"A lot of really wild people came in and read for the parts. Tom Waits came in and read. I had Tom Waits read the Madonna speech, just so I could hear Tom Waits say [character Mr. Brown's analysis of Madonna's 'Like a Virgin' song.] Other than Harvey, he gave me one of the first, profound compliments on the script," Tarantino recalled at a recent Tribeca Film Festival panel discussion marking the 25th anniversary of the movie. "He said: 'The script's great. It's poetry.' No one had ever called my work poetic before. By a poet no less. That was pretty good."
Waits ultimately did not appear in the movie and Tarantino cast himself as Mr. Brown. The ensemble also included Harvey Keitel, Michael Madsen, Tim Roth and Steve Buscemi, as well as the late Lawrence Tierney and Chris Penn.