Up until now, Quentin Tarantino had declined to comment on Maureen Dowd’s recent Uma Thurman story in the New York Times. The piece discussed at length Thurman’s claim that Harvey Weinstein allegedly assaulted her, the injuries she suffered following a collision while filming Kill Bill, and the chilling effect the on-set crash had on her relationship with the director for years, during which she alleges Weinstein and CAA attempted to conceal the severity of the incident. Now, in a lengthy interview with Deadline, Tarantino says he knew about Thurman’s New York Times piece and had intended on speaking to its author to confirm his former leading lady’s story. His failure to do so, Tarantino claims, led to a disproportionate amount of ire being thrown his way, instead of toward Weinstein. “Me and Dowd never hooked up,” the director says. “I read the article and basically it seemed like all the other guys lawyered up, so they weren’t even allowed to be named. And, through mostly Maureen Dowd’s prose, I ended up taking the hit and taking the heat.”
When it comes to the on-set car accident in question, however, Tarantino’s story diverges from the one told by Thurman, who recalls the director becoming “furious” when she said she didn’t feel comfortable driving in what turned out to be an unsafe situation. Says Tarantino, “I’m sure when it was brought up to me, that I rolled my eyes and was irritated. But I’m sure I wasn’t in a rage and I wasn’t livid.” Having driven the road himself, the director was confident there would be no issue with the shot. In the end, however, he decided to flip the direction Thurman would be driving. That, combined with a sudden turn, a sandy roadway and an overloaded car, the director acknowledges, likely contributed to her accident. “Again, that is one of the biggest regrets of my life,” Tarantino admits. “As a director, you learn things and sometimes you learn them through horrendous mistakes.”
The director also reflected further on his understanding of Harvey Weinstein’s pattern of misconduct against women in the industry, including Tarantino’s one-time girlfriend Mira Sorvino. “I was horrified for her and frankly embarrassed for him, that he had to make desperate moves like that,” Tarantino said after Sorvino informed him Weinstein had allegedly sexually harassed her. “Me and Mira became boyfriend and girlfriend and he backed off, all the way. I figured he was having a big crush on Mira.”
When Thurman eventually informed Tarantino about Weinstein’s sexual harassment and assault toward her, the director asserts that he confronted the producer and made him apologize to her, says Tarantino. “When he tried to wriggle out of it, and how things actually happened, I never bought his story. I said, I don’t believe you. I believe her. And if you want to do Kill Bill, you need to make this right.” The director also confirms that he did, as Dowd’s article claims, spit on Thurman and choke her with a chain for two separate scenes during the filming of Kill Bill. While remarkably gruesome out of context, Tarantino alleges both sequences were shot with the actress’s consent. “I couldn’t have respected Uma more during the making of the movie,” the director insists.
On Monday, Thurman posted a clip of the Kill Bill accident with a caption absolving Tarantino of any wrongdoing. “Quentin Tarantino, was deeply regretful and remains remorseful about this sorry event, and gave me the footage years later so I could expose it and let it see the light of day, regardless of it most likely being an event for which justice will never be possible,” she wrote. “[H]e also did so with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm, and I am proud of him for doing the right thing and for his courage.”