Addressing the explosive New York Times piece in which actress Uma Thurman revealed that she endured a car crash on the sets of Kill Bill (2003), director Quentin Tarantino called the accident “the biggest regret of his life”.
In conversation with The New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Thurman accused Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual harassment in 1994 after the release of Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. Thurman further revealed that Tarantino, with whom she has frequently collaborated, endangered her life by making her drive a convertible at great speed on the sets of Kill Bill. Thurman’s stunt eventually ended in an accident when the car crashed into a tree, injuring Thurman’s neck and knees.
Following Dowd’s piece, Tarantino faced the heat for forcing Thurman into doing the stunt without a stunt double. The filmmaker criticised himself for taking the dangerous call but denied forcing Thurman to do the stunt. “I told her it [the stunt] would be safe,” Tarantino said in an interview with Deadline Hollywood. “And it wasn’t. I was wrong. I didn’t force her into the car. She got into it because she trusted me. And she believed me.”
The filmmaker faced the wrath of fans and celebrities for another revelation in the The New York Times story. Dowd alleged that Tarantino spat on Thurman’s face for a scene in Kill Bill (Michael Madsen’s character Budd is seen doing it in the film). It was also alleged that Tarantino choked Thurman with a chain in the sequence involving Chiaki Kuriyama’s Gogo character.
Tarantino said that there have been many films in which characters get spat upon. He said, “Naturally, I did it [the spitting scene]. Who else should do it? A grip? Also, I’m the director, so I can kind of art direct this spit. I know where I want it to land. I’m right next to the camera. So, boom! I do it. Now, if I screw up and I keep missing, once we get to that third one, if she doesn’t want to do it anymore, well then, that’s on me.”
The director also claimed that Thurman had not directly accused him of the acts in the NYT piece, and that the charges were leveled by Dowd. “Uma didn’t share that with Maureen Dowd,” he claimed. “Maureen Dowd interviewed other people on the set who mentioned it to her. If you notice, all that choking and spitting stuff is not in quotes from Uma.”
Tarantino told Deadline that he was aware of the New York Times piece before its publication since Thurman and Dowd had reached out to him for his comments. “Part of my job on the piece was to do an interview with Maureen Dowd, and back up Uma’s claims,” Tarantino said. “And we never hooked up. 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.”
Thurman too defended Tarantino in an Instagram post. “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,” her post read.