On getting into shape (continued)...|
Uma: But then we pretty much went straight into the sequence in the House of Blue Leaves, which was deceptively expanded. In normal film-world language, when you look on the schedule, or when you look at a 220-page script and your director says to you, "This is going to be a 90-minute film," you think OK, this is going to be quick and out—in complete ignorance. On the schedule, that sequence was meant to be two weeks. In any normal movie, if a sequence were to say go a third, or 50 percent or double its time, you'd consider it a cataclysmic failure on the side of production. So having a life in the movies these are rules that you believe somehow might apply in some universe. Eight weeks later when I walked off that set covered in blood, with my sword, and my beautiful fight team behind me, I fell to my knees. I realised I had been involved in something and done something that was going to break every rule in cinema, and I was on a completely different journey.
On a favourite method of killing...
Uma: As the Bride, I have to be very self-sacrificing, noble: me and my sword! I'm very possessive of my sword. I earned it. I became one with it, and it took a long time. When I first had it, it was, "Go like this" [holds arm out front] and I was like, "Sure" [hits forehead]! I learned the hard way how to handle that thing. So my favourite thing was the journey that took me to that sword, and it was the hardest journey that you can go through. You know, choking the girls, having a big slap-fest with Daryl, which you have to look forward to—we had a good time. Chopping off Julie's arm—sorry Julie! She sprayed me with her blood though and really messed up my good suit right away. She was supposed to keep it off me so I'd had a few more moments looking peppy.
Quentin: You had a Rorschach test right here across your breasts from the get go—word one!
Uma: Word one, here we go, outfit stained. But of course there are always going to be things that you won't do.
Quentin: Well there's a lot of things I wouldn't ask her to do too! Not many but a few.
Uma: A long time before production, he called me up all kind of blushy and nervous on the phone, and said Uma I'm going to read you something, I really don't know how you'll feel. I feel really bad about it, and you can have any reaction you want. And he proceeded to read me a far meatier version of the F*ck Buck scene. He read me just the goriest, most violent, multi-rape, Frances Farmer style sequence, complete with a fantasy sequence that went on, and went to hell.
Quentin: You liked the hell part!
Uma: I loved the hell part. The villain ended up having his behind smacked by a cloven footed...
Quentin: Yeah, I'll describe it. After she kills Buck and bashes that door into his head, it cuts to a title card that says, you know, "One Week Later ... In Hell!" [WARNING! This is so obscene that you'll have to highlight it to read it, if you dare: And all the centaurs and minotaurs are lining up to gang-f*ck Buck, alright? And then a big minotaur with a big, bald, blue, veiny d*ck ramming it up his *ss, and another hoof is smacking his cheek, he's crying in pain, the devils are laughing, they're playing little violins.]
Uma: See that's Quentin's conscience in action! He felt so badly about this gang raping of the Bride that he had to add in—maybe it was just to get through the call with me—this hell sequence. It was quite fantastic! My response to it was to be completely amused. And therein was the journey. So everything works out OK with him. It's hard going sometimes, but it comes out pretty good.
On getting the blood-spray right...
Quentin: We had a really great makeup crew but they do everything in a modern way. To get the blood effects it's all hydraulics and fire extinguishers, canisters, tubes going up legs. And I thought, “Screw this guys! We’re not making a horror movie here. Let’s pretend that we’re little kids and we’re making a Super 8 movie in our backyards and we don’t have all this sh*t. How would you achieve this effect?” Ingenuity is important here; I was getting pissed off. Then Yuen Woo-ping came up and said, “You know, to get those cool blood effects he had in the 70s, Chang Cheh would take a Chinese condom and fill it full of blood.” And just to get the record straight – it has to be a Chinese condom. So the fighters would have a sword in one hand and a blood-filled condom in the other, and when they were swinging at the bad guy they would squeeze the condom and blood would spurt out. It was great – no canisters, no tubes, no nothing. The Chinese condom worked like a charm.
What do you think shooting in China gave the film?
Julie: Well for me it was an amazing experience. It was very exotic for everybody, but the fact that you get on this big travelling circus and you're right there. We had this amazing set—everybody I think knows that Quentin doesn't use CGI or anything like that, so everything was built. We had this massive set with an authentic Chinese crew there and authentic Chinese food! It was just an amazing experience. It took you right into the heart of the exotic Asian genre that Quentin wanted us to put on screen.
Uma: I probably saw the least of China; I pretty much just saw the studio every day. It certainly was a submersion, and the Beijing team of Master Woo-ping—the Crazy 88s—really made that part special to me. I don't know if we would have had all those guys if we were anywhere else. There's a massive number of them. I started training with the Master's head captains, they were my life's blood—these people were very special to me, and they went with me from the very beginning. Then we joined the Beijing contingency. And my time there was mainly focused on my battle with them, the support I got from them and my experience with them, and their discipline, their hard-working nature. People there work so hard for so little; it's very humbling, and it certainly made my journey there the most meaningful, to get to be with those people. Their support is what took me through that fight.
PAGE 1 | 2 | 3 | FEATURES INDEX