Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. The violence... clearly, it is your intention, when you
hear the voice of Nancy Sinatra singing 'Bang, Bang, my baby shot
me down', to let the audience know really early that this was
a very black comedy?
A. Definitely, definitely. I've been violent before, but I've
never done it in such an outrageous way. So I think that goes
a long way to... whatever. Not that I have any problem with it
when it's not outrageous, but this is definitely taking place
not on planet earth. It actually uses a lot of Japanese filmmaker
influences, where it's a standard staple in Japanese cinema to
cut somebody's arm off and have them have water hoses for veins
[says making spewing sound]. So I'm keeping that tradition alive.
Q. Given that most of the men in the film are fodder for being
killed, and all of the cool roles belong to women, would you regard
this film as something of a feminist statement?
A. I would probably use the word girl power.
Q. There's so much graphic violence in Kill Bill, which we
enjoy, did you actually sit down and make a list of all the alternative
ways in which you could maim and hack at the human body with a
samurai sword? And with all of your favourite genres now mixed
up into one film, are there any genres that you loathe?
A. When it came to do the House of Blue Leaves fight scene,
where Uma fights the crazy idiot with the samurai sword, yeah,
I was trying to think up every inventive, most entertaining way,
I could of dismembering and disemboweling, or putting to an end
I was out there trying to create one of the greatest, most exciting
sequences in the history of cinema, so I was definitely working
overtime. What do I want to see? What haven't I seen? It took
about a year to write that fight sequence. One of the things I'm
most proud of about it, is the fact that the movie doesn't stop
while that scene goes on, I think there is actually storytelling
going on in the course of it. And, when I wrote it, I didn't write
it as a stand-alone action scene, it was just like the whole rest
of the script, and I was working my way through it.
I knew I wanted to do this, and this, but now I had to get there.
That's not the way I work. But when I didn't have a middle section,
for instance, what I would do is think of something I'd seen in
a cool kung-fu movie, like Sammo Hung did in that movie, and I'd
fill it in, and have that be the space in-between. And over the
course of the year, I would just constantly rewrite it, and rewrite
it, until all those scenes were gone and it was all filled with
original stuff. That's how I did that.
As for the stuff I hate. Loathe may be a little too strong. I'm
not really a big fan of Victorian movies. They're not my kind
of movies. For the simple fact that movies about knuckling under
to society, or trying to fight society and being knuckled under
because of it, or those that I consider to be movies about people
who are following rules, or who are destroyed for breaking rules,
they're so polite, and I'm not really interested in that.
I like movies about people that break rules, or movies about mavericks,
and I don't like movies about people who have been pulverized
for being a maverick.
But one of my genres that I'm not really that into, as far as
cinema is concerned, are biography movies. I just don't think
they make interesting cinema. They create interesting performances,
there's a great character for a person to play, but they usually
always follow a rise and fall. There's a few persons in this world
that their whole life is interesting enough to make a movie about.
You could make a very good book, but not a movie.
If I was ever to do a biography, I would follow somebody for three
days. Not their whole life; when they're young, and then their
middle age, and their old age. I would just choose three days.
And if I were to do a movie about Elvis Presley, I'd do it about
the day he walked into Sun Records and that would be it.
Q. What can we expect from Kill Bill: Volume Two, and are
there big plans for the DVD?
A. I cant really elaborate on it all that much, you
know? We have a big dot, dot, dot there. And even though Im
being cagey, I still have to make Volume Two, which is one of
the reasons were doing such a whistle-stop right now. If
we were all done, we would have a little more time, but I have
to get home and start doing it all over again.
But the thing about Volume Two is that there is a personality
change between Volume One and Volume Two. At the end of this film,
when Sonny Chiba gives that little parable, and says that revenge
is never a straight line, its like a forest that you
can get lost in, somewhere that you lose your way and forget where
you came in, Volume One is the straight line; Volume One
is the straight-ahead, heart-pumping, sit on the edge of your
seat, wow, that was a night at the movies kind of thing, you know?
It can be said, you know, well, wheres the resonance?
And my feeling is that its there
but you dont
need it, alright? Growing up, when I watched Avenging Eagle, or
Five Fingers of Death, I wouldnt think, wheres
the resonance? I was getting off, man, alright, this was
the shit, so thats where I was coming from. I think its
there, but it dont have to be there. Its there if
you want it.
Now, however, its not straight ahead. Now its the
forest and its easy to get lost and to lose your way as
far as The Brides journey is concerned. Now we slow down
a little bit, we get to know the characters a little bit more,
and things arent one, two, three. Real life rears its ugly
head into her journey.
And as far as the DVD is concerned, yes, Im thinking about
it big-time already. I cant imagine a better movie when
it comes to great DVD stuff. But Im going to really play
fair. Well come out with a separate volume for Volume One,
and a separate volume for Volume Two, Ill do special stuff
for that, and then well come out with a real big version
that puts both of them together, but I wont repeat the special
stuff I put on Volume One and Volume Two. I might even make a
little movie movie thing on that special double feature
Q. If you had to choose the quintessential martial arts movies,
what would they be?
A. I think I'd probably include Five Fingers of Death, I'd
have to mention a couple of Angela Mao movies, Lady Whirlwind
would definitely be one, Broken Oath would be one as well. Almost
anything, as far as I'm concerned, by Chang Chueh, because to
me he is to old school kung fu films what John Ford was to Westerns.
And I have to go off on a little bit of a tangent here because...
Chang Chueh died when we were in pre-production and any time you
put the camera up on the ceiling and looked straight down, I called
it the Chang Chueh POV. There's even one moment in the movie,
where we had this gag where I was getting frustrated by all the
modern-day pyrotechnics of making movies. We had a really great
make-up crew, but they're doing everything the modern way, which
means everything involves hydraulics and fire extinguishers, canisters
and tubes going up legs.
And I eventually said, 'screw this guys, we're not making a God
damn horror movie here; you have to pretend that we're little
kids and we're making a Super 8 movie in our back yard and you
don't have all this shit, alright? How would you achieve this
effect; ingenuity is important here'. I was getting pissed off.
What happened is Woo-Ping came up and goes, 'well, Quentin, do
you know what Chang Chueh developed in the Seventies? To get some
of those cool blood effects that he had, he would take a Chinese
condom and fill it full of blood - and to make the record straight,
a trojan doesn't work, it has to be a Chinese condom - and the
fighters would have a sword in one hand, and a blood-filled condom
in the other and when they would swing it at the bad guy, as they
flinch backwards, they would squeeze the condom and blood would
And it was great; no canisters, no tubes or nothing, just Chinese
condoms and it worked like a charm.
Anyway, I'm doing this shot, where Uma swings the sword at this
girl's throat and the idea is the camera is behind the girl, and
she is supposed to grab her throat, squeezes the condom and the
blood spurts out towards the camera.
We did it, but it's not directional; it's a Chinese condom, so
who knows where the fuck the blood's going to go, so we're doing
it 10, 12, 13 times and all the time it squirts down her front,
as opposed to out. I was just starting to get frustrated, even
though it wasn't her fault, or anyone's fault, and I swear to
goodness, at some point, I feel like Chang Chueh talked to me,
and kind of came to me and said, 'hang in there Quentin, it's
going to work out; it's bound to explode the right way once; just
hang in there'. And sure enough, about four times later, it did
it perfectly. To this day, I'm almost positive Chang Chueh came
to me and told me to calm down and not to worry.
Q. You're obviously quite a wild character yourself, is this
why you went with David Carradine?
A. Good question. I've always considered David Carradine one
of the great mad geniuses when it comes to wild actors and Hollywood.
Nicholson would be up there, as would Christopher Walken and definitely
One of the things that was a big thing about him getting the role
was that I had actually read David's autobiography, and it was
called Endless Highway, which is one of the best autobiography's
I'd ever read in my life; it was just fantastic. To read about
this guy's life, and to imagine his life, being John Carradine,
the Shakespearean actor's son, in Hollywood and New York, it was
quite a fascinating journey, and it occurred to me, while reading
it that, God, this guy is Bill, he could be Bill. This could be
Bill's story; it'd be different, but it'd be just as inventive
and just as character-filled. So that went a long way to me casting
David in the role.
Q. When did one movie become two and how soon were you aware
of the change?
A. If I could have done it as two movies from the get-go,
I would have. But to bring it up to Harvey Weinstein right at
the beginning, that would maybe have put up warning signs, or
a flag right off the bat, which I thought might have not been
But what ended up happening was the crew realised they had made
two movies, because normally they make about two movies a year,
whereas in this movie, they had made one movie in the course of
a year and they realised they had made two movies, and began making
jokes about it.
But then what happened is Harvey Weinstein came on to the set
and said that he didn't want me to lose anything, so why don't
we make it two movies? And I was like, 'that's a great idea, Harvey,
GENIUS!' And I went back to work and, in the next hour, figured
it all out, that this would happen here, and that would end there.
Q. What did you take away from the experience of working in
China and how important is it to you that it is welcomed over
A. One of the reasons I wanted to go to China was twofold.
One, there's a vibrancy to Beijing that I was trying to capture.
Even though the movie doesn't necessarily take place in Beijing,
there's a vividness and invigoration to this Chinese cinema that
I was aspiring to, that I wanted to get at.
Also, I wanted to shoot the Chinese way, which is, as opposed
to the American way, they don't give a damn about the schedules.
The films there are cheap enough, you can just keep shooting until
you get it right, as opposed to America where everywhere schedule
I wasn't going to settle for anything but one of the best action
scenes ever made, and that takes time. I mean, if you're going
to make a giant omelette for everyone in the room, you've got
to break some eggs.
However, having said that, one thing that was just as important
to me, as making a cool movie, was that I wanted to go on an adventure.
I wanted to go on the adventure of a lifetime and remember this
The journey aspect was as important to me as a good movie. They
can work together, but they were equally important, and I got
it; I got the adventure of a lifetime and I'll quite never be
the same again.
Q. If you were able to assemble your dream cast, from living
or dead, who would it be?
A. Oh God, that's too much of a big question. It would be
quite a few people. Charles Bronson would definitely be one of
them, as would the Hong Kong kung-fu star, Lieh Lo, who created
a character, Pai Mei, who is in Volume Two; he would be in there.
Aldo Ray would be in there, Ralph Meeker, the list goes on and
on. I don't need a Dietrich however, because I already have one
[says, hugging Uma Thurman].