With the #MeToo movement and exposés on the frequent sexual abuse and misuse of power allegations from famous Hollywood executive Harvey Weinstein, a lot of old stories are coming out. Dozens of women have come forward to say that Weinstein abused them, and the studio heads, directors, and actors who knew about it are being called into question.
On Saturday, the New York Times interviewed Uma Thurman, who had previously said she'd been attacked by Weinstein. She also says she feels terrible about all the women who may have been attacked by him after her, in part because of the powerful roles she played in Weinstein-backed films, like Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill.
“I am one of the reasons that a young girl would walk into his room alone, the way I did. Quentin used Harvey as the executive producer of ‘Kill Bill,’ a movie that symbolizes female empowerment. And all these lambs walked into slaughter because they were convinced nobody rises to such a position who would do something illegal to you, but they do.”
She also shared a story that she claims she's been struggling to expose for years. On the set of Kill Bill, Thurman was pressured to drive a car down a winding sand road by Tarantino, thought she says she strenuously objected and asked them to hire a stunt driver.
“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. He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road.’”
Thurman says he persuaded her to do it and set some parameters: "‘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 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 has been trying for years to get the footage of what happened next. It has finally been released, and she posted it to her Instagram account on Monday:
The road turned out to be incredibly slippery. You can see how Thurman is struggling to keep control of the car, and then loses control, hitting a tree. Her body is violently shaken in the crash.
Thurman says the steering wheel hit her torso and her legs took the brunt of the impact. She briefly feared she wouldn't be able to walk.
“I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she said. “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.”
After that, the relationship between Tarantino and Thurman soured. She was trying to get the footage of her accident, and was being given the runaround by Weinstein and other producers, and believed Tarantino was behind some of her difficulties. In a new interview response with Deadline, Tarantino denies knowing anything of Thurman's struggle in that regard.
"Uma thought I had acquiesced to them not letting her see the footage. I didn’t know any of that was necessarily going on. I knew they weren’t letting her see the footage, but I didn’t know she thought I was part of that. She had just told me they hadn’t let her see the footage," Tarantino says.
He also explained that he had thought the road was straight, because he drove it himself. He never tested it going the opposite direction, and had Thurman go both directions. He thought the curve came out of nowhere.
"I thought, a straight road is a straight road and I didn’t think I needed to run the road again to make sure there wasn’t any difference, going in the opposite direction. Again, that is one of the biggest regrets of my life. 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."
But the crash isn't the only issue Thurman has with Tarantino. She brought up some of his abusive tendencies as a director, alleging how he stepped into or two actors in scenes, once to choke her and once to spit on her face.
Tarantino mentioned that fact in his interview, suggesting it was Thurman's idea. He then brought up the fact that he has choked another actress "for real" on the set of Inglourious Basterds— actress Diane Kruger. He gave a pretty detailed account of that, for some reason:
"When I did Inglourious Basterds, and I went to Diane [Kruger], and I said, look, I’ve got to strangle you. If it’s just a guy with his hands on your neck, not putting any kind of pressure and you’re just doing this wiggling death rattle, it looks like a normal movie strangulation. It looks movie-ish. But you’re not going to get the blood vessels bulging, or the eyes filling it with tears, and you’re not going to get the sense of panic that happens when your air is cut off. What I would like to do, with your permission, is just…commit to choking you, with my hands, in a closeup."
Kruger has responded on Instagram, and she certainly doesn't seem mad at Tarantino at all.
She wrote in the caption:
In light of the recent allegations made by Uma Thurman against Harvey Weinstein and her terrifying work experience on “Kill Bill”, my name has been mentioned in numerous articles in regards to the choking scene in “Inglourious Basterds”. This is an important moment in time and my heart goes out to Uma and anyone who has ever been the victim of sexual assault and abuse. I stand with you.
For the record however, I would like to say that my work experience with Quentin Tarantino was pure joy. He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with. With love, D xoxo
It's a complicated story to unravel, especially as Tarantino has been working for decades, and come into contact with all sorts of people. That means he's left a long history behind, and the less savory aspects of it are popping up.
Jezebel recently published an old excerpt of Tarantino being interviewed on Howard Stern about director Roman Polanski. In the interview, Tarantino takes the pretty strange position that Polanski did not rape a 13-year-old girl, though he was literally convicted of that crime and then fled from his jail sentence.
"He didn't rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape, that's not quite the same thing," Tarantino said. "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."
He added, "You can't throw the word 'rape' around, it's like throwing the word 'racist' around. It doesn't apply to everything people use it for. He was guilty of having sex with a minor."
Considering how often Tarantino is accused of being a racist because of his use of the n-word, this analogy is probably close to his heart.
The interview is from 2003, but folks are as mad as if it were yesterday, including many actresses:
Tarantino is a a real life example of what it means to open up a can of worms. They just keep crawling out.