Quentin Tarantino Wanted Angela Bassett To Star In His Most Underrated Film

Quentin Tarantino says if he had an unlimited budget, he would have cast Angela Bassett in Jackie Brown.

By Mark McKee | Published

Quentin Tarantino is one of the most talented and sought-after moviemakers in the business; with his experience and brilliant outlook on the art form of film, when he speaks, we listen. Of course, he is best known for the Brad Pitt-led Inglorious Bastards, the Leonardo DiCaprio/Jamie Foxx western Django Unchained, and no one could forget the Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and Bruce Willis film Pulp Fiction. Two of his less well-known films are 2007’s Death Proof and 1997’s Jackie Brown. In an interview on Bill Maher’s podcast, Quentin Tarantino revealed he would have cast Angela Bassett in Jackie Brown if he would have had an unlimited budget. 

According to Tarantino, he was asked who he would have cast in the lead roles if he could go back to 1997 with an unlimited budget and remake the movie; after some loyalty and reverence to the original stars Pam Grier and Robert Forster, he selected Angella Bassett and Robert De Niro. While the more prominent names could have made the film a much bigger blockbuster and maybe even lifted it to the top of the list of movies in the filmmaker’s resume, Grier and Forster delivered lifetime performances and even revitalized their careers for decades.

Pam Grier in Jackie Brown

Quentin Tarantino may have wanted more prominent names for Jackie Brown, but the film earned an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for Robert Forster and Golden Globes for both Samuel L. Jackson and Pam Grier. 

In 1997, Angela Bassett was coming off the best performance of her career with Waiting to Exhale, and instead of starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, she found herself in a supporting role in the science fiction film with Matthew McConaughey and Jodie Foster, Contact. Robert De Niro actually showed up in the movie in a more minor role, but the smaller commitment allowed him to also star in Cop Land and Wag the Dog that same year. Neither of the stars, Pam Grier and Robert Forster, had been cast in leading roles in a very long time, making Jackie Brown the revitalization they both needed. 

Following his success and Oscar for his performance, Forster landed roles in Mulholland Dr.Charlie’s Angel’s: Full Throttle, and Lucky Number Slevin, along with a slew of supporting roles, active all the way up till his death in 2019. Pam Grier was finally able to pick up more substantial parts in In Too DeepGhosts of Mars, and a significant starring role in Showtime’s The L Word

Quentin Tarantino isn’t one to feel a lot of regret in the films he has brought to life on the screen, and he seemed to stay true to that sentiment when discussing Jackie Brown. Sure, he would have cast much more prominent names in the lead roles, but as he said in his interview with Bill Maher, he believes they ended up with the right product. After watching all of his movies on repeat for the last three decades, we would have to agree with him.