Quentin Tarantino Breaks His Silence On Uma Thurman's 'Kill Bill' Car Crash
Quentin Tarantino has responded to Maureen Dowd’s recent Uma Thurman story in the New York Times, accepting responsibility for the actress’ car crash on the set of Kill Bill.
In a revealing interview with Deadline, the 54-year-old said that getting her to do the dangerous stunt was “the biggest regret of my life”.
The under-fire director states that he was originally supposed to be involved in the New York Times piece after helping to locate the long-lost footage that had reportedly been covered up by Harvey Weinstein and other Miramax figures.
“Me and Dowd never hooked up. I read the article and basically it seemed like all the other guys lawyered up, so they weren’t even allowed to be named. And, through mostly Maureen Dowd’s prose, I ended up taking the hit and taking the heat.”
Despite their collaboration on the story, Tarantino’s account of the on-set car crash differs from Thurman’s. The actress recalls him becoming “furious” when she presented her trepidations about the drive, but Tarantino paints a calmer scene. “I’m sure when it was brought up to me, that I rolled my eyes and was irritated. But I’m sure I wasn’t in a rage and I wasn’t livid.” A
Tarantino says he drove the sandy road himself, and believed it was perfectly safe for Thurman to drive at 40mph. But at the last minute he decided to flip the direction that the actress was travelling in, meaning that Thurman had to make a sudden turn. “As a director, you learn things and sometimes you learn them through horrendous mistakes.”
The director also objects to Thurman’s assertion that a teamster warned her that the car was unsteady, and that a stunt performer should be used. “[That] would be a strange thing for a guy from transpo to say, because they’re the ones responsible for delivering safe vehicles.”
Tarantino confirmed that he spat on and choked Uma Thurman for two separate scenes in Kill Bill, but says they were shot with the actress’ consent. “[The choking with the chain] was Uma’s suggestion. To just wrap the thing around her neck, and choke her […] I couldn’t have respected Uma more during the making of the movie.”
He also touched on Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment and assault on Thurman, asserting that he confronted the producer and made him apologise. “When he tried to wriggle out of it, and how things actually happened, I never bought his story. I said, I don’t believe you. I believe her. And if you want to do Kill Bill, you need to make this right.”
Reflecting on Weinstein’s historic crimes against women in Hollywood, Tarantino admitted: “[..] Back in 1999, it was easier to chalk up what he was doing, to this mid-‘60s, Mad Men, Bewitched era of an executive chasing the secretary around the desk. Now, it’s like…as if that was ever okay!
“One of the things that has happened in this whole thing is there is a lot of staring in the mirror. And thinking about, how did you think about things during that time? What did you do in that time? What was your feeling about things, at that time? I remember when Mira told me about the time Harvey tried to get up in her apartment. I remember being shocked and appalled and that that was going on in today’s Hollywood. The big question I keep asking myself is, when did that shock go away?”
Yesterday, Thurman posted the clip of the accident on Instagram with a caption defending her former director. “Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so i could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible,” she wrote.
“[H]e also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and i am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage.”
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.