Not too many hours ago Quentin Tarantinogot in touch with Deadline‘s Michael Fleming to discuss the Uma Thurman car crash incident on the set of Kill Bill, as passed along in a 2.3 article by the N.Y. Times‘ Maureen Dowd.
The article’s implication was that Tarantino had strong-armed Thurman into performing an unsafe driving stunt and thereby caused her much grief and pain. Except it wasn’t that simple, Tarantino explains in the transcript. He made a mistake, he says, by reversing the direction of the shot but without test-driving it himself. He knew Thurman “was a shaky driver, but she had a license,” he says. The stunt was “a little thing” but he fucked up all the same. Ever since, he says, he’s been upset and sorry that he allowed it to happen.
Here’s a key portion of what QT told Fleming:
“Watching [Uma] fight for the wheel…remembering me hammering about how it was safe and she could do it. Emphasizing that it was a straight road, a straight road…the fact that she believed me, and I literally watched this little S curve pop up. And it spins her like a top. It was heartbreaking. Beyond one of the biggest regrets of my career, it is one of the biggest regrets of my life. For a myriad of reasons.
“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.“The road had more sand, and less dirt, than we actually anticipated. We changed the direction. That was a bad idea, to do that without checking it out. I think ultimately it is the reason she crashed. Although by mounting a camera on the back of this little Karmann Ghia, it made the car, in the back, way too heavy once it got in trouble. At a certain point, this Karmann Ghia was almost hydroplaning on the sand. You can even see that in the shot. She doesn’t drive into the tree. The car just goes into a spin, in the sand. And it slides into the tree.”