Tarantino breaks his silence on Uma Thurman, Kill Bill violence, & Weinstein

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

This past Saturday, The New York Times published an article written by Times writer Maureen Dowd entitled "This Is Why Uma Thurman Is Angry." Throughout the lengthy and detailed piece, Thurman describes an incident of assault she'd encountered at the hands of Harvey Weinstein, in addition to a series of unfortunate events involving PULP FICTION and KILL BILL writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Also included in the article is footage of Thurman being involved in a terrible car crash, which had taken place during the last days of production on KILL BILL. And lastly, Dowd's in-depth report on Thurman tells of Tarantino personally spiting on her, as well as choking her with a chain, during the filming of KILL BILL.

Now, after several days of silence, Tarantino has spoken with Mike Flemming Jr. of Deadline Hollywood to share his side of the story. “I am guilty, for putting her in that car, but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it,” Tarantino told Flemming Jr.. “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.”

In her interview, Thurman described a run-of-the-mill car stunt she was asked to perform for KILL BILL, which involved driving a convertible down a straight swath of road at about 40 miles per hour. Thurman says that she requested for a stunt person to drive the car because, she states, a fellow co-worker had told her that the car might not be performing to the best of its ability. The way Thurman tells it, Tarantino was outraged by her request and ultimately convinced her to do the stunt. Reluctantly, Thurman climbed inside the car. Not a few moments later, during the stunt, she lost control of the car and crashed – injuring her neck and knees. Unable to obtain footage of the crash until recently, Thurman finally received evidence of the accident after Tarantino and producer Shannon McIntosh hunted it down for her. With the footage in-hand, Thurman is now saying that Weinstein and his producers have allegedly been trying to cover up the incident for years. As of the moment, the producers have not released a statement pertaining to Thurman's claims against them.

“I can’t tell you . . . it was literally my happiest day this year, when Shannon found that footage and sent it over to me and I knew I was going to be able to present it to Uma,” Tarantino told Deadline. He also defended himself against those on social media who are mis-labeling him as an irresponsible filmmaker, saying that he performed the stunt himself before having Thurman operate the vehicle. He also states that seeing Thurman involved in the crash "was heartbreaking," and that the incident is "Beyond one of the biggest regrets of my career, it is one of the biggest regrets of my life . . . It affected me and Uma for the next two to three years. It wasn’t like we didn’t talk. But a trust was broken.”

It's true that Thurman and Tarantino are now civil to one another, though the HATEFUL EIGHT filmmaker admits that their friendship remained uncertain for a number of years after the KILL BILL crash.

You can see evidence of the crash via Uma Thurman's Instagram post below:


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.

A post shared by Uma Thurman (@ithurman) on Feb 5, 2018 at 10:15am PST

As the interview continues, Flemming Jr. eventually touches on the subject of Tarantino spitting on Thurman while filming KILL BILL, to which the filmmaker became audibly upset. Through gritted teeth, Tarantino explains that the confusion regarding him actively participating in intense scenes with Thurman is unwarranted. He also states that his actions were not part of some sadistic director fetish for his leading lady, but rather an act of misunderstood chemistry between friends and co-workers.

“What’s the fucking problem?” he asked, when is was suggested to him that the act was disrespectful. Furthermore, Tarantino says that the reason he got involved in the scene is because he wasn't convinced that actor Michael Madsen could get it right on the first take. “I didn’t trust him with this kind of intricate work,” says Tarantino. The INGLORIOUS BASTERDS creative also wanted to set the record straight by saying that he'd asked for Thurman's permission to perform the spitting task upward of two or three times before filming.

In regard to the choking incident, Tarantino says that it was "Uma's suggestion" for him to perform the task, in an effort to make it look more realistic. “She agreed with it, she knew it would look good and she trusted me to do it,” he said. “I would ask a guy the same thing. In fact, I would probably be more insistent with a guy.”

Lastly, Tarantino spoke about his being "shocked and appalled" when his then-girlfriend, Mira Sorvino, told him about an alleged encounter she had with Harvey Weinstein. Of course, like all of the other charges brought against him, Weinstein has denied acting in an unprofessional manner toward Thurman and Sorvino. 

Back in October, Tarantino was one of the first filmmakers to confess that he was well aware of Weinstein's predatory practices, saying that he “knew enough to do more than [he] did” and heard “more than just the normal rumors.” In looking for further comment on this, Tarantino told Deadline that, “For some reason that now feels wrong, back in 1999, it was easier to chalk up what he was doing to this mid-60s, Mad MenBewitched era of an executive chasing the secretary around the desk,” the director said. “Now, it’s like . . . as if that was ever O.K.! One of the things that has happened in this whole thing is there is a lot of staring in the mirror. And thinking about, how did you think about things during that time? What did you do in that time? What was your feeling about things at that time?”

Must  … resist urge  … to comment on … Tarantino's statement. Take a deep breath, man. In … and out. There, don't you feel better? Honestly? Not even a little bit.

What do you think of Tarantino's side of the story? Has Thurman's confessional about him changed the way you think of the legendary filmmaker, or his celebrated catalog of films? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Deadline Hollywood

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.