Tarantino: Response to Uma Thurman Claim of Injuries on Kill Bill

Tarantino responds to N.Y. Times article in which Kill Bill star Uma Thurman shared a story of a car crash and injuries she suffered while shooting the 2003 action movie. The accident resulted in concussion and damaged knees.

The crash footage which Tarantino offered to Thurman, shows the actress crashing into a palm tree.

In a recent interview with Deadline, Tarantino said he knew the Times story was coming and was contacted by both Thurman and Maureen Dowd, the author of the Times piece. “I knew the piece was happening. Uma and I had talked about it, for a long period of time, deciding how she was going to do it. She wanted clarity on what happened in that car crash, after all these years,” Tarantino said.

The director went on to say that he never met up with Dowd and “ended up taking the hit and taking the heat” when the article published. “I figured that eventually it would be used whenever [Thurman] had her big piece,” Tarantino said of the footage. “Also, there was an element of closure. She had been denied it, from Harvey Weinstein, being able to even see the footage.”

Tarantino recalled the day of the scene, saying that he “none of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving.” Thurman, however, said she voiced trepidations to Tarantino about operating the vehicle on a sandy road. “I’m sure I wasn’t in a rage and I wasn’t livid. I didn’t go barging into Uma’s trailer, screaming at her to get into the car,” the director said.

The issue happened when they decided to film the scene of Thurman driving in the opposite direction than they had tested and an unforeseen “mini S-curve” caused the crash. “I thought, a straight road is a straight road and I didn’t think I needed to run the road again to make sure there wasn’t any difference, going in the opposite direction,” he said. “That is one of the biggest regrets of my life. As a director, you learn things and sometimes you learn them through horrendous mistakes. That was one of my most horrendous mistakes, that I didn’t take the time to run the road, one more time, just to see what I would see.”

The crash affected their relationship: “It affected me and Uma for the next two to three years. It wasn’t like we didn’t talk. But a trust was broken.” It took a few years for the “Quentin and Uma” double act to return to what it was before. Tarantino added that if they were as estranged as had been reported, he would not have helped her with the Times story.

Harvey Weinstein, who was a frequent producer of Tarantino’s films (including Kill Bill) and who Thurman claims sexually assaulted her.  Tarantino said he was “absolutely being her accomplice” when the actress told the Times of her assault.

Tarantino  said he wished he had taken responsibility upon hearing of Weinstein’s actions in the past — in particular, his sexual harassment of Tarantino’s ex-girlfriend Mira Sorvino in the 1990s.

Addressing Thurman’s claims, he noted:  “While we were getting ready to do Kill Bill, Uma tells me that Weinstein had done the same thing to her as he had to Sorvino.”  “I realized there was a pattern, in Harvey’s luring and pushing attacks, so I made Harvey apologize to Uma.” Tarantino then gave Weinstein an ultimatum: Apologize or he wouldn’t do the film. The director said he wasn’t present for the apology.