So this story has been a bit of a back-and-forth, and if you’re not completely up-to-date, here are the basics. The New York Times published a piece recently where, among other things, Thurman chronicled a specific instance on the set of Kill Bill where Tarantino’s actions led to an injury of hers. However, Thurman later clarified that she didn’t blame Tarantino, and instead blames producers for the film.
However, there was another interesting implication in the original NYT piece. In it, it is implied that, because Tarantino was angry at Thurman following the incident, he created a scene where Thurman is spat on, and another where she’s choked. What’s more is that Tarantino reportedly did the spitting and choking himself.
Reacting to those claims, Tarantino claimed to do the spitting because he didn’t trust actor Michael Madson to be as precise with his aim as him, and they needed saliva in the mix in order to give the juice the right consistency — and no way was he going to have a random on-set person do it. He then addressed the choking scene, and along the way, referenced actress Diane Kruger from Inglourious Basterds:
“In the case of the choking, when Gogo [Chiaki Kuryama] throws her chain ball at the bride, and the chain wraps around her neck. And then she’s getting choked by it. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how we were going to shoot that scene. Wrap a chain around the neck, you’ve got to see choking. I was assuming that when we did it, we would have maybe a pole behind Uma that the chain would be wrapped around so it wouldn’t be seen by the camera, at least for the wide shot. But then it was Uma’s suggestion. To just wrap the thing around her neck, and choke her. Not forever, not for a long time. But it’s not going to look right. I can act all strangle-ey, but if you want my face to get red and the tears to come to my eye, then you kind of need to choke me.
I was the one on the other end of the chain and we kind of only did it for the close ups. And we pulled it off. Now, that was her idea. Consequently, I realize…that is a real thing. When I did Inglourious Basterds, and I went to Diane [Kruger], and I said, look, I’ve got to strangle you. If it’s just a guy with his hands on your neck, not putting any kind of pressure and you’re just doing this wiggling death rattle, it looks like a normal movie strangulation. It looks movie-ish. But you’re not going to get the blood vessels bulging, or the eyes filling it with tears, and you’re not going to get the sense of panic that happens when your air is cut off. What I would like to do, with your permission, is just…commit to choking you, with my hands, in a closeup. We do it for 30 seconds or so, and then I stop. If we need to do it a second time, we will. After that, that’s it. Are you down to committing to it so we can get a really good look. It’ll be twice, and only for this amount of time, and the stunt guy was monitoring the whole thing.”
But what does Diane Kruger have to say about this? The actress took to Twitter to throw in her two cents:
“In light of the recent allegations made by Uma Thurman against Harvey Weinstein and her terrifying work experience on Kill Bill, my name has been mentioned in numerous articles in regards to the choking scene in Inglourious Basterds. This is an important moment in time and my heart goes out to Uma and anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault and abuse. I stand with you.
For the record however, I would like to say that my work experience with Quentin Tarantino was pure joy. He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with.”
So, at least in this instance, it checks out. When it comes to Kill Bill, it sounds like the car accident deal was a huge bit of misjudgment from Tarantino, and something he regrets to this day. Everything else seems like a standard day at the office.
How do you feel about all these developing details? Let us know your thoughts down below!