Quentin Tarantino is speaking out about Uma Thurman’s explosive interview with the New York Times, in which she alleges that Harvey Weinstein sexually assaulted her and that the “Kill Bill” director forced her to drive in a dangerous stunt that wound up in a car crash.
Speaking with Deadline, Tarantino takes full responsibility of putting Thurman behind the wheel of the car in the scene; the actress shared footage of the crash, which Tarantino supplied her, to the New York Times. It can be seen below.
“I am guilty for putting her in that car but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it,” Tarantino tells Deadline. “It’s the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt. There are certain things I can’t get too far into the weeds on, but I will answer any questions you have about it.”
According to Tarantino, the Times interview did not come as a surprise, as Thurman had previously discussed it with him. “The thing is, Uma had people she wanted to indict, for that cover-up. Part of my job on the piece was to do an interview with Maureen Dowd, and back up Uma’s claims. And we never hooked up. Me and Dowd never hooked up. 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.”
Tarantino also confirmed that he was the one who supplied Thurman with the shocking footage, which had been denied her for years. “I figured that eventually it would be used whenever she had her big piece,” he says. “Also, there was an element of closure. She had been denied it, from Harvey Weinstein, being able to even see the footage. I wanted to deliver it to her so she could look at it. So she could see it and help her with her memory of the incident. I never talked to Uma about this, but I don’t exactly know exactly what caused the crash, and Uma doesn’t know exactly what caused the crash. She has her suspicions and I have mine. I thought, If I get this footage to her and she puts it out there in the world, that a crash expert can look at it and determine exactly what happened on that road.”
Tarantino also describes how he felt when he witnessed Thurman’s car veer off the road and smash into a tree. “Just horrible. Watching her fight for the wheel… remembering me hammering about how it was safe and she could do it. Emphasizing that it was a straight road, a straight road… the fact that she believed me, and I literally watched this little S curve pop up,” admits Tarantino. “And it spins her like a top. It was heartbreaking. Beyond one of the biggest regrets of my career, it is one of the biggest regrets of my life. For a myriad of reasons.”
In fact, Tarantino admits the incident caused a rift between him and Thurman. “It affected me and Uma for the next two to three years,” he says. “It wasn’t like we didn’t talk. But a trust was broken. A trust broken over a year of shooting, of us doing really gnarly stuff. Doing really big stunt stuff. I wanted her to do as much as possible and we were trying to take care of her and we pulled it off. She didn’t get hurt. And then the last four days, in what we thought would be a simple driving shot, almost kills her.”
Tarantino also reveals that after then-girlfriend Mira Sorvino confided in him about her experiences with Weinstein, he began to see a pattern emerge when Thurman told him her Weinstein story.
“While we were getting ready to do ‘Kill Bill’, Uma tells me that he had done the same thing to her,” says Tarantino. “That was when I realized there was a pattern, in Harvey’s luring and pushing attacks. So I made Harvey apologize to Uma. In the Maureen Dowd article it says, that is when Quentin confronted Harvey? Well, my confrontation was saying, you have to go to Uma. This happened. You have to apologize to her and she has to accept your apology if we’re going to do ‘Kill Bill’ together.”
While he could tell Weinstein was “de-emphasizing” his behaviour, Tarantino says that he “knew [Weinstein] was lying, that everything Uma was saying, was the truth. 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.'”
In addition, Tarantino admits he’s still trying to come to terms with Weinstein’s alleged behaviour. “I’ve already dealt with my…complacency…in chalking it up to this harmless form of…” he says.
“For some reason that now feels wrong, back in 1999, it was easier to chalk up what he was doing, to this mid-‘60s, ‘Mad Men’, ‘Bewitched’ era of an executive chasing the secretary around the desk,” he adds. “Now, it’s like… as if that was ever OK! One of the things that has happened in this whole thing is there is a lot of staring in the mirror. And thinking about, how did you think about things during that time? What did you do in that time? What was your feeling about things, at that time? I remember when Mira told me about the time Harvey tried to get up in her apartment. I remember being shocked and appalled and that that was going on in today’s Hollywood. The big question I keep asking myself is, When did that shock go away?”
You can read the entire interview with Tarantino right here.