Since Pulp Fiction’s release in 1994, fans have been asking the same question: who is the gimp? Now, Quentin Tarantino has finally provided an answer.
In one of the film’s craziest scenes, Butch (Bruce Willis) and Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) are held prisoner in the basement of pawnshop owner Maynard (Duane Whitaker). While Butch and Marsellus are tied up and gagged, Maynard asks his security guard to “bring out the gimp”. Emerging from a locked cage, the gimp is dressed head-to-toe in a leather bondage suit, and is mute during the whole scene (save for some muffled screams).
There’s no information provided about the gimp, leading to fans questioning who he is, why he’s in a cage, and how long he’s been there. In an interview with Empire, Tarantino has offered a brief backstory. “He was like a hitchhiker,” he explains, “or somebody that they picked up seven years ago, and they trained him so he’s the perfect victim.”
And what happened to the gimp after Butch’s punch? “It doesn’t quite play this way in the movie,” offers Tarantino, “but in my mind when I wrote it, the gimp’s dead. Butch knocked him out and then when he passed out he hung himself.”
The gimp was played by Steve Hibbert, who – until now – was also clueless to his character’s backstory. In a 2014 interview with Vulture, Hibbert explained that he deduced he wasn’t Maynard’s first victim, judging by the cage he lived in. Discussing what it was like to film the scene, the actor said: “Tarantino gave me very little direction, actually. I’d look over at him and he’d shrug, he’d give me a thumbs up, and that was it.”