Quentin Tarantino Weighs In On Uma Thurman, 'Kill Bill', And Weinstein

It was only a matter of time before Quentin Tarantino weighed in on the latest bombshell allegations put forth by Uma Thurman last weekend. The actress claimed sexual assault committed by the disgraced Harvey Weinstein, but also revealed a video of a serious car crash she had while filming Kill Bill, a stunt that she says Quentin Tarantino put her up to. And naturally, he took heat from all corners for that, although she clarified that it was actually Tarantino who gave her the footage to share, and absolving him of guilt for what happened. She did, however, accuse Weinstein and others of trying to cover up the incident.

Tarantino gave a lengthy Q&A with Deadline, and there's a lot to sort through that you're best doing yourself. However there are a few key moments worth highlighting, like his version of events on the day the crash occurred...

I remember this day very well. It was one of the last days of the shoot, and up until this point it was a great day. It was the second day of filming the Michael Parks scene, the Esteban Vihaio scene. He was amazing in the scene and so was Uma. Literally, the last shot of the day was going to be this driving shot. We wrapped up the Esteban Vihaio scene and we were very happy about it. It was in a weird dubious Mexican Cantina, and that was kind of exciting. We even had a New Yorker reporter, Larissa MacFarquhar, who almost went with us to the next shot. But since it was the last shot, and none of us thought it would be a big deal, she went home.

I start hearing from the production manager, Bennett Walsh, that Uma is trepidatious about doing the driving shot. None of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt. Maybe we should have, but we didn’t. 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. Anyone who knows Uma knows that going into her trailer, and screaming at her to do something is not the way to get her to do something. That’s a bad tactic and I’d been shooting the movie with her for an entire year by this time. I would never react to her this way.

So Tarantino took it upon himself to test drive the car after hearing the "trepidation" in her voice, but he only drove the stretch of road going from east to west and found it to be safe and straight. However, the shot was ultimately done from the opposite direction, and that's where trouble began...

I came in there all happy telling her she could totally do it, it was a straight line, you will have no problem. Uma’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. 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.

So, it’s decided she would get in the car. I had not heard about anything about a guy from transpo saying that the car didn’t work. Which would be a strange thing for a guy from transpo to say, because they’re the ones responsible for delivering safe vehicles. If a guy from transpo had something to say about an unsafe car, he should be telling the First AD, the production manager or the producer. Uma goes off to get ready. I go off, after my trip and talking to Uma, to number one, ready for her to show up. I arrive and then a question develops.

Would it be okay if we had the car drive the opposite direction? Because the lighting would be better because it was the end of the day. I’m guessing on this, but let’s say we were going to do the car from east to west? Could we go from west to east? It didn’t affect the shot. I didn’t see how it would affect anything. A straight road is a straight road.

We changed our number one, so the car would be driving in the opposite direction from the way I had gone down. And that was the beginning of where the crash happened.

 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.

And that had a severe impact on Uma and Tarantino's friendship, which had been strong before that moment...

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. A trust broken over a year of shooting, of us doing really gnarly stuff. Doing really big stunt stuff. I wanted her to do as much as possible and we were trying to take care of her and we pulled it off. She didn’t get hurt. And then the last four days, in what we thought would be a simple driving shot, almost kills her.

Tarantino addresses a lot of issues in the piece, including details on what happened with Harvey Weinstein and his "complacency" that made the situation worse. He also discusses the criticism he's received for the scenes in Kill Bill in which he spits on and chokes Uma, explaining that it was her idea and that the responsibility really fell on him to do it right...

Naturally, I did it. Who else should do it? A grip? One, I didn’t trust Michael Madsen because, I don’t know where the spit’s going to go, if Michael Madsen does it. I talked to Uma and I said, look. I’ve got to kind of commit to doing this to you. We even had a thing there, we were going to try and do it with a plunger and some water. But if you add snuff juice to water, it didn’t look right. It didn’t look like spit, when it hit her when we tried that. It needed to be that mix of saliva and the brown juice. So I asked Uma. I said, I think I need to do it. I’ll only do it twice, at the most, three times. But I can’t have you laying here, getting spit on, again and again and again, because somebody else is messing it up by missing. It is hard to spit on people, as it turns out.

Now, I love Michael, he’s a terrific actor, but I didn’t trust him with this kind of intricate work, of nailing this. So the idea is, I’m doing it, I’m taking responsibility. 

And that's only a small part of what Tarantino had to say. It makes for an interesting and thorough read so you should definitely check it out to get a fuller picture of the story that has everyone in Hollywood talking right now.