Did you know that the third movie by Quentin Tarantino is the only one he adapted from another work?
In this post, you’ll discover our top 12 list of fun facts about Jackie Brown, one of the famous director’s lesser-known gems.
1. It’s the movie adaption of a novel by Elmore Leonard
After filming Pulp Fiction, in our opinion Tarantino’s best movie ever, Quentin acquired the film rights of 3 of Elmore Leonard’s novels. These were Rum Punch, Freaky Deaky, and Killshot.
His original idea was to offer the rights of Rum Punch (1992) to some other director. That was until he started reading the book again and fell in love with the story.
He made some changes while creating the screenplay such as turning the main character from white to black, renaming her from Burke to Brown, and changed the setting from Miami to Los Angeles.
Perhaps one of the most interesting facts about Jackie Brown is that it’s the only movie that Tarantino derived from a previously created work!
2. Leonard instantly became a fan of the screenplay and movie
Tarantino wasn’t too sure whether or not Elmore Leonard (1925-2013) would like the movie adaption of his novel, so he didn’t talk to him about it until just before the shooting started.
Luckily, he enjoyed the screenplay so much that he thought it was one of the best of the 26 screen adaptions of his novels, and perhaps even the best screenplay he had ever read.
Quentin didn’t have to worry one bit!
3. It revived the careers of two veteran actors
The movie features subtle and elaborate characters who struggle to deal with a complex situation. The two main characters in the story, Jackie Brown and Max Cherry, really make this movie.
That’s why we believe that Tarantino did an excellent casting job by engaging Pam Grier and Robert Foster, both of them who didn’t play the lead character in a movie for numerous years and whose careers were revived.
Well, we don’t have to tell you about the genius of Quentin Tarantino now, do we? This is just another example of it!
4. It pays homage to a particular type of movie
Jackie Brown pays homage to a subgenre of exploitation films that emerged in the 1970s called “blaxploitation” films. These films were one of the first types of movies that portrayed black people as heroes instead of villains or sidekicks.
It did have its share of controversy though as many of these movies reduced the main characters to a stereotypical caricature.
One of the most fascinating facts about Jackie Brown is that one of the first blaxploitation movies was “Shaft” (1971). Samuel L. Jackson, who plays the villain in Jackie Brown named Ordell Robbie, portrayed the nephew of Shaft in a sequel released in 2000.
5. Pam Grier was the star in two such movies in the 1970s
So why did Quentin Tarantino change the name of the lead character in the novel from Burke to Brown in his screenplay?
That’s because Pam Grier used to star in 2 famous blaxploitation movies in the 1970s named “Coffy” (1973) and “Foxy Brown” (1974). He changed her name as an homage to her role as Foxy Brown.
6. She got the role because she auditioned for Pulp Fiction earlier
Do you remember the epic scene in Pulp Fiction in which Mia Wallace had to be saved from an overdose by Vincent Vega at the house of his drug dealer?
Pam Grier actually auditioned for the role of Jody, the wife of the drug dealer who plays a crucial role in this scene.
She didn’t get the part as it eventually went to Rosanna Arquette, but Tarantino didn’t forget about her performance and wrote the part of Jackie Brown with her in mind.
This simply means that she didn’t have to put in too much effort during her audition as Quentin even had posters of Foxy Brown hanging on the walls of his office!
7. The same applied to Robert Foster
The same scenario applied for Robert Foster, who had auditioned for the part of the crime boss in Reservoir Dogs which he didn’t get and which eventually went to Lawrence Tierney.
Quentin didn’t forget his performance and wrote the part of Max Cherry especially for him!
When both of them met in a restaurant, Tarantino gave the script to Foster and said: “You’re going to do this, and that’s all there is to it!”
You can’t really refuse an offer like this, right?
What makes it even more fascinating is that Robert De Niro wanted to play the role of Max Cherry as well after he was given the script. He had to settle with the role of criminal Louis instead.
8. Quentin Tarantino described it as a “hangout movie”
The movie reminded Quentin of a movie named Rio Bravo (1959), which he described as a hangout movie. It gets better the second time you watch it, even better the third time, and so on.
And he knows what he’s talking about! Just after the movie was released, he followed it in every theater and watched it together with the audience, just to get their reaction during key moments.
Because of this, h claims that he “saw Jackie Brown 13 times at the Magic Johnson Theater alone!”
He’s really a fascinating character, don’t you think?
9. Jackie Brown’s car was the car of Butch in Pulp Fiction
Who would have thought that the 1980 Honda Civic that was crashed by Butch as he attempted to flee from Marcellus Wallace would still be alive after it?
And better yet, it managed to get another role in Jackie Brown 3 years later as it’s that car that the main character is driving in one of the scenes!
10. Ray Nicolette appears in another Leonard novel and subsequent movie
One of the cops on the case in Jackie Brown was played by Michael Keaton, who reluctantly accepted the role of Ray Nicolette. What he probably didn’t know is that Nicolette is a recurring character in Leonard’s novels.
When Universal Pictures started shooting the movie “Out of Sight” (1998), which was directed by Steven Soderbergh, they were basically forced to hire Keaton for the part because Nicolette has a minor role in this movie as well.
One of the coolest facts about Jackie Brown is that even though Miramax held the rights to the character of Nicolette, Tarantino forced the company not to accept any compensation for using it.
Pretty astonishing, don’t you think?
11. The movie received one Oscar and 2 Golden Globe Nominations but won none
There’s just one thing that made Quentin Tarantino really angry about Jacky Brown, and that’s the fact that Pam Grier didn’t receive an Oscar nomination for her part. We can surely understand his frustration about this, as she did an amazing job!
On the other hand, he probably didn’t expect Robert Foster to get an Oscar Nomination when he handed over the script to the actor whose career was in a major dip. That did happen though, even though he didn’t win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
At the Golden Globe Awards, both Pam Grier and Samuel L. Jackson received a nomination for Best Actress and Best Actor respectively, which they didn’t end up winning as well.
12. The movie was definitely a box office success!
Despite not being an Academy Award success, the movie was definitely a success at the box office.
With a budget of just USD 12 million, Jackie Brown managed to pull in USD 39.7 million in North American and USD 35.1 million in the rest of the world, totaling USD 74.7 million.
This means that Jackie Brown made a profit of $62.7 million, which isn’t too shabby!