Quentin Tarantino is opening up following Uma Thurman's explosive interview with the New York Times, in which she accused disgraced producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, claimed that Tarantino knew of the alleged encounter, and also put her life at risk while filming Kill Bill.
In Thurman's interview, the actress claimed that Tarantino put her in jeopardy during the production of Kill Bill when he insisted that she drive a car for a scene, despite the actress' multiple requests for a stunt driver to shoot the scene in her place because she felt unsafe.
Ultimately, shooting the scene lead to Thurman crashing the car into a palm tree and sustaining injuries that she claims she still struggles with. The footage from the crash, which Thurman said took nearly 15 years to get a hold of, was included in the Times article.
"I am guilty, for putting her in that car, but not the way that people are saying I am guilty of it," the director said in an interview with Deadline on Monday. "It's the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt."
According to Thurman, Weinstein's production company, Miramax, didn't want to release the footage of the crash without the actress signing a document "releasing them of any consequences of my future pain and suffering." She claims to have also gotten into a screaming fight with Tarantino when he refused to give it to her.
"We had a fateful fight at Soho House in New York in 2004 and we were shouting at each other because he wouldn’t let me see the footage and he told me that was what they had all decided," Thurman told the New York Times, adding dryly that the director "finally atoned" by giving it to her 15 years after the incident.
According to Tarantino, Uma asked him for the footage because she "wanted clarity on what happened in that car crash, after all these years," and that, after searching for it and ultimately finding it, he "was very happy to get it to Uma."
"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," Tarantino added.
"Uma thought I had acquiesced to them not letting her see the footage. I didn’t know any of that was necessarily going on. I knew they weren’t letting her see the footage, but I didn’t know she thought I was part of that," he said.
As for her request for a stunt driver, Thurman recalled the director rejected her request, telling the NYT, "Quentin came in my trailer and didn't like to hear no, like any director. He was furious because I'd cost them a lot of time. But I was scared. He said: 'I promise you the car is fine. It's a straight piece of road.'"
"But that was a death box that I was in. The seat wasn't screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road,” she added. In the article, the Times noted that Tarantino did not respond to their requests for comment.
Tarantino later shared his recollection of the day in question in his Deadline interview, explaining, "I start hearing from the production manager, Bennett Walsh, that Uma is trepidatious about doing the driving shot. None of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt. Maybe we should have, but we didn't."
"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. I didn't go barging into Uma's trailer, screaming at her to get into the car," he continued. "Anyone who knows Uma knows that going into her trailer and screaming at her to do something is not the way to get her to do something. That's a bad tactic, and I'd been shooting the movie with her for an entire year by this time. I would never react to her this way."
The director recalled getting behind the wheel of a car and driving the road that Thurman would be traversing to make sure it was safe and straight. Feeling it was an easy drive, Tarantino said he convinced Thurman that it was fine to drive, and she trusted him. However, before the scene was filmed, they decided to have her drive the opposite direction along the road than previously planned.
"I thought, a straight road is a straight road 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. Again, that is one of the biggest regrets of my life," Tarantino said. "As a director, you learn things and sometimes you learn them through horrendous mistakes. That was one of my most horrendous mistakes, that I didn’t take the time to run the road, one more time, just to see what I would see."
"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," he added. "It affected me and Uma for the next two to three years. It wasn’t like we didn’t talk. But a trust was broken -- a trust broken over a year of shooting."
Tarantino also opened up about his involvement with forcing Weinstein to apologize to Thurman for allegedly trying to force himself on her.
"I made Harvey apologize to Uma … 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,'" he recalled. "Harvey tried to de-emphasize things and say things weren’t exactly the way they were… 'Well, she was doing this, and she's saying that.' But that didn’t work, because I knew she wasn't lying."
"I knew he was lying, that everything Uma was saying was the truth," he added. "When he tried to wriggle out of it and how things actually happened, I never bought his story."
For more on Thurman's allegations against Harvey Weinstein, watch the video below.
Uma Thurman Breaks Silence on Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Misconduct, Says ‘Me Too’
Rose McGowan Details Being Allegedly Sexually Assaulted by Harvey Weinstein in New Book
Quentin Tarantino and Kevin Smith Speak Out on Harvey Weinstein Allegations