Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill Driving Nightmare

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Uma Thurman's Car Crash on set of "Kill Bill"If you work in the entertainment industry you have probably heard about Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill driving nightmare where she does her own “stunt driving” while filming the original Kill Bill (2003).

“Tarantino recalled the day of the scene, saying that ‘none of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving.’ Thurman, however, said she voiced trepidation to Tarantino about operating the vehicle on a sandy road. ‘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,’ the director said.” Quentin Tarantino Breaks Silence on Uma Thurman Crash

When actors or stunt performers are coerced into taking on stunts they are not prepared to do, things can go from bad to worse, and then turn deadly, and this is a serious problem for everyone in the entertainment industry.

Below is an excerpt from an article in Variety about Uma Thurman’s Kill Bill driving nightmare. The details are not perfectly accurate, there are two sides to the story, but the results we want from this situation is more safety for both actors and stunt performers.

By Owen Gleiberman ~ Variety “The every bit as jarring news in Thurman’s account is what transpired between her and Tarantino. In Mexico, nine months into the shooting of “Kill Bill” (the film had yet to be sliced into two volumes), just four days before the picture was set to wrap, Tarantino, filming a crucial sequence — the heroine’s ride to vengeance — asked Thurman to step into a rickety blue Karmann Ghia and cruise down a sandy rural road at 40 miles per hour. She didn’t want to do it, and said so. A teamster on the set had informed her that the car was faulty; the sequence, from every indication, needed a stunt driver. But Tarantino wanted Thurman in the car — he craved the cathartic cinematic realness of it. And once he insisted, she gave in.

She drove and drove, and wound up losing control of the vehicle, which slid off the road and crashed into a palm tree, seriously injuring Thurman’s back and her knees (injuries she suffers from to this day). She considered suing Miramax, but wasn’t able to get hold of the accident footage captured by the camera mounted on the back of the car. Weinstein, the lawyers at Miramax, and — yes — Tarantino knew the footage was actionable, and kept it from her. (They’d relinquish it only if she signed a waiver releasing them from liability.) She has the footage now, though, and has made it public. Watch the video, and you’ll see that every bit as disturbing as the car crash is the casual, all-in-a-day’s-work way that Thurman is hoisted out of the car (with Tarantino hovering), as if to deny the damage of what just happened.

So how could it have happened? The answer — or much of it, anyway — resides in Quentin Tarantino’s head. That’s why we need to hear it. And reflect on it. And judge it.”

Quentin Tarantino Explains Everything: Uma Thurman, The ‘Kill Bill’ Crash