With such an illustrious career in filmmaking so far, it would be fair to assume Quentin Tarantino has very few regrets. That said, in a 2018 interview with Deadline, Tarantino revealed that he had a major regret from his time filming Kill Bill with actor and frequent collaborator Uma Thurman.
In an interview with The New York Times, also published in 2018, Thurman recalled a tempestuous argument she had with Tarantino while shooting Kill Bill. While filming the 2003 blockbuster, Tarantino persuaded Thurman to perform a dangerous car-driving scene on set, which ended with a violent car crash, a trip to the hospital and a great deal of retribution from the injured actor.
During the subsequent argument, Thurman accused the over-eager Tarantino of trying to get her killed. Some 15 years later, with the placation of time and hindsight, Thurman admitted that the Pulp Fiction director hadn’t acted with “malicious intent”, per a post on her Instagram page.
In his conversation with Deadline at around the same time, Tarantino revealed that the incident still plays on his mind. He gave his account of the events. “None of us ever considered it a stunt,” the director said. “Maybe we should have, but we didn’t.”
He said he drove the strip of road himself first to ensure it would be “easy and safe enough for Uma to drive. I came in there all happy, telling her she could totally do it, it was a straight line, you will have no problem.”
“I told her it would be safe. And it wasn’t. I was wrong,” he said. “I didn’t force her into the car. She got into it because she trusted me.” Tarantino said, because of the lighting, it was decided at the last minute to have Thurman drive the car in the opposite direction.
“And I didn’t think I needed to run the road again to make sure there wasn’t any difference, going in the opposite direction,” he said. “That was one of my most horrendous mistakes, that I didn’t take the time to run the road one more time.”
“It wasn’t the straight shot that it had been, going the other way,” he said. “There is a little mini S-curve. She’s flying along, and she thinks it’s a straight road, and as far as she can see, it is a straight road out her windshield. And then it takes this little S-curve, and she’s not prepared for it. And it threw the car out of control,” he said remorsefully.
“And it spins her like a top,” Tarantino added. “It was heartbreaking. Beyond one of the biggest regrets of my career, it is one of the biggest regrets of my life.”
“I felt this searing pain and thought, ‘Oh my God, I’m never going to walk again,’” Thurman told the New York Times. “Quentin and I had an enormous fight, and I accused him of trying to kill me.”
According to Thurman, at the time, Miramax, the production company, told her that she could see footage of the crash if she gave up her right to sue. She declined.
In her 2018 Instagram post, Thurman lashed out at the producers Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and Harvey Weinstein. “THE COVER UP after the fact is UNFORGIVABLE. For this, I hold Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, and the notorious Harvey Weinstein solely responsible. They lied, destroyed evidence, and continue to lie about the permanent harm they caused and then chose to suppress,” she wrote.
Watch the footage of the crash, later released by The New York Times, below.