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Could Tom Waits Have Been in ‘Reservoir Dogs’?

Michael Loccisano / Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images
Michael Loccisano / Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images

Quentin Tarantino‘s monologue about an alternate interpretation of Madonna‘s “Like a Virgin” gets his 1992 film Reservoir Dogs off to a rollicking start. But as he revealed this weekend, it’s possible that the role of Mr. Brown could have been played by Tom Waits.

As Variety reports, Tarantino participated in a 25th anniversay screening of the groundbreaking movie at the Tribeca Film Festival, along with cast members Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen and Steve Buscemi. Tarentino discussed the process of selecting the right cast.

“We had the casting director from LA Law,” he said. “A lot of really wild people came in and read the parts. Tom Waits came in and read. I had Tom Waits read the Madonna speech, just so I could hear Tom Waits say those lines. And actually, other than [executive producer] Harvey [Weinstein], he gave me one of the first profound compliments on the script. No one had ever told me my work was poetic before.”

Reservoir Dogs arrived as Waits was getting a handful of movie roles, ranging from uncredited cameos in The Two Jakes and The Fisher King to key supporting parts in Queens Logic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Short Cuts.

Madsen also said that the film’s most famous scene, where he tortured a policeman and cut off his ear as Stealer’s Wheel’s hit “Stuck in the Middle With You” played on a radio, was made up on the spur of the moment. ““You never made me do it in rehearsal, because I was so intimidated by it,” Madsen reminded Tarantino at the panel. “I didn’t know what to do. In the script, it said, ‘Mr. Blonde maniacally dances around.’ And I kept thinking, ‘What the f— does that mean? Like [Mick] Jagger, or what? What the f— am I gonna do?’”

On the day of the shoot, he recalled a “crazy little dance” Jimmy Cagney did in a movie whose name Madsen couldn’t recall. Tarantino added that, when the film was screened at festivals, he counted how many people walked out during that scene, with 33 being the highest total.

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