Uma Thurman clarified her recent comments about Quentin Tarantino while describing a car crash on the set of Kill Bill that left her with injuries — some permanent — during a recent interview with The New York Times.
Thurman posted the video of the crash on Instagram Monday to "memorialize [its] full exposure" in The New York Times, she wrote. "The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. I do not believe though with malicious intent," she explained. "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."
Thurman told The New York Times in an interview published Saturday, February 3 in which she broke her silence on Harvey Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct that she was forced to drive a blue convertible herself while filming Kill Bill, despite her objections that it may be unsafe and her requests for a stunt person to do so. “Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” she recalled. “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... ‘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.”
Footage of the car crash, which the Kill Bill director finally released to Thurman now 15 years later, was also included in The New York Times interview. Thurman said that the crash has left her with a "permanently damaged neck" and "screwed-up knees." “I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she said of the moments immediately following the crash. “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.”
Tarantino responded to Thurman's comments in an interview with Deadline published Monday, February 5. “I am guilty, for putting her in that car, but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it,” Tarantino said. “It’s the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt. There are certain things I can’t get too far into the weeds on, but I will [answer] any questions you have about it.”
He also said that neither he nor anyone on set considered the driving to be a stunt. "It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt," he told Deadline. "I’m sure when it was brought up to me, that I rolled my eyes and was irritated. But 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. I can imagine maybe rolling my eyes and thinking, we spent all this money taking this stick shift Karmann Ghia and changing the transmission, just for this shot."
Tarantino said that after driving down the road in the convertible himself, he was confident Thurman would be able to do the same without any issues. "Far from me being mad, livid and angry, I was all…smiley," he said. "I said, Oh, Uma, it’s just fine. You can totally do this. It’s just a straight line, that’s all it is. You get in the car at [point] number one, and drive to number two and you’re all good."
He said Thurman's response was, "Okay." "Because she believed me. Because she trusted me. I told her it would be okay. I told her the road was a straight line. I told her it would be safe," Tarantino explained. "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."
Tarantino went on to say that he thinks the crash was caused by road testing the shot one way and then having Thurman drive the opposite direction for better lighting when it came time to film the scene. "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," he said. "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."
Tarantino told Deadline that he was happy to help get the footage to Thurman after she contacted him about it again this year. He also said that though his relationship with Thurman had been strained in the past, they've "been okay" recently. "The whole weekend, we’ve been talking. The uproar that happened against me, she was not prepared for. We have a long complicated history. We have been dealing with it for 22 years. We’re both one of the closest people in each other’s lives," he said. "So it was rather shocking to read this article, where the headline is about Uma’s anger, and lumping me into her anger about Harvey. As much detail as they went into, no one seemed to care about the Harvey stuff."
Thurman was the latest actress to speak out against Weinstein's alleged sexual misconduct, describing several episodes with the disgraced Hollywood producer over the years to The New York Times. Through a spokesperson to The New York Times, Weinstein acknowledged "making a pass" at Thurman on one occasion in England "after misreading her signals" on a prior occasion in Paris. He also confirmed that he apologized to Thurman for what happened in London but denied ever threatening to damage her career after rejecting his advances, as she alleged in the interview.