Watch: How a Lost Scorsese Film Inspired One of the Most Famous Scenes in 'Pulp Fiction'
Turns out, Martin Scorsese has more than a little to do with the infamous 'Pulp Fiction' overdose. It's a long story.
In 1978, Scorsese shot a documentary called American Boy: A Profile of Steven Prince. Prince, described in the video below as "Scorsese's friend...part time roadie, junkie, and raconteur" was best known for his role as Easy Andy, the gun salesman inTaxi Driver.
As the type of operator who can get you anything, Prince appears in one scene and completely steals it out from under Robert De Niro's nose, which is probably not an easy thing to do, though Prince makes it look effortless. He also worked for Neil Diamond, which isn't too shabby.
Scorsese's documentary American Boy was never released, though it did make the rounds on the pre-internet bootleg circuit. One of these tapes, of course, found its way to a Manhattan Beach, California, video store, where Quentin Tarantino apparently saw it sometime during the 1980s. In the first video above, Prince recounts how, during his drug-fueled escapades, he had at one point amassed a treasure trove of medical equipment, including...an adrenaline shot.
Not coincidentally, this is the same kind of adrenaline shot that John Travolta's character gives to Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction when her character accidentally overdoses. And, as it turns out, Prince once found himself in a situation almost exactly like the one in Pulp Fiction, practically beat for beat. (Fun fact: the moment where Travolta injects the adrenaline was filmed backward, then played forward, and you never see the moment of impact; it's all editing.)
Prince and his life also made it into Richard Linklater's Waking Life. Decades later, Scorsese went back and revisited the documentary, checking in with his old friend and filming new interviews. See the original, below. Check them out, and who knows? Maybe you'll get some inspiration, too, or at least an insight into the kind of creative cross-pollination that turns anecdotes into cinematic gold. If nothing else, you'll hear some good stories, and see a "lost" Martin Scorsese film.