Compiled by: Jack Foley
Q. You must have been thrilled that Mr Tarantino was prepared
to wait until you had given birth? And be prepared and fit enough
to take on this role?
A. I was. I was incredibly, incredibly pleased, amazed, overwhelmed...
and it is a testament to his loyalty, friendship, and patience
and general goodness.
Tarantino: But didn't I put some pressure on you, though,
saying things like 'now we have waited six months for you, you
really, really have to deliver'.
Thurman: Oh yeah, yeah [laughs]. They used to call me actually,
not Quentin, but they used to call me from production and say,
'ok now, so when's the baby coming, cos we're trying to schedule
it'. And finally, it was like, 'if you put any more pressure on
me to drop this baby, I'm going to hang on to it'. He's going
to be overdue! He's going to be coming out with dry feet!
Tarantino: Didn't you have to say, at one stage, 'everybody,
I'm not baking a loaf of bread, I am having a baby!'
Q. Did you feel that the pressure was really on, given that
they had postponed filming in order for you to be able to play
the role of The Bride?
A. Ah yeah, the pressure was immense. Denial was really the
best way to move forward. I had to break it down into the smallest,
possible pieces. The only thing I had, and the only thing, really,
that I ever have, and this is a constantly moving goal-line, is
that I will constantly do my best. I will do my best today, in
the next hour, in the shot. I will do my best and I will stand
back up after I fall down. Thats sort of how I had to take
it, pretty much for five months. There were three months of training,
and that was pretty momentous.
The first time I put on my yellow tracksuit, and the first time
I was in a remotely presentable shape to take on 88 people, I
had tears in my eyes, because the entire wardrobe costume had
bloody fingers from taking that costume in every week. I was slowly,
slowly shrinking, and it was getting down to the wire, you know,
is she going to make it? It would have been kind of
funny for Quentin, to have this very large-bottomed samurai.
Then we pretty much went into the sequence of the House of Blue
Leaves, which was deceptively expanded. In normal film world language,
when you look on the schedule, or when you look at a 220 page
script, and your director says this is going to be a 90-minute
film, you start to think that this means this is going to be quick,
Ill spend time on that dialogue and, ooh, that scene will
be quick, and you sort of pick through it in complete ignorance.
On the schedule, that sequence was meant to be two weeks, so in
any normal movie, if the sequence were to, say, go a third, or
50 per cent, or double this time, it would be considered a cataclysmic
failure on the part of production, so you kind of believe that
these are rules that might apply. Eight weeks later, when I walked
off that set, covered in blood, with my sword and my beautiful
fight scene behind me, I fell to my knees, and felt that I had
been involved in something, and done something, that was going
to break every rule of cinema, and I was involved in a completely
Q. What's your favourite method of killing in Kill Bill?
A. I have a very self-sacrificing, kind of noble hard way
to go about it. Me and my sword; I'm very possessive of my sword.
I earned it. I became one with it, and it took a long time. When
I first had it, it was like [mimic's removing it from its protective
cover and hitting herself in the face with the handle].
I learned the hard way how to handle that thing. So, not a favourite
way of killing, but my favourite thing was the journey that took
me to that sword. And it was the hardest journey you could possibly
Q. Is there anything you wouldn't do for Quentin Tarantino?
Tarantino: Well, there's a lot of things I wouldn't ask her
to do, you know? Not many, but a few.
Thurman: One time, before production, he called me up and
he was kind of blushy and nervous on the phone. He said, 'I'm
going to read you something, I feel really bad about it, and you
can have any reaction you want...'
He then preceded to read me a meatier version of the Fuck Buck
scene. It was the goriest, most violent, multi-Francis Farmer-style
sequence, complete with a fantasy sequence that went on, and went
to Hell; it was really something. The villain ended up having
his behind smacked by a cloven-footed...
Tarantino: Yeah, yeah, yeah, I'll describe it. After she
kills Buck and bashes that door into his head, we cut to a title
card which says 'one week later, in Hell'. And all these centaurs
and minotaurs are lining up to gang fuck Buck, alright? And this
big minotaur with this big, bold, blue veiny dick comes over and
starts ramming it up his arse; his cloven-hoof is smacking his
cheek; he's crying in pain; the devils are laughing and playing
little violins to his pain.
Thurman: He felt so bad about the gang raping of The Bride,
that he felt he had to add in this Hell sequence. It was quite
fantastic. My response to it was to be completely amused and therein
was the kind of journey. But everything worked out okay with him
[Tarantino]; it's hard-going sometimes, but it comes out pretty
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. I probably saw the least of China. I pretty much just hung
out at the studio every day. But I agree that it certainly was
a subversion. And also the team, the Beijing team of the Master
Yuen Woo-ping, that were all of the Crazy 88, were what really
made that part special for me. I don't know if we would have had
all those guys if we were anywhere else. Their team work was...
I went to training with the Masters' head captain, they were my
life's blood, these people were very special to me and went with
me from the very beginning. Since really my time was mainly focused
on my battle with them, the support that I got from them, and
my experience with them, and their discipline and hardworking
nature was very humbling, particularly as there were people there
who work so hard for so little. It certainly made my journey there
the most meaningful to get to be with those people, and their
support was what took me through that fight.