The importance of Reservoir Dogs in Hollywood history cannot be overstated. As Quentin Tarantino's first movie, it set a precedent for dark noir and black comedy that few filmmakers have managed to surpass since 1992. From top to bottom, nearly all of the performances in the movie have become utterly iconic, but it turns out that Tim Roth almost didn't even sign on to portray Mr. Orange at all. In fact, it took some convincing (and more than a few drinks) to get him to work on it.
As is typically the case in Hollywood, Tim Roth sat down with Quentin Tarantino and Mr. White actor/co-producer Harvey Keitel during Reservoir Dogs' development. Per his comments to EW, Roth reportedly liked the script for the film, but he refused to audition for Mr. Orange because of his "crap" skill at the process. Eventually Keitel left, and Tarantino took Roth to a bar for some drinks. From there, the alcohol started flowing (continuing all the way to Roth's place with some beer purchased at a convenience store), and Tarantino got Roth to dive even deeper into the script. The actor explained:
And proceeded to read the entire script... every part in it about 10 times because we were hammered by then. And that's how I got the job.
If Tim Roth was bad at auditioning, it kind of makes you wonder what his process of preparation looked like. I'm willing to bet that it's not too far off from Mr. Orange preparing his bathroom story in the actual film.
As a result of this boozy meeting, we ended up with one of the best performances in the entire movie. Mr. Orange is a character with a very specific (but also very spoilery) connection to the overall plot, and the actor behind him is vital to the Reservoir Dogs story. Tim Roth's performance as the character has become iconic in the twenty-five years since the film hit theaters. Even though the actual process of shooting the film sounds like absolute hell (he got stuck to the floor more than once because of how the fake blood reacted to heat), the end product was a film that catapulted Tarantino to the stratosphere of modern filmmaking.
All's well that ends well, as the relationship between Tim Roth and Quentin Tarantino would go on to become an incredibly exciting partnership. Roth would go on to play the role of Ringo in Tarantino's next film, Pulp Fiction, as well as the role of Oswaldo Mobray in 2015's The Hateful Eight. With Tarantino about to dive headfirst into the Sharon Tate murders for his next project, let's keep our fingers crossed that he'll be able to get Roth drunk enough to sign on for yet another role.