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Uma Thurman Explains How ‘Kill Bill’ Role Empowers Women

Variety logo Variety 7/2/2017 Leo Barraclough
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Uma Thurman is best known for Quentin Tarantino movies “Pulp Fiction” and “Kill Bill,” and during an onstage interview at Karlovy Vary Film Festival on Sunday she spoke of the positive impact the latter film has had on women.

“Women would come up to me and they would say that somehow or other – they’d share a little bit — that that film helped them in their lives, whether they were feeling oppressed or struggling or had a bad boyfriend or felt badly about themselves, that that film released in them some survival energy that was helpful, and that is probably one of the most gratifying things that I have ever experienced in response to a piece of art,” she said.

Talking about the reaction of her father, who was ordained as a Buddhist monk, to the violent role she played in “Kill Bill,” Thurman said: “I don’t remember. Being a father of an actress is probably a challenge…. You know, it’s strange.”

Asked to name which of her films her three children liked best, Thurman was interrupted by her son, Roan Thurman-Hawke, sitting in the balcony of the theater, who shouted “Pulp Fiction.”

Thurman spoke about her forthcoming debut on Broadway in Beau Willimon’s new play “The Parisian Woman,” which is “a modern drama based on a French farce; it’s funny and smart, about Washington today… ouch!,” she said. Thurman concurred with the view of her interviewer, Marek Eben, that Willimon’s “House of Cards” does not match up to the realities of Washington D.C. “It’s entertainment. The real world is far bloodier and more gruesome than that show,” she said.

Thurman discussed some of the directors she’s worked with including Woody Allen. She had been warned it would be “scary” to work with him and that he was “elusive.” “He was a completely straightforward, succinct, concise person. I was extremely impressed and at ease,” she said.

Asked about Lars von Trier, with whom she recently worked on “The House That Jack Built,” she said: “I love Lars. He’s a wild man. He’s wild. He’s really wild. And he’d be very proud to hear it. I do love him though. He’s a very complicated artist.” She recalled how in “Nymphomaniac” she had to deliver “an animal scream,” as the script described it. “It was really difficult. If anyone would like to try it,” she said. “It took a few tries… He must have 50 animal screams. In my recent film with him I have to do a ‘creepy smile.’”

Asked why she attended festivals like Cannes, where she was on the Un Certain Regard jury, and Karlovy Vary, where she received an award for her contribution to cinema, Thurman said: “These festivals are crucial to support, promote and keep alive this 90-minute, 120-minute narrative. It’s a form of dramatic storytelling that I fell in love with, and it’s a challenge to keep doing it, so it’s just being part of that support.”

‘Kill Bill’ has helped women overcome difficulties in their lives, Thurman told an audience in Karlovy Vary (Photo: Courtesy of Miramax)

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