Uma Thurman Reveals Violent 'Kill Bill' Crash Footage Provided by Tarantino
The actress said that she and director Quentin Tarantino fought for years over the footage, which he relinquished 15 years after the accident occurred.
Uma Thurman has revealed footage of a violent car crash that occurred on the set of the 2003 film Kill Bill in a story in the New York Times that accuses the film's producer, Harvey Weinstein, of sexual assault.
In the video, which can be seen here and shows the point of view of the back of the car, Thurman drives a blue convertible along a road and, after swerving along a narrow curve, crashes into a palm tree. After the collision, she clutches her head in apparent pain and leans back in the car's chair. The footage then cuts to crewmembers helping her out, and the film's director, Quentin Tarantino, comforting her. She smiles when she is able to stand up.
Thurman claims that the accident resulted in a concussion and damaged knees. She also says the accident was an impetus for her to come forward with assault accusations against Weinstein, which she claims cooled her relationship with Kill Bill director Tarantino; another impetus was other claims of sexual misconduct that have been leveled at the producer since October 2017.
In the Times, Thurman describes that the accident occurred in the last four days of shoots on Kill Bill, some time after she had told Tarantino that Weinstein, also a producer of their 1994 film Pulp Fiction, had assaulted her in London. Thurman says she did not feel comfortable operating the car and asked for a stunt person to do the scene, but Tarantino insisted she drive the car.
"He was furious because I’d cost them a lot of time. But I was scared. He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road,'" Thurman told the Times. "‘Hit 40 miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again.’ But that was a death box that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road."
Thurman also described the injury: “The steering wheel was at my belly and my legs were jammed under me,” she said. “I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she says. “When I came back from the hospital in a neck brace with my knees damaged and a large massive egg on my head and a concussion, I wanted to see the car and I was very upset. Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me. And he was very angry at that, I guess understandably, because he didn’t feel he had tried to kill me.”
According to Thurman, her lawyer sent a letter to Miramax, the company Weinstein co-founded that produced and distributed Kill Bill, two weeks after the accident, explaining what happened from Thurman's point of view and reserving the right to sue. Miramax offered to show Thurman the footage if she signed a document “releasing them of any consequences of my future pain and suffering,” Thurman said, which she refused. Thurman has alleged that Weinstein sexually assaulted her some time after the release of the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.
Thurman also said that she and Tarantino fought for years over the footage, which he and others had decided not to give her. He relinquished it to her after she pressured him following multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Weinstein.
In a Times interview about Weinstein in October, Tarantino expressed regrets about how he handled working with the producer. “I knew enough to do more than I did,” he said. “There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”
“I wish I had taken responsibility for what I heard,” he added. “If I had done the work I should have done then, I would have had to not work with him.”
Tarantino did not respond to THR's request for comment.
Weinstein released a statement later in the day, saying Thurman's claims in the Times were being "carefully examined and investigated before deciding whether any legal action against her would be appropriate."
As the story circulated, several Hollywood voices took issue with Tarantino's behavior on the set of Kill Bill. Jessica Chastain specifically responded to Thurman's claims that Tarantino spat in her face and strangled her with a chain when stepping in to do scenes, and Judd Apatow tweeted that Tarantino also "ignored" claims about Weinstein from Kill Bill: Volume 2 star Daryl Hannah.
On Monday, Thurman took to her social media to again share the video and lash out specifically at the Kill Bill producers and Weinstein over what happened. As for Tarantino, she wrote in the post, "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." She added, "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."
Feb. 5, 11:30 a.m. Updated with Thurman Instagram post.