Kknown for her iconic roles in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, Uma Thurman has finally spoken out about what Mia Wallace and Beatrix Kiddo went through behind the scenes of both blockbuster films. Uma shared how she’s been a victim of Hollywood directors Harvey Weinstien and Quentin Tarantino’s abuse on and off set – including an incident that almost killed her.
During the uproar over Harvey Weinstein’s numerous sexual assault allegations late last year, an Access Hollywood interviewer asked Uma what she thought. She responded, ‘I have been waiting to feel less angry, and when I’m ready I’ll say what I have to say.’
Last week she finally gave a detailed interview to The New York Times. The overall tone of the interview is rueful and anguished, as is often the case with anyone who has survived sexual and physical abuse – elements of self-blame and ‘should haves’ are pretty evident throughout. Uma recalled the time she was first vulnerable in Weinstein’s company, but noted that she didn’t ‘feel threatened.’ His unsolicited advances escalated after this first encounter, though. She threatened to expose him, but it would appear that Weinstein’s counter-threat rattled her into silence.
Uma also told the story of Quentin Tarantino’s behaviour behind the scenes of Kill Bill. She had to work with Weinstein again on the set of this film, but she also had to fight Tarantino’s demand for her to drive a convertible even though she did not feel ready to, resulting in an accident which almost cost her life.
She shared the following with The New York Times’ Maureen Dowd: ‘Quentin came into my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director. 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.” He persuaded [me] to do it, and instructed: “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.’
It took her 15 years to obtain the footage that shows her wrestle with the car before it crashes into a palm tree, leaving her with a ‘permanently damaged neck and screwed-up knees.’
‘Harvey [may have] assaulted me but that didn’t kill me. 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?’ she shared with Dowd.
Uma’s Thanksgiving Instagram post was an image from the car scene in Kill Bill, and her caption was clearly aimed at both men. ‘I am grateful today, to be alive, for all those I love, and for all those who have the courage to stand up for others. I said I was angry recently, and I have a few reasons, #metoo, in case you couldn’t tell by the look on my face. I feel it’s important to take your time, be fair, be exact, so… Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! (Except you Harvey, and all your wicked conspirators – I’m glad it’s going slowly – you don’t deserve a bullet) – stay tuned. Uma Thurman’
But what came from Uma’s bravery is a very poignant message to younger women and girls: ‘Personally, 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.’