Film director Quentin Tarantino has come under fire in the wake of Uma Thurman’s recent revelations to the New York Times that she was treated abysmally on the set of her star vehicle, “Kill Bill.”
Ever since the predatory behavior of disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein went public, Thurman has been haunted by her own arduous encounters with Weinstein. In the Times article, though, Thurman emotionally recounts the painful injuries she suffered due to an on-set accident that she claims was covered up by Weinstein and others associated with the movie. The actress also reveals that she was spit on and choked by Tarantino during the filming.
According to Thurman, she was “dehumanized to the point of death” during the movie shoot. She now indicates that Tarantino pressured her into doing a car stunt while the final days of filming were in progress.
Thurman claims that she initially objected to participating in the scene after being told that the car, which had been converted from a stick shift to an automatic, might not be safe.
“I was scared,” she said. “The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road.”
After the car crash, Thurman came back from a visit to the hospital wearing a neck brace. She had a concussion, a neck injury, and her knees were severely injured. She still deals with physical problems from the accident.
Keith Adams, the stunt coordinator who worked on the “Kill Bill“ films, is now speaking out concerning Uma’s allegations, and it may be causing Tarantino to feel more than a bit uncomfortable with what is being said. In an email sent to The Hollywood Reporter, Adams recalled the day that Thurman suffered the accident and remembered that he and all of his stunt staffers were kept away from the set.
“No stunts of any kind were scheduled for the day of Ms. Thurman’s accident. All of the stunt department was put on hold and no one from the stunt department was called to set,” Adams noted.
“At no point was I notified or consulted about Ms. Thurman driving a car on camera that day,” Adams added. “Had I been involved I would have insisted not only on putting a professional driver behind the wheel but also insuring that the car itself was road worthy and safe.”
Adams remarks have served to bolster Thurman’s allegations. In her Times interview, the actress had described the 1973 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia convertible used in the scene as a “deathbox” and additionally claimed that “the seat wasn’t screwed down properly.”
Tarantino, in an apologetic interview with Deadline, characterized Thurman’s car accident as “one of the biggest regrets” of his life. The director admitted that he had engaged in both the choking and the spitting but claimed that the actress had given her consent. The film director also maintained that no one involved in the production had “ever considered it a stunt” but rather viewed it as “just driving.”
Older vehicles that are used for stunt driving during movie productions are frequently inadequately maintained. In watching the video of the crash, which is posted on Thurman’s Instragram account, it can easily be seen that the vehicle is lacking head restraints, shoulder belts, and roll bars.
The actors and broadcast union, SAG-AFTRA, indicated in a statement that the scene in question “sounds like a stunt and would be a likely safety violation.”
Clearly, the footage one sees in the video, depicting an old convertible traveling down a curved sandy road at 40 mph, is the kind of scene that should have been handled by a professional stunt person under the supervision of a stunt coordinator following proper safety procedures, thereby avoiding the exposure of undue risk to a lead actress.
Tarantino has admitted that the road Thurman drove upon while shooting the scene ended up taking a “little S-curve” for which Thurman had not been prepared.
“The circumstances of this event were negligent to the point of criminality,” Thurman stated on her Instagram account. “I do not believe though with malicious intent.”
However, the actress called the cover-up after the fact “unforgivable.” The spitting and choking episodes add to the cumulative impression that Tarantino took advantage of his leverage as a director.
Unfortunately, the director has partnered with Weinstein throughout his career. It is common knowledge in the entertainment community that anyone who worked closely with Weinstein on multiple projects, as Tarantino did, would have been well aware of Weinstein’s predatory proclivities.
Tarantino acknowledged he feels ashamed that he did not take a stronger stand and cut his ties to Weinstein.
“I knew enough to do more than I did,” the director said.