In November, Kill Bill star Uma Thurman was asked about the then-mounting allegations of sexual misconduct against the film’s producer, Harvey Weinstein. “I don’t have a tidy soundbite for you,” she told reporters. “I’ve been waiting to feel less angry. And when I’m ready, I’ll say what I have to say.” She then posted a photo of her Bride character on Instagram with a chilling message. “Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!” she wrote. “Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators — I’m glad it’s going slowly — you don’t deserve a bullet.” On Saturday, Thurman’s non-bullet arrived in the New York Times.
Before the pair teamed up with fellow Pulp Fiction collaborator Quentin Tarantino for Kill Bill, Thurman recalled they were arguing in Weinstein’s hotel suite over a script “when the bathrobe came out”:
The first “attack,” she says, came not long after in Weinstein’s suite at the Savoy Hotel in London. “It was such a bat to the head. He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things. But he didn’t actually put his back into it and force me. You’re like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard. I was doing anything I could to get the train back on the track. My track. Not his track.”
The next day, “a 26-inch-wide vulgar bunch of roses” arrived at the house of Thurman’s friend Ilona Herman, where she was staying. “They were yellow. And I opened the note like it was a soiled diaper and it just said, ‘You have great instincts.'” Not long after, Weinstein’s assistants began calling her repeated “to talk about projects,” almost as if the assault had never happened. Thurman agreed to meet, but only if Herman was allowed to accompany her, and if the meeting took place in public at the hotel’s bar. After more back-and-forth, however, she agreed to meet Weinstein in his hotel room.
Weinstein’s spokesperson told the Times that, while the disgraced producer “denied ever threatening her prospects,” he “acknowledged her account of the episodes” while claiming they had “a flirtatious and fun working relationship” before then. “Mr. Weinstein acknowledges making a pass at Ms. Thurman in England after misreading her signals in Paris. He immediately apologized.” Even so, a top Hollywood executive familiar with Thurman and her account of what happened with Weinstein told the Times, “She didn’t give him the time of day” after that.
Even so, the back-to-back shoot for Tarantino’s Kill Bill movies was on the docket, so Thurman and Weinstein still had to work together. Things apparently ran smoothly during most of the nine-month shoot, but when Tarantino asked his star to drive the famous blue convertible during a pivotal scene, she tried to “draw the line” after a teamster claimed the car “might not be working that well.” That’s when the director stepped in:
“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.”
While shooting the scene, Thurman lost control of the car and plowed into a palm tree. In the “frightening” video-only footage given to the Times, you can see her “wrestle with the car, as it drifts off the road and smashes into a palm tree, her contorted torso heaving helplessly until crew members appear in the frame to pull her out of the wreckage.” The thing is, when Thurman tried to acquire the footage from Miramax in a letter “summarizing the event and reserving the right to sue,” Weinstein’s company refused unless she signed a document “releasing them of any consequences.”
Thurman refused to sign it, so Miramax wouldn’t let her see the footage. When she asked Tarantino while they were promoting the films in 2004, he also refused. “We had a fateful fight at Soho House in New York in 2004 and we were shouting at each other because he wouldn’t let me see the footage and he told me that was what they had all decided,” she recalled. “Quentin finally atoned by giving it to me after 15 years, right? Not that it matters now, with my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees.”
(Via New York Times)