The day after an extensive New York Times interview was published in which she said that Quentin Tarantino badgered her into performing an unsafe stunt on the set of Kill Bill that left her with permanent injuries, Uma Thurman shared footage of the crash on Instagram along with a statement that absolved the director for both the initial incident and for having withheld the footage from her for 15 years.
Thurman told NYT writer Maureen Dowd she had reservations about driving the blue Karmann Ghia from when her character Beatrix Kiddo sets off to kill Bill and preferred to have a stunt person do it. She said that Tarantino was adamant that she do the stunt herself. From NYT:
“Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” she says. “He was furious because I’d cost them a lot of time. But I was scared. He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road.’” He persuaded her to do it, and instructed: “ ‘Hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again.’ But that was a deathbox that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road.” (Tarantino did not respond to requests for comment.)
The footage of the botched stunt, initially included in the Times story, shows Thurman struggling to keep control of the car, but ultimately veering off the road and crashing into a palm tree. The footage is as harrowing as it sounds. From NYT:
“The steering wheel was at my belly and my legs were jammed under me,” she says. “I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she says. “When I came back from the hospital in a neck brace with my knees damaged and a large massive egg on my head and a concussion, I wanted to see the car and I was very upset. Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me. And he was very angry at that, I guess understandably, because he didn’t feel he had tried to kill me.”
On Monday, Thurman shared a clip on her Instagram page and wrote that although “the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality”she didn’t believe they occurred “with malicious intent.”
She described Tarantino as “deeply regretful” and claimed that he “remains remorseful about this sorry event.” Thurman holds producer Lawrence Bender, executive producer E. Bennett Walsh, and Harvey Weinstein “solely responsible” for trying to cover-up the accident that she says nearly killed her. Thurman also accused Weinstein, the former Miramax head who worked closely with Tarantino throughout his career, of sexually assaulting her in the Times interview. In November, Thurman posted a Kill Bill still where she’s behind the wheel of that same Karmann Ghia and wished a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, “except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators.”
i post this clip to memorialize it’s full exposure in the nyt by Maureen Dowd. the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. i do not believe though with malicious intent. 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. he 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. THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. for this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. they lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity. CAA never sent anyone to Mexico. i hope they look after other clients more respectfully if they in fact want to do the job for which they take money with any decency.
Although Thurman seems very forgiving of Tarantino in this statement, she told the Times the director insisted on spitting in her face himself when the scene called for Michael Madsen to do it and choking her with a chain in the scene where she fights Gogo. This sounds similar to an interview Inglourious Basterds star Diane Kruger gave in 2009 when discussing why Tarantino insisted on choking her himself during Bridget Von Hammersmark’s death scene. From Parade:
“I’ve never died in a movie before. I get strangled which was especially weird because you feel it when someone is choking you, so it was an interesting day at the office. The funny part is that Quentin’s hands are in the close-up. I won’t give away the name of the actor who kills me, but Quentin said, ‘He’s not going to do it right, it’ll either be too much or too little. I know exactly what I need and I think I should just do it.’ I have to say it was very strange being strangled by the director.”