Man! It's pretty cool. “Pulp Fiction” just planted the seed in me that grew a tree this past year. I'm excited for everybody to get to see “The Kill Room” when it comes out.



Rebecca Mooney