Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. This has already been described by some papers as a welcome
comeback for you to mainstream cinema?
A. I hate that word...
Q. How do you see this in terms of your career?
A. Harvey Weinstein called it a renaissance. And he said,
'you just wait til October', which, of course, turns out to be
now. Back then, he turned round to me, and said, very loudly,
'I just hope you remember by name'!
But the praise I have received in the six cities I have done this
in so far, I guess I have to believe it. Everybody tells me I'm
in for quite a ride and I could certainly use it.
The only thing that surprises me is that I knew something like
this was going to happen eventually, but I really didn't think
I'd be on social security!
Q. Can you describe what it's like working with Quentin?
A. We all had that same experience with Quentin. He's so much
fun, and he's having so much fun. I was going to say, it's as
much as a barrel of monkeys, but actually he kind of is a barrel
One of the things is that it's difficult to actually stop and
talk to him, whether he's shooting or not, it's like talking to
a runaway train, because he's always in so many places at once.
And when he starts to focus on you and direct you, it's really
a privilege, because you actually get a one-on-one with him.
The other thing is that most directors, um, a good director generally
does not tell an actor how to act. Most of the time, when they
do, it doesn't help. It's quite the reverse.
I'm told that Michael Caine once asked John Huston, 'you're not
telling me anything, why don't you tell me anything?' And his
reply was: "Well, when you cast it right, you don't need
And that is the truth with most directors, but Quentin was actually
able to tell me things that ignited me, and he whispered. No one
else has any idea what he's saying - he could be saying how wonderful
you are, or don't do that anymore, whatever, but it's a conspiracy,
and that's kind of exciting in itself.
I have a funny metaphor for what it actually felt like, in total,
for me in this picture. Quentin found, in the back of the cellar,
this vintage bottle of champagne, all covered with dust, and he
took it out, and polished it up, and maybe even shook it a little,
and then popped the cork; and out came this thing that I didn't
feel as though I had ever accomplished before.
I mean it actually got me, after 40 years in the business, 102
feature movies, god knows how much TV, 35 plays, including 11
Shakespearean plays, I thought there was really nothing I could
do to go forward, and he actually got me to push yet another envelope.
At this moment, and I don't think it's just a samurai romance,
he's my favourite director of all time.
Q. Did you have any doubts that you still had this sort of
performance in you, after all these years?
A. I tell you, I couldn't have proceeded during any one of
those 40 years, if I didn't always think that I'm the best there
is. I think I might have even created that for myself, because
that's how you deal with it.
Years and years ago, when I was in a play in New York, Peter Shepherd
told me that I was the actor of my generation, and I thought,
well, ok, that sounds pretty good. He also told me to stay away
from television, which, of course, I didn't do [laughs].
But no, I've never had any doubts, not in my ability so much,
as much as my destiny.
Sometimes I would say, 'is this it'? When I did Bound For Glory,
I was sure that was it, but the picture actually never recovered
its investment. But people in Hollywood have this big book, and
things are written in black or in red, and that's the sole basis
on which they make their decisions, so I had to wait a little
I really actually kind of like what I did in this picture a little
more because I'm not doing an accent, or a funny walk, I'm not
pretending to be anyone other than who I am, except for the fact
that I'm not really a serial assassin.
But I can sure get behind Bill being so pissed off about this
woman leaving him and marrying an El Paso nerd...
Uma Thurman: A make-up artist...
Carradine: Well, actually, he was a make-up artist, a special
effects make-up artist, who did our scars and things. And then
having his baby, I think when she finally tells me it's mine,
I've already pulled the trigger. But that would kind of piss me
off. I did a film, once, called Jealousy, with Angie Dickinson,
and the guy I thought was really normal except for the fact that
he happened to own a gunshop, and that made his anger really dangerous.
I know I'm way off the subject, but approaching a character like
this, which some people say is the villain of the piece, I will
always answer them and say, 'look, there are no good guys in a
Quentin Tarantino film'. There just aren't if you think about
it. Everybody has an agenda.
You've got to approach a villain, if you insist on looking at
it that way, from his point of view, and from his point of view,
he's not a villain, he's the man, and everything, for him, is
Now I know that wasn't an answer to your question, but I have
a tendency to sort of paragraph out [laughs]
Q. I believe that Quentin is known for borrowing the clothes
and possessions of his lead actors, to use on the set, did he
borrow anything from you? Did he, in fact, raid your wardrobe?
A. Yeah, they came to my house and raided my wardrobe, and
they took 96 items. All the way from swords, to a little cigar
case, and paintings, even pieces of furniture, but as it turned
out, very, very few of them were used.
Originally, the idea was that Bill lived in a villa, or fortress,
surrounded by bodyguards with lots of fancy cars out front. But
then during the shoot, Quentin decided that, well, he's an international
assassin, he's got to be on the move all the time, so what I lived
in, instead, was the most extravagant hotel suite on the planet.
Therefore, it could not be my own things, so very few of my effects
were actually used. They did things like, they left me wearing
this ring, which is practically the only thing you see of me in
Volume One, and the boots that I'm wearing are mine; I had my
own jewellery on.
But part of that is because I've got a lot of good shit, you know?
But part of it was making the character as comfortably me as could
be managed, and he took that to an almost ridiculous extent. One
of the nice things about it, though, was that I took a lot of
stuff out that I got back with doubles and triples of.
Q. There is clearly quite a strong element of violence and
possibly sadism in the film, do you think directors should be
allowed to show whatever they fancy, or do you think there should
be some form of censorship?
A. I love violent, sexy movies, but there are other types
of movies that I like, too. Censorship is really a dangerous thing.
I do think we make too many rules anyway, and the safety police
are after us about everything we do. In America, they're telling
you a lot about how it could affect no one but you, and that's
I think we are getting the cause and effect mixed up. Art is an
effect of society, not a cause of it. If there are too many violent
movies, then maybe we should start educating our kids differently.
Art tends to be exaggerated. We live in enormously violent, scary
times, so we will see movies that reflect that. It's a given.
And the only way to get out of that, at present, would be to limit