Quentin Tarantino has apologised to Uma Thurman for a car crash on the set of Kill Bill which left Thurman with a permanently damaged neck and knees.
The incident took place in 2002. Thurman told the New York Times this week that, in a scene where her character Beatrix Kiddo drives a blue convertible on her way to, er, kill Bill, she was put in unnecessary danger. A warning from the stunt team that modifications to the car might affect its driveability was ignored, as Tarantino insisted that Thurman drive down an untested road at a minimum of 40mph, “or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again”.
The car drifted off the road and hit a palm tree, and Thurman and Tarantino had a massive falling out. Other details from the story, that Tarantino had spat in her face when a scene called for her character to be spat on, and that he had been maybe a bit too happy to stand in for another character choking Thurman with a chain, added to the unpleasantness of it all.
Tarantino has now spoken about the incident, and the article. The TL;DR version is that he’s full of regret about the car crash but feels like, for various reasons, he’s been misrepresented in the piece.
Here’s the gist of what Tarantino told Deadline:
- The crash was avoidable but accidental. Tarantino says he drove the route himself first to make sure Thurman, who was not a confident driver, would be OK. But then, when shooting, the decision was made to go the other way down the road - this was what led to Thurman crashing. Tarantino blames himself for it, calling it “one of the biggest regrets of [his] life”.
- Other people who weren’t named in the piece were more responsible for Thurman’s mistreatment, but when contacted for the article, “lawyered up” so had their names removed. Thurman was intending to name and shame certain other individuals for the crash and subsequent coverup (including the destruction of the car involved) but their names were expunged.
- Tarantino was supposed to speak to the journalist to clarify some things, and would have come out of the article better if he had, but the planned conversation never happened.
- The spitting and choking were par for the course, making a film - nothing else looked enough like spit, and Tarantino didn’t feel comfortable asking someone else on-set to do it.
Hmm. Whatever actually happened, Thurman and Tarantino are at least on speaking terms now. However, given some horrendous things that have just come out that Tarantino said in 2003 about Roman Polanski (who is rumoured to be appearing in Tarantino’s next film), maybe nobody needs to ask Quentin Tarantino anything ever again.