Kill Bill is an incredibly violent film...
Quentin: I’ve done violence before, but I’ve never done it in such an outrageous way. Not that I have any problem with it when it’s not outrageous, but this is definitely taking place not on Planet Earth. It’s a standard staple in Japanese cinema to cut someone’s arm off and for them to have water hoses for veins!
Quentin waited to make the film until Uma gave birth...
Uma: I was incredibly pleased, amazed, overwhelmed—it was a testament to his loyalty, friendship, patience and general goodness.
Quentin: I put a lot of pressure on you then when I waited for six months and now, you really have to deliver.
Uma: They used to call me—not Quentin, he would never do that—from production and they'd say "OK now, when's the baby coming? Because we're trying to schedule." Finally I was like, "Listen guys, you put any more pressure on me to drop this baby, I'm gonna hang onto it! He's gonna be overdue, he's gonna come out with dry feet, I swear to God!"
Quentin: You said, "Everybody, I'm not baking a loaf of bread, I'm having a baby!"
Uma: The kitchen timer doesn't work on this one. But I guess actually it did—that's me, I'm a slave to details.
Daryl was working in London when Quentin told her about Kill Bill...
Daryl: I was in the Queen's Theatre in London in my dressing room after the play and I said, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Quentin: I was going to like play it cool—I wasn't going to tell her I was going to cast her in the movie, I was just going to see the show. But I couldn't lie when she said, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Daryl: Not "Nice to meet you", "What the hell are you doing here?" And he said he came to see me in the play which, thank God, I didn't know or I would have been terrified and not be able to function in the play. And then he told me just a little bit about the movie and that was it until I got the script.
Quentin helped with Julie's makeup in one scene...
Julie: Yes it was the last day of shooting in China and everything had been packed up already; the special effects makeup people and their blood had been flown back to L.A. There was no American blood in China. We ended up doing the scene at the last minute and the makeup artist was just nicely spraying my face trying to make me look beautiful. And Quentin was standing there saying, "More." And she'd put a couple more droplets on me and he'd go, "More!" And then finally he lost patience and he picked up this great big bottle of Chinese blood—it's very different—and poured it on top of my head and I couldn't see what I looked like because I was inside the boot of a car. But when I got out all you could see was the white of my eyes.
Uma: You're just lucky he didn't open a vein! Because with the men he would open a vein.
Quentin: We didn't have time—"I'm not asking for more base, I'm asking for more blood! She's got her arm cut off, OK?" But it wasn't the American or Japanese blood; it was the Chinese blood, which means that after you wipe it off it stays. You know, she had a birthmark, alright? Pigmentation.
On discovering inventive ways to hack at the body...
Quentin: When I came to do the House of Blue Leaves sequence where Uma fights the Crazy 88 samurai guys, I was trying to think up every inventive, most entertaining way for her to dismember and disembowel and put to an end those bastards! I was out there trying to create one of the greatest, most exciting sequences in the history of cinema, so I was definitely working overtime. What do I want to see? What haven’t I seen? It took me about a year to write that fight sequence. One of the things I’m actually really proud of is the fact that the movie doesn’t stop while that scene goes on. I think there’s actually storytelling in the course of it. When I wrote it I didn’t want this stand-alone action scene; it was like the rest of the script, I was working my way through it. I can’t just hop from here to here and just say I’ll just fill that in later. It’s more organic than that. But when I didn’t have a middle section, what I would do is think of something I’d seen in a cool kung fu movie, like a cool moment that Sammo Hung did in this movie, or Wang Yu did in that movie, and that would fill the space in between. Over the course of a year I would constantly rewrite it until all those things I’d taken from other movies were gone, so it was all filled with original stuff.
Genres he won't be paying homage to...
Quentin: I’m not really a big fan of Victorian drama kind of movies, for the simple fact that at the end of the day they’re movies about people trying to fight society and being knuckled under because of it. They're movies about people who are following rules, or who are destroyed for breaking rules. I like movies about people who break rules, movies about mavericks, and I don’t like movies about people who are pulverised for being a maverick. Another genre I’m not really that into is biography. I don’t think they create interesting cinema. They create a great performance, there’s a great character for a person to play, but there's few persons in this world that their whole life is interesting enough to make a movie. If I was ever to do a biography I’d follow someone for three days – not their whole life, not when they're young and middle-aged and then finally in their old age. If I was looking to do a movie about Elvis Presley, I’d do it about the day he walked into Sun Records and that would be it.
On getting into top physical shape after having a baby...
Uma: The pressure was immense. Denial was really the best way to move forward, in order to break it down into the smallest possible pieces. I had a constantly moving goal line: I will do my best, today, the next hour, in this shot, and I will stand back up again after I fall down. That was sort of how I had to take it, pretty much for five months. There was three months of training, and that was pretty momentous. Mind you, when I first put my tracksuit on to go down for my make-up and hair test, it was the first time I was remotely in a presentable shape of someone who was going to take on 88 people. I had tears in my eyes. The entire wardrobe department had bloody fingers from taking that costume in every week—because I was slowly shrinking and it was getting down to the wire. Is she going to make it? Or is this going to be kind of funny for Quentin, this very large-bottomed Samurai.
Quentin: You say that like it's a bad thing!
Uma: He wouldn't have minded really, he would have had a lot of butt shots. Quentin is a friend of booty, I think.
Quentin: Nothing wrong with a big back yard!
Uma: There, from the horse's mouth.