Quentin Tarantino Tries to Explain the Kill Bill Crash, But There Is No Good Explanation for His Old Interview About Polanski
Two Quentin Tarantino interviews surfaced today: one brand-new piece in which he responds to the story of Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill car crash, and another, older interview with Howard Stern in which he says that Roman Polanski’s alleged rape victim “wanted to have it” and that statutory rape is “not rape.”
The most recent of these two is a pretty softball interview with Deadline, in which he tried to respond to the criticism he’s faced since Uma Thurman shared the story of her alleged assault by Harvey Weinstein and her experience on the set of Kill Bill. According to the write-up in the New York Times, Thurman alleges that she got into a car crash that left her with a ““permanently damaged neck” after being pressured by Tarantino into driving a car for a stunt.
Speaking to Deadline, Tarantino said the reaction to the piece had been “kind of hysterical” and claims that, “through mostly Maureen Dowd’s prose, I ended up taking the hit and taking the heat” when Thurman’s real anger was directed at the people responsible for covering up the crash.
Below is his description of how the drive came about:
“I start hearing from the production manager, Bennett Walsh, that Uma is trepidatious about doing the driving shot. None of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt. Maybe we should have, but we didn’t. I’m sure when it was brought up to me, that I rolled my eyes and was irritated. But I’m sure I wasn’t in a rage and I wasn’t livid. I didn’t go barging into Uma’s trailer, screaming at her to get into the car. I can imagine maybe rolling my eyes and thinking, we spent all this money taking this stick shift Karmann Ghia and changing the transmission, just for this shot. Anyone who knows Uma knows that going into her trailer, and screaming at her to do something is not the way to get her to do something. That’s a bad tactic and I’d been shooting the movie with her for an entire year by this time. I would never react to her this way.
Instead, what happened was, I heard her trepidation. And despite that we had set up everything in this shot, I listened to it.”
Tarantino then claims that he himself drove down the road to test it. “I thought, this is going to be okay. This is a straight shot. There are no weird dips, there were no gully kinds of things, no hidden S-curves. Nothing like that. It was just a straight shot. Uma had a license. I knew she was a shaky driver, but she had a license. When I was all finished [driving], I was very happy, thinking, she can totally do this, it won’t be a problem.”
And so, he says, he went into Thurman’s trailer and told her it would be okay.
I came in there all happy telling her she could totally do it, it was a straight line, you will have no problem. Uma’s response was…”Okay.” Because she believed me. Because she trusted me. I told her it would be okay. I told her the road was a straight line. I told her it would be safe. And it wasn’t. I was wrong. I didn’t force her into the car. She got into it because she trusted me. And she believed me …
However, Tarantino says they had to switch the direction of the drive due to the sunlight. He says that he believed “a straight road is a straight road” and thought she would still be fine, since he had tested it.
“That is one of the biggest regrets of my life,” he said. “As a director, you learn things and sometimes you learn them through horrendous mistakes. That was one of my most horrendous mistakes, that I didn’t take the time to run the road, one more time, just to see what I would see.”
Tarantino also claims that he insisted Harvey Weinstein apologize to Uma Thurman before agreeing to make Kill Bill together. He said that when Thurman told him the story of her assault, he realized “there was a pattern” to Weinstein’s behavior. “I made Harvey apologize to Uma … I knew he was lying, that everything Uma was saying, was the truth. When he tried to wriggle out of it, and how things actually happened, I never bought his story. I said, I don’t believe you. I believe her. And if you want to do Kill Bill, you need to make this right.”
Thurman herself posted some support for Tarantino to her Instagram, writing that she believed Tarantino was “deeply regretful” and did not have “malicious intent” when it came to the crash. She also wrote that she was “proud of him” for giving her the footage in order to expose it, and that she holds Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and Harvey Weinstein “solely responsible” for the cover-up after the crash.
“The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. I do not believe though with malicious intent. 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. 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.”
“THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. for this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. they lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity.”
i post this clip to memorialize it’s full exposure in the nyt by Maureen Dowd. the circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality. i do not believe though with malicious intent. 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. 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. THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. for this i hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. they lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress. the cover up did have malicious intent, and shame on these three for all eternity. CAA never sent anyone to Mexico. i hope they look after other clients more respectfully if they in fact want to do the job for which they take money with any decency.
However, on the same day that this interview landed, Jezebel unearthed an older interview that Tarantino did on The Howard Stern Show back in 2003. As part of the segment, Stern reportedly asked Tarantino why Hollywood was still eagerly working with Roman Polanski, describing him as “this madman, this director who raped a 13-year-old.”
Tarantino responded by complaining about Stern’s word choice. “He didn’t rape a 13-year-old,” Tarantino said. “It was statutory rape … he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape. To me, when you use the word rape, you’re talking about violent, throwing them down—it’s like one of the most violent crimes in the world. You can’t throw the word rape around. It’s like throwing the word ‘racist’ around. It just doesn’t apply to everything people use it for.”
Robin Quivers interjected, reminding Tarantino that the victim did not want to have sex with Polanski. Tarantino snapped that this was “not the case.”
Tarantino: No, that was not the case AT ALL. She wanted to have it and dated the guy and—
Quivers: She was 13!
Tarantino: And by the way, we’re talking about America’s morals, we’re not talking about the morals in Europe and everything.
Stern: Wait a second. If you have sex with a 13-year-old girl and you’re a grown man, you know that that’s wrong.
Quivers: … giving her booze and pills …
Tarantino: Look, she was down with this.
While it would appear that Thurman has forgiven Tarantino for what happened on the set of Kill Bill, I don’t think there is any way to justify this older interview. And it personally makes me question whether Tarantino is truly invested in making things right when it comes to his career partnerships with Harvey Weinstein … or just invested in making it all go away.
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