The New York Times recently published Uma Thurman’s personal account of the emotional and physical trauma that she suffered while working with Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino. The piece detailed her sexual misconduct allegations against Weinstein, but the true bombshell of the Maureen Dowd-conducted profile were startling allegations involving the Kill Bill saga. Namely, this involved the car crash that occurred after Thurman expressed trepidation about driving the famous blue convertible, along with the details about Tarantino personally spitting in her face and choking her during those respective scenes. The director has now spoken to Deadline at length to both express remorse for the crash and (somewhat uncomfortably) address the rest.
The interview is uneven in tone, but Tarantino responds directly to the NY Times profile by blaming “mostly Maureen Dowd’s prose,” which he says resulted in him “taking the hit and taking the heat.” He does describe the crash as “the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt.” However, he also denies that (as Thurman told Dowd) he was “furious” over her hesitation to drive the car, which she’d heard might be faulty. Tarantino claims that the road was straight when he test-drove the car in one direction, but when they reversed directions for lighting purposes, there was an unanticipated S-curve:
“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. Again, 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.
“She showed up, in a good mood. We did the shot. And she crashed. At first, no one really knew what happened. After the crash, when Uma went to the hospital, I was feeling in total anguish at what had happened. I walked the road, going the opposite direction. And in walking the road, going in the other direction … I don’t know how a straight road turns into an un-straight road, but it wasn’t as straight. It wasn’t the straight shot that it had been, going the other way. There is a little mini S-curve that almost seemed like it opened up to a mini fork in the road.
“That is just not the way it looked, going in the opposite direction. Maybe the opposite direction there was kind of an optical illusion. This other way, there’s a little bend and if you look at the footage, that’s where she loses control. She’s flying along, and she thinks it’s a straight road and as far as she can see, it is a straight road out her windshield. And then it takes this little S-curve, and she’s not prepared for it. And it throw the car out of control.”