Phase9 Entertainment

KILL BILL VOLUME 2 - US interview with Quentin Tarantino

So why did it make sense to cut this into two movies, or were you just a little indecisive in the editing room?

No, it was a situation where... here's the deal... I could watch the four-hour KILL BILL. I'm a movie junkie. But I actually think the average moviegover would o.d. on four hours. I think it's the difference between people loving it and wow, okay, yeah, but... not the cinamatees, not the film critics, but average Joes, average Reggies. So I thought, yeah, let's cut it in half, but the trick there is to just make sure that actually VOLUME 1 works as a good evening's entertainment and VOLUME 2 works as a good evening's entertainment. They'll both be out on DVD at some point and you'll have the whole rest of your lives to see them together.

But they are completely different films... More than VOLUME 1, VOLUME 2 seems to be the marriage of your two major influences, being the martial arts film and the spaghetti westerns.

There was a spaghetti western aspect running all through VOLUME 1 too, but we switch it... it was definitely a major Eastern influence with a Western minor, and VOLUME 2 is definitely the spaghetti major with the Eastern minor going on.

With a title like KILL BILL there's no real suspense to what's going to happen. Building up to that, how do you keep the tension there, and when you finally got there... I think everyone, including myself, sort of anticipated the ultimate, but...

If you call the movie KILL BILL and she doesn't kill him - I want my money back. You can't wimp out. You go for it. The fun part is you're expecting that throughout the whole movie and... my whole thing is to give you something different than what you would expect. I like making people laugh at things that aren't funny. And you laughed already and you made me feel guilty about laughing, but too late, you're already co-conspirator. That's always fun. Well, the same thing about the idea of KILL BILL... you know you're going to kill Bill, but by the time you get there you might be surprised about how you feel about that. Maybe it wasn't exactly the way you thought you'd feel. But not only that, there's also this kind of thing, it's the way I do things... I'm going to deliver a genre, I'm going to deliver to you all the goods. But I'm going to do it my way, which is usually a cockeyed way, like in RESERVOIR DOGS. It's a heist film where you never see the heist. Here in KILL BILL there's a revenge saga four hours long, and these big action scenes all throughout and horror sequences and all this stuff. And then you get to the climax and it's a forty-minute dialogue scene. That's just my way of doing an action epic.

That's the five-point exploding hot technique. Where did you pick that up?

I came up with the expression, the phrase and everything. But that is this technique that in this one movie, the character Pei Mai that Gordon Liu plays. And this was a movie starring Gordon Liu but he was the good guy as a young man, the evil guy was Pei Mai. And that was a technique that Pei Mai used. It didn't have a name, I gave it the name, but that was the thing, you do the technique and the people would walk five steps and they'd die.

And you attempted at one point to play Pei Mai yourself...

I trained for three months to do the fights and everything like that, and then what happened was... It was Yuen Woo-Ping's suggestion that I play Pei Mai because he really liked the character that I had and the voice that I had. He said you're going to be unsatisfied any other way, you've gotta play him. So I did all the training and stuff, and we were shooting in the House of Blue Leaves for eight weeks, and Pei Mai was going to be way towards the end of it. I was in the fourth week of shooting this epic battle scene and, one, I was having such a good time directing, but two, it was just so difficult, so hard, all of a sudden I was dreading the idea of having to direct and act at the same time. So it wasn't going to be any fun, I didn't want to do it, but then also I had Gordon Liu right there on the set, I had this icon who could play him. And not only could he play him, it was great because when he was a young man as a hero, he used to fight against characters like Pei Mai or characters like that. Now he's older he gets to play the nemesis that he always fought.

And he's extraordinary...

He's magnificent. We were going to do it dubbed like a kung fu movie with slight New Zealand accents in there, but as time went on I just fell so in love with his performance, I wanted him to have his voice in an English language movie for the first time.

If I didn't know better, I would have thought you came a little sentimental in this film.

It is sentimental, there's a love story going on. It's a crazy, whacked love story but a love story nevertheless... between Bill and the Bride. That's what started everything. Now you're getting deeper and deeper into it as you go deeper into the film.

And you staged this amazing showdown between the two blonde adversaries...

Yeah, tell me about it.

Was that the fantasy scene for you?

People keep asking me that. It's a fantasy scene as far as fun to watch. I don't think that scene is erotic, but having said that, it's a lot of fun to watch to see two blonde Amazons in a trailer screw each other up. It's a lot of fun. Not only that, it hurts. It's more painful that it's happening to them. I always wanted to not have music, they're just doing the fight. But at one point we put some music on just to see how it would play. And it played great and it was funny and the music went so well with the fight. I was like, Nah, it doesn't hurt anymore. Now it's just kinda fun. The music of that fight is the audience going, Ooh, Ahh, Ooh, oh my God... that's the score of that scene.

Music plays such an important part. I read somewhere that you couldn't start a film before you knew which music was going to open the first scene.

That's kinda true actually. Maybe that may not be the case on everything I ever do, but it grounds me. It gives me a jumping-off point. It's like, Okay, this is the beat that this movie will go to. This is rhythm that this movie will play to.

Has the whole thing come full circle for you now?

Oh, yeah. This is hands-down the longest thing that I've ever done. If you count writing the script and what brings us to now, we're talking about a four-year project. So this is coming to the very end of it.

Are you happy to be there?

Yes, I sure am.

Congratulations. Thanks for your time.

My pleasure and thanks a lot.

Question & Answer Text Copyright Buena Vista International