Uma Thurman Told The New York Times Why She’s So Angry with Harvey Weinstein and Quentin Tarantino
In a sit-down with the The New York Times, Uma Thurman finally felt ready to discuss her #MeToo story. Thurman had previously said she was not yet ready to comment on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, because she was “waiting … to feel less angry.” She had also posted on Instagram, telling Weinstein “You don’t deserve a bullet.” In the sit-down with the Times, she claims that not only did Harvey Weinstein assault her, but that Quentin Tarantino forced her to undertake a dangerous stunt on the set of Kill Bill that left her with a “permanently damaged neck and  screwed-up knees.”
“Personally,” Thurman said, “it has taken me 47 years to stop calling people who are mean to you ‘in love’ with you. It took a long time, because I think that as little girls we are conditioned to believe that cruelty and love somehow have a connection and that is like the sort of era that we need to evolve out of.”
In the article, Thurman details her allegedly abusive working relationships with both Quentin Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein. Weinstein, she says, attacked her after grooming her and developing a relationship. “He used to spend hours talking to me about material and complimenting my mind and validating me,” she said. “It possibly made me overlook warning signs. This was my champion.”
As a result, when he allegedly attacked her in London, she said, “It was such a bat to the head. He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things. But he didn’t actually put his back into it and force me. You’re like an animal wriggling away, like a lizard. I was doing anything I could to get the train back on the track. My track. Not his track.”
She said that Weinstein sent her a bunch of roses the next day, with a note that read, “You have great instincts.”
Thurman said she later went to confront Weinstein about his behavior in a hotel, but her memory of the encounter cuts out. According to a friend who accompanied her, Thurman came out of the room looking “so upset … Her eyes were crazy and she was totally out of control.” According to this friend, Weinstein had threatened to derail Thurman’s career.
However, Thurman said the incident that made her feel truly powerless happened on the set of Kill Bill with director Quentin Tarantino. According to Thurman, Tarantino wanted her to perform a stunt by driving a car that she “didn’t feel comfortable operating” due to concerns about the car’s safety. “Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” she said. “He was furious because I’d cost them a lot of time. But I was scared.” Tarantino allegedly assured her it would be fine and persuaded her to drive the car, but Thurman said, “that was a deathbox that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road.”
Thurman crashed while driving the vehicle, and she had to be taken to the hospital afterwards. “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,” she said, “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.”
Thurman then alleges that Tarantino and Miramax wouldn’t give her the footage of the accident for nearly 15 years. She claims that Miramax would only agree to show her the footage if she legally “releas[ed] them of any consequences of my future pain and suffering.” She says she refused to sign any such release.
Thurman also alleges that Tarantino undertook some of the violent stunts from Kill Bill himself. She said that he was the one “spitting in her face in the scene where Michael Madsen is seen on screen doing it and choking her with a chain in the scene where a teenager named Gogo is on screen doing it.”
“Harvey assaulted me, but that didn’t kill me,” she said. “What really got me about the crash was that it was a cheap shot. I had been through so many rings of fire by that point. I had really always felt a connection to the greater good in my work with Quentin and most of what I allowed to happen to me and what I participated in was kind of like a horrible mud wrestle with a very angry brother. But at least I had some say, you know?”
“When they turned on me after the accident,” she said, “I went from being a creative contributor and performer to being like a broken tool.”
Thurman also said that her feelings about Weinstein’s attack on her are complicated by a sense of complicity. “The complicated feeling I have about Harvey is how bad I feel about all the women that were attacked after I was,” she said. “I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did … I stand as both a person who was subjected to it and a person who was then also part of the cloud cover, so that’s a super weird split to have.”
“I used the word ‘anger’ but I was more worried about crying, to tell you the truth,” she said of her emotions. “I was not a groundbreaker on a story I knew to be true. So what you really saw was a person buying time.”
I encourage you to read the entire piece if you have access. It’s a brave, troubling portrait of what she’s endured in her career, and of the many ways that women in Hollywood are dehumanized and discarded.
(Via The New York Times; image: Jaguar PS / Shutterstock.com)
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