Quentin Tarantino defends choking and spitting on Uma Thurman during 'Kill Bill' production

  • A recent New York Times interview with Uma Thurman revealed that “Kill Bill” director Quentin Tarantino spat on her, and choked her with a chain, to get the performance he wanted.
  • Tarantino defended his tactics in an interview with Deadline.

In an interview with The New York Times published over the weekend, actress Uma Thurman said Quentin Tarantino, who directed her in “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” spat on her and choked her with a chain during filming.

Tarantino doesn’t dispute that, but he thinks his actions were characterised unfairly.

In an interview with Deadline published Monday, Tarantino defended himself and criticised the way Times journalist Maureen Dowd wrote the article.

“Naturally, I did it,” Tarantino said about the spitting scene. “Who else should do it? A grip? One, I didn’t trust [actor] Michael Madsen because, I don’t know where the spit’s going to go, if Michael Madsen does it. I talked to Uma and I said, look. I’ve got to kind of commit to doing this to you.”

Tarantino said they tried to use fake spit, but it didn’t look real enough.

As to the choking, Tarantino said the way the scene was shot was actually Thurman’s idea.

“I was assuming that when we did it, we would have maybe a pole behind Uma that the chain would be wrapped around so it wouldn’t be seen by the camera, at least for the wide shot,” he said. “But then it was Uma’s suggestion. To just wrap the thing around her neck, and choke her.”

The Times piece didn’t note whether Tarantino’s tactics were Thurman’s idea, or if she approved of them.

Here is how Dowd described it:

Thurman says that in “Kill Bill,” Tarantino had done the honours with some of the sadistic flourishes himself, spitting in her face in the scene where Michael Madsen is seen on screen doing it and choking her with a chain in the scene where a teenager named Gogo is on screen doing it.

On Tuesday, actress Diane Kruger, who starred in Tarantino’s 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds,” which involved a choking scene, shared an Instagram post in the director’s defence:

“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.”

But other Hollywood stars criticised Tarantino’s actions, and the portrayal of violence against women in the industry.

One was Jessica Chastain, who wrote on Twitter, “I keep imagining Tarantino spitting in Uma’s face and strangling her with a chain for KILL BILL. How many images of women in media do we celebrate that showcase abuse? When did this become normalized ‘entertainment?'”

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