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How Pulp Fiction Lied To You About Samuel Jackson's Character

In the nearly 30 years since its release, Pulp Fiction is still considered one of the greatest films of all time. The Oscar winning movie relaunched John Travolta's acting career, and turned Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, and director Quentin Tarantino into household names. Since the movie's release, fans still regularly quote the film's myriad famous lines, and keep afloat the various theories that are still debated.

Jackson's character, Jules Winnfield, remains one of the coolest and most intimidating characters in cinema, but there's one attribute of his that is never brought up onscreen: his hair.

If you didn't know it already, Jackson has rocked the bald look for years. In the films he made previous to Pulp Fiction, like Jurassic Park and Goodfellas, viewers can clearly see his receding hairline. But as Jules? He' sporting a full-on wig. Which makes it all the weirder that, as actor and comedian Seth Rogen admitted to being "irked" by on TwitterPulp Fiction's promo pictures chose to display Jackson's real hair, instead of the Jheri curl wig from the actual film. 

Jackson has sported some awesome wigs in his films

Jackson, who is noticeably bald in real life, has made a nice living wearing countless kinds of coiffures throughout his acting career, including a braided ponytail in Jackie Brown, cornrows in Formula 51, and a silver Beatles-esque moptop look in The Great White Hype.

According to Deadline, Jackson even has his own hair stylist and wig consultant named Robert L. Stevenson. Stevenson said when the actor was losing his hair he asked if he "just shaved it all off could we still create looks with wigs?" And Stevenson told him, "'Sam, we can basically do anything with wigs.' That's when we started getting into it." Outside of his films, though, Jackson has embraced the bald look, along with the kangol hat, and told Esquire: "Going bald is something you can't avoid so why be afraid of it? I just rolled with it." 

Why the Jheri curl in Pulp Fiction?

So why does Jackson sport such an interesting hairstyle in the film? Couldn't he have gone with his real-life receding hairline look, as demonstrated in the movie's promo pictures, like the one Rogen shared (above)? When the actor appeared on The Late Show in 2016, he explained to host Stephen Colbert that the Jheri curl was a happy accident (via Yahoo). 

"Well, Quentin [Tarantino] is this huge fan of blaxploitation films," Jackson said. "So in his mind, Jules had this big Afro. And, unfortunately for him, he sent this young, white PA over to South Central to buy an Afro wig. And she bought a Jheri curl wig thinking it was an Afro wig." Jackson went on to say that when the PA brought the wig back Tarantino "went off" on her, but the actor was thrilled. He thought it was perfect because "NWA is starting to hit, you know, they were large, and all those guys had Jheri curls."

Though the movie never mentions Jules' distinct hairstyle, it's become a staple of the character. Looking back, almost three decades later, it just makes the character — and Jackson's portrayal — even better.