Uma Thurman says Quentin Tarantino forced her to drive a car she couldn't properly operate during the filming of Kill Bill, resulting in a crash that left her permanent injuries. pic.twitter.com/Ae7tuEI3Tt— LadyS™ (@LadySreviews) February 3, 2018
In the silent video, which can also be seen here, Thurman is seen speeding down a winding road and struggling to keep control of the Karmann Ghia. She eventually hits a tree, but survives. Crew members finally arrive at the crash to help her out of the car. Director Quentin Tarantino is seen leaning in to talk to her. Later, Thurman smiles as she struggles to get out of the car.
The scene was being filmed near the end of production, and showed Thurman's Beatrix Kiddo on the way to kill Bill.
Thurman told the Times she was warned by a teamster that the car was not working that well after it was converted from a stuck shift to an automatic. She said she told crew members she was uncomfortable driving the car herself, and said a stunt person should drive it instead. Producers told the Times they did not remember her objecting.
“Quentin came in my trailer and didn’t like to hear no, like any director,” the actress told the Times. “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.’”
Later, Tarantino convinced her to drive. He told her, “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," Thurman said of the car. "The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road."
"The steering wheel was at my belly and my legs were jammed under me,” she recalled. “I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” she says. “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.”
At the time, Thurman's marriage to Ethan Hawke was almost over, but the actor still rushed to the scene to be with Thurman. He told the Times he scolded Tarantino, who was "very upset with himself and asked for my forgiveness."
Thurman said she spent part of the last 15 years trying to get her hands on the footage. Miramax, the studio behind the film, offered to show it to her if she signed an agreement "releasing them of any consequences of my future pain and suffering." She did not sign.
After that, Thurman never appeared in another Tarantino film. She said they had a "fateful fight" in 2004, when he refused to give her the footage. After the #MeToo movement began, Thurman remembered her “dehumanization to the point of death” and approached Tarantino again for the footage. He finally gave it to her.
“Quentin finally atoned by giving it to me after 15 years, right?” she told the Times. “Not that it matters now, with my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees.”
Tarantino did not provide the Times with a comment.
Thurman also gave details of being physically assaulted by Harvey Weinstein. The disgraced movie producer, who worked on Tarantino's Kill Bill films, has denied the allegations and is considering taking legal action.
Photo credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions