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Quentin Tarantino Addresses One Pulp Fiction's Biggest Unanswered Questions

Often ranked as Quentin Tarantino's best filmPulp Fiction is full of iconic moments that are as dark as they are funny. The Jack Rabbit Slim's dance scene may be the one most recreated in pop culture, but elements like Vincent (John Travolta) accidentally shooting Marvin (Phil LaMarr) in the face and Samuel L. Jackson's bullet-fueled sermon have defined the film's legacy. 

Because of that legacy, many questions about Pulp Fiction have already been picked apart and answered, but there is one exception: The Gimp. The mute and leather-clad bondage servant of pawnshop owner Maynard (Duane Whitaker) is burned into the memories of fans, yet his backstory has remained unknown thanks to the fact that Tarantino doesn't provide details about the character in his script. More than 25 years after the film's release, however, an Empire magazine interview with the award-winning writer and director has revealed how the iconic gag came to be. '"In terms of backstory, he was like a hitchhiker or somebody that they picked up seven years ago, and they trained him, so he's the perfect victim," Tarantino said in answer to a fan question. 

Not only did Tarntino settle the Gimp's origins, but the Pulp Fiction director also touched on what happened to the unsuccessful guard after Butch (Bruce Willis) got the upper hand and knocked him out. According to the writer and director, the Gimp's fate was similar to that of Maynard and his security guard friend, Zed (Peter Greene). "It doesn't quite play this way in the movie, but in my mind when I wrote it, the Gimp's dead," he said. "Butch knocked him out, and then when he passed out, he hung himself." 

Surprisingly, the character isn't the only one who has remained shrouded in mystery. So, too, has the actor who played him. 

The actor behind Pulp Fiction's Gimp says many have failed to recognize him

It may have taken 25 years for Quentin Tarantino to unmask one of the most unsettling and memorable characters in his career-defining, Palme d'Or-winning release, but it took almost as long for people to recognize who played the fleeting, but legendary role. For Pulp Fiction's 20th anniversary in 2014, Vulture sat down with the man behind the bondage mask, Steve Hibbert, and found that his role in bringing the character to life had gone mainly uncredited. When asked whether many people knew he had played the Gimp, Hibbert responded, "No, they don't." 

"I never made a big deal of it," he said. "I wish I had, but I've never figured out a way to monetize it or make it a thing. I've never sent out Christmas cards with the Gimp or anything." 

Despite most audiences outside of the film's hardcore fans having little idea about who was behind the character, Tarantino told Empire that one of his favorite memories is who among the Hollywood circle did recognize Hibbert. "I heard a funny thing from Jon Lovitz, who knew Stephen Hibbert," Tarantino said. "Jon watches Pulp Fiction for the first time and is like, 'What the f*** is this?' And he stays in the theatre as the credit crawl is going on and sees Stephen's name. He said out loud, 'WHAT? I know the Gimp?!'" 

While not everyone may remember Hibbert, it's a role he says he'll never forget. "Whatever else I've done before or will do in show business, I don't think I'll ever have a cooler credit than that," Hibbert told Vulture. "I love the fact that I did that. And I also kind of love the fact that there's nothing I can do about it."