FLOYD And LANCE in A TRUE FICTION PULP ROMANCE
Two Tarantino characters cut from the same hemp cloth. A dealer and a sloth. The hippy pair with the same goatee and Prince Valiant hair. Groovy dudes who know people on ‘ludes should not drive.
Pardon my paraphrasing the Bongfather of the big screen. It seems apropos considering the celluloid shadow of Jeff Spicoli has long loomed over every stoner role to follow in his baked wake. That includes the high on life types like the time traveling Wyld Stallyns and the two dudes looking for their car. Dope smokers always make good jokers. Explains why they only get by getting high in comedies.
Leave it to Tarantino to flip the script and put the stoner in a different genre. He kept clever enough to know to keep the comedic purpose of the role. No movie goer wants to watch a dour stoner on screen. Ask anyone who watched INHERENT VICE. If you can find them.
Just what kind of turn of events could bring Tarantino’s tokers together for your viewing pleasure? Nothing like a dark past resurfacing in calm waters to cause some serious swells of all kinds of havoc and hells. What better way to set the pace for this rollicking dark comedy/action-adventure road trip?
into the floyd
After the TRUE ROMANCE script fell into Pitt’s mitts, Brad gave a ring ding to Tony Scott and expressed his interest in the role of Floyd. The bong ripping roommate of fledgling actor Dick Ritchie certainly fit the “grunge Pitt” image Brad was using to stave off the inevitable Kowalski-like acceptance of his movie star handsomeness.
This was the early nineties, Oliver Stone’s THE DOORS had hit theaters. What followed was a wave of fame shame. Eddie Vedder and Kurt Cobain were singing the same complain River Phoenix and Johnny Depp maintained about rejecting acclaim for winning in the game of Celebrity. It was the Kool-Aide of the time for male movie stars who were successful AND handsome. Those who over imbibed wound up with a career hangover. Ask Jason Patric. If you can find him.
Pitt was listening to his inner Mojo Risen by refusing to trade on his looks by choosing gritty-boy over pretty boy roles. He’d just wrapped on KALIFORNIA playing a white trash psychopath very convincingly. To further distance himself from what Hollywood wanted, Romance‘s Floyd was the perfect fit for Pitt. So it was bongs away to play the mellow fellow Floyd.
Maybe too mellow. Is Floyd capable to meet the needs and deeds required to go from supporting character to lead? If so, can he do it while still smoking weed? Can the couch slouch be motivated to fight for his right to party? Lets’s not put the cart before the horse, of course. Considering when he was seen on screen, the audience should get reacquainted with Floyd first.
To set this crossover movie’s screw-loose tone, we need to give the audience a view into what Floyd’s been doing the last 30 + years. The perfect solution? Have the opening credits done as a time lapse sequence. This trick would work for the flick twofold. First, it gives the VFX team an easy way to digitally age Pitt as Floyd though the years.
Secondly, it serves as a ridiculously goofy and absurd sight gag. Picture Pitt as Floyd on the same couch in the same apartment as three decades of roommates come and go. Set to the tune ‘Happy Together’ by The Turtles and we’re talking a unique title sequence that’ll crack the audience up and have ’em wondering what’s next.
EVERYBODY LANCE NOw
Naturally, audiences will want to know what’s become of the most easy-going smack slinger in the Tarantino Universe. The chance to catch up with Lance is bound to have some gnarly circumstance. Then again, who knows? Is Lance still in the business feeding all the junkies in the zoo? To paraphrase Marsellus Wallace: “Drug dealers don’t have an old timers day.”
Eric Stoltz steadily remained flying under the radar throughout the 90’s. The dude kept it at such a cruising altitude, he’s underrated for his ability at versatility. His relaxed physicality on screen makes everything he does so natural it would appear to some that Stoltz wasn’t doing any acting at all, which of course, is the best kind of acting. A shot of Stoltz always improves a movie.
When it comes to this stoner role, Stoltz looks as comfortable as the terrycloth robe Lance seems to wear 24/7. No surprise considering his first movie role was in FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH playing one of stoned surfer buds to the earlier aforementioned big screen Bongfather, Jeff Spicoli. So there’s not going to be any “Just Say No” messages here. No point in putting Stoltz back in front of the camera to play Lance as if he’s sober. Call it the ARTHUR 2: ON THE ROCKS syndrome.
While it must of been a bummer for Stoltz to lose the role of Marty McFly, he co-starred in Quentin Tarantino’s masterpiece as a drug dealer who likes to party and get high.
the bong guys
How do we bring these two silver screen stoners for a hybrid of hijinks and action? Where are exactly are Floyd and Lance in their lives? Since the opening sequence gives the audience a loose view of what Floyd’s been up to, let’s get the set-up on Lance.
Try this backstory on for size: when Lance later learned his best friend (and customer) Vincent Vega caught a case of lead poisoning and was left for dead in a blood bath, the dope dealer saw red. In Pulp Fiction, Lance does know who Marsellus Wallace is. Rather than morn Vincent’s death, Lance turns to the mobster to avenge it.
How? Lance trades his need for weed for a vow to make Vincent’s killer bleed. By this point, Marcellus would know Butch was responsible for the MAC attack on the smack shooting hitman. The same Butch he gave a Get Out Of Town pass for rescuing him from the hillbilly raping his… personal space.
However, losing Vince at the hands of Butch has stuck in the mobster’s craw. Marsellus strikes a deal with Lance. Without telling the revenge driven dealer who killed Vince, Marsellus mentions the murderer left behind a clue for the big man to pursuit across continents if he has to. Of course, if he had someone with the same blood lust that he could trust…
Faster than you can say LA FEMME NIKITA, Lance jumps at the chance to take up the late Vega’s profession. He’s spent the last three decades honing his hit man skills at kills. Throughout this tale, Lance could regale with an occasional flashback story. They can be both hilarious and gory. And talk about a prime opportunity for a killer cameo ( pun very intended) from Pulp Fiction favorite Samuel L. Jackson as Jules Winnfield, mentor to Lance. Can you say “bad ass”? I think you can.
All that’s left is to bring Lance and Floyd together to get the crossover party started. Basically, in order for that to happen, the inert character needs to get into motion. On the run. Not for fitness or for fun. From a threat against his person. To get Floyd fleeing for his high life.
The question: who would want to hurt Floyd?
you don’t know dick
The answer: this Dick.
At the end of True Romance, Clarence’s best bud and aspiring actor Dick Ritchie is last seen hightailing down the hallway from the bloody ballet going off in the suite of freshly bullet-ridden Lee Donowitz. He’s able to bail by sending the suitcase full of coke sailing into a hail of lead. Under the cover of the cokescreen, Dick ducks out.
Who’s to say his escape from the gunfire fray wasn’t a case of frying pan-to-fire? What if the gangly goofy doofus literally ran into some cops in the lobby. One of the bright-eyed boys in blue spots white residue all over Dick’s clothes. Naturally, Dick sings like a canary. With a dozen dead bodies – including cops – Dick Ritchie becomes the fall guy
Faster than you can say CAPE FEAR, it’s thirty years later. a yoked-up Ritchie is released from prison (no doubt actor Michael Rapaport will relish the chance to go full DeNiro). With all that time to think, Ritchie realized Floyd had to be the rat that tattled as to where Clarence, Alabama, and he would be. Therefore, in his mind it’s Floyd’s fault for dicking Ritchie’s acting career by keeping him from the guest spot on T.J. HOOKER.
Imagine if Dick Ritchie’s acting idol was William Shatner. Getting to act opposite Shatner would’ve fulfilled a childhood dream. Robbed of a chance to bond with Hooker himself could keep Ritchie’s blood on a permanent boil.
While in the clink, left to think Floyd ruined his life, Ritchie bonds with other inmates sharing a fondness for all things Shatner. Perhaps they even started a cell block acting troupe. Performed monologues exclusively from the works of Shatner’s televised performances T.J. HOOKER, STAR TREK, and RESCUE 911.
When Dick spills the beans on the means by which he wound up behind bars, the other Shat-heads vow when they get out, they’ll be waiting for Ritchie’s release. Ready to be round up in an 80’s movie montage. Backed by half a dozen of his fellow felons, Dick Ritchie will stop at nothing to destroy Floyd.
viva la vega
This leads to the final puzzle piece: what’s the relationship between Floyd and Lance?
Neither character’s last name is revealed in the movies or scripts. While that leaves plenty of choices, there’s really only one to make. The one that put a lot more at stake. Floyd and Lance as brothers estranged for thirty years (a nod to Bill and Budd’s strained bond in KILL BILL: Vol 2) brought together by outrageous circumstances they’ll need to work together to defeat.
Think about it: with this supporting character crossover making Floyd and Lance both brothers… it could open the door more for Tarantino to explore the idea he had in mind behind THE VEGA BROTHERS. It always sounded like something the writer/director held in fondness, yet with regret because he wouldn’t get to make it.
Makes one wonder to believe whoever was the first to achieve getting this under the eyes of Tarantino? Why I’d wager to say it would make them a hero.