A Brief History of Lawrence Bender, The Prolific Producer Behind Pulp Fiction

The 1994 film, Pulp Fiction, is wildly considered a cinematic masterpiece. Few would argue against its acclaim, and along with the similar success of the film Reservoir Dogs, it helped propel director and writer Quentin Tarantino into filmmaking fame. Since its release, it has earned several awards and has been nominated for countless more. In particular, the film’s screenplay has won both an Oscar and Golden Globe thanks to its philosophical dialogue and use of scenes out of chronological order.

Tarantino was able to create the film with help from his long-time filmmaking partner Lawrence Bender. The duo got their start working on Reservoir Dogs in 1992, and last worked together on Inglourious Basterds in 2009. Lawrence Bender got his start as a producer in 1989 on the film Intruder, where he worked with two other filmmaking legends, Sam Raimi and Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead fame. Born in 1957 in the Bronx, New York, Lawrence originally wanted to be a civil engineer. He attended the University of Maine in the late seventies, where obtained his bachelor’s degree in the field. He got into the film industry as a grip in the eighties, on the television series Tales from The Darkside.

Aside from his work with Tarantino, Lawrence has also produced numerous other films such as the Academy Award winning Good Will Hunting, several television shows, and even a few documentaries. Lawrence Bender is also an avid political and environmental activist, and his famous documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, won an Oscar for Best Documentary. He is a founding member of Global Zero, a group advocating for worldwide nuclear disarmament. His documentary Countdown to Zero focuses on various factors threatening the world due to nuclear weapons, and it has been screened across the world at places such as the United Nations and even the CIA headquarters.

Pulp Fiction, an early work for both Lawrence Bender and Quentin Tarantino, was admitted to the Library of Congress in 2013. Filmed on a budget of eight million, it has since gone on to gross a worldwide total of over 200 million dollars.

 

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Lawrence Bender’s Four Rooms Still a Hit Over 20 Years Later

The 1995 comedy, mystery, suspense and adventure film Four Rooms, has as much variety as its multiple directors.

Set at the fictional “Hotel Mon Signor” in Hollywood, the film opens with a newly hired bellboy, played by Tim Roth receiving instruction on his job duties from the exiting Marc Lawrence, cast as Sam.

Four Rooms is as its title describes is a compilation of the vignettes of stories in four different hotel rooms.

The first story is an amusing tale of a coven of witches who have gathered to invoke their goddess Diana and remove a curse through a magical ceremony. While all of the older coven members have brought their necessary ingredients, the newest member, played by Ione Skye, still needs to collect hers, male “essence,” and time is running out.

Skye acts quickly, seduces Roth and the story ends with Diana emerging from the cauldron at the center of the room.

Lawrence Bender, the film’s producer makes a brief cameo as the desk manager who calls Roth, directing him to his next assignment.

In Room 404, a couple engaged in some extremely dangerous role play draw the bellboy into their fantasy accusing him of having committed adultery with the wife, played by Jennifer Beals.

Right before he is punished, in a pretty humorous scene, Roth escapes through the small bathroom window.

Antonio Banderas and Tamlyn Tomita hire Roth to watch after their misbehaving children. The kids refuse to go to bed and get into all types of mischief in the hotel room, opening a bottle of champagne and even setting the room on fire.

Several hours later Banderas and his wife return, finding the room filled with flames and smoke with Roth unable to control the children who are drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes culminating in a mysterious woman’s body popping out of a suitcase.

By this point, Roth is ready to quit. However, the manager convinces him to stay for one last room service.

The Penthouse suite is occupied by the segment’s director Quentin Tarantino, who is promoting the benefits of Cristal while he gathers the props delivered by Roth as part of a wager the group is going to see through.

Tarantino has bet one of his guests the he will not be able to successfully light a Zippo lighter ten consecutive times. What Roth is needed for is to execute the part of the bet that results if the would be performer is unable to complete the lighter tasks.

Roth initially refuses but when the deal is sweetened by offering him $1000 for his part, he has a change of heart.

After one attempt, Paul Calderon fails and Roth chops off his finger and counts his money with a satisfied grin as he walks off the hotel property.
This is one of Lawrence Bender’s better productions. He was able to bring together separate directors with different stories to tell and weave them together into a very entertaining plot with a story that doesn’t lag and keeps the audience entertained and involved throughout.

Jewish-born, Bronx native Lawrence Bender has won three Academy Award nominations for Best Motion Picture and several awards for his films.

Lawrence Bender’s other productions include Nancy Drew, From Dusk til Dawn, An Inconvenient Truth, Good Will Hunting and Pulp Fiction.

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