Interviews: Uma, Quincy, and More

On Film / The Daily — Feb 9, 2018

Catching up with notable recent interviews, we naturally have to begin with the one that’s sparked so much crossfire for a full week now. Last October, Uma Thurman declined to comment on the #MeToo movement because “when I have spoken in anger, I usually regret the way I express myself.” A month later, she was still holding back, but she invited us to “stay tuned.” Last Friday, she finally spoke out—to Maureen Dowd in the New York Times.

That Harvey Weinstein “did all kinds of unpleasant things” to Uma Thurman isn’t much of a revelation by this point. Chatter on social media dropped it almost immediately to focus instead on Quentin Tarantino. Not because Tarantino had made any sexual advances—he didn’t—but because, though Thurman asked for a stunt driver, the director insisted that she drive a reconfigured car herself for a shot in Kill Bill.

Thurman: “He said: ‘I promise you the car is fine. It’s a straight piece of road.’” And she says he told her: “‘Hit forty miles per hour or your hair won’t blow the right way and I’ll make you do it again.’ But that was a deathbox that I was in. The seat wasn’t screwed down properly. It was a sand road and it was not a straight road.” Thurman crashed and, “with my permanently damaged neck and my screwed-up knees,” spent fifteen years trying to secure the footage—which we can all now watch at the NYT.

Social media spent that weekend blowing up, and on Monday, we heard from both Thurman and Tarantino. Thurman took to Instagram again, this time to say that Tarantino intended no harm, “remains remorseful,” and what’s more, he gave her the footage “with full knowledge it could cause him personal harm.” She directs her anger instead to producers Lawrence Bender, E. Bennett Walsh, “and the notorious Harvey Weinstein” for the fifteen-year cover-up.

“It’s the biggest regret of my life, getting her to do that stunt,” Tarantino tells Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. He also addresses the scenes in Kill Bill for which he personally choked and spat on Thurman as the Bride. These details in particular stoked the heat on Twitter, but as Tarantino explains, he had his logistical reasons at the time. The next day, Diane Kruger, who was also choked for a scene in Inglourious Basterds, wrote in a post to Instagram that “my work experience with Quentin Tarantino was pure joy. He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with.”

On Monday night, audio from an interview with Tarantino conducted by Howard Stern in 2003 emerged in which Tarantino argued that what Roman Polanski did to Samantha Geimer in 1977 was not rape. "He was wrong. I bet he knows it," Geimer told Nancy Dillon in the Daily News on Tuesday. Yesterday, as Anne Thompson reports at IndieWire, Tarantino issued a formal and public apology: “Fifteen years later, I realize how wrong I was.”

To come back full circle to the piece that sparked a week of outrage, some have argued that, while stories of abuse, sexual or otherwise, need to reported with clarity and respect, Dowd has sensationalized Thurman’s. Anne Helen Petersen argues that “you can be horrified by what happened to a woman and also be horrified by the way another woman wrote about it.”

More Interviews

If you thought Chris Heath’s interview with Quincy Jones for GQ was fun, well. David Marchese’s interview with Jones, posted Wednesday, is, as of this writing, still the “most viewed” story at Vulture. A few bullet points:

  • Michael Jackson “stole a lot of stuff.”
  • The mafia killed JFK.
  • The Beatles “were the worst musicians in the world.”
  • “I used to date Ivanka, you know.”
  • Marlon Brando would “fuck anything. Anything! He’d fuck a mailbox. James Baldwin. Richard Pryor. Marvin Gaye.”

And Marchese asks, “when you say film composers are lazy, what does that mean, exactly, in this context?” Jones: “It means they’re not going back and listening to what Bernard Herrmann did.”

Marchese also interviews Bernadette Peters: “I wasn’t at all upset about not finding work I loved in Hollywood, because I was confident I’d be able to find that work somewhere else.”

At Collider, Christina Radish gets Christopher Nolan, nominated for a best directing Oscar this year for Dunkirk, talking about his fellow nominees.

  • Guillermo del Toro: “When I saw The Shape of Water, I knew that this was one of the ones that came straight from the heart.”
  • As for Jordan Peele’s Get Out, “how often do you get the experience of seeing something that you have no idea where it’s going to go, and then it goes somewhere far more interesting than you ever imagined.”
  • Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird: “It felt like memory.”
  • As Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread “opened up on its photo-chemical version, is that I was suddenly very aware of how the use of sound in the film is extraordinary.”

Look who’s talking with Timothée Chalamet (Call Me by Your Name) for VMAN: Xavier Dolan and Frank Ocean. “I actually get more people stopping me for Lady Bird, and going, ‘Is that the douchebag from Lady Bird?’ So that’s awesome.”

Talking with Laurie Metcalf are Jonathan Bernstein (Guardian) and Kristopher Tapley (Variety).

Speaking—again—of Lady Bird, Tim Lewis talks with Gerwig for the Observer: “It’s still sinking in. It doesn’t quite feel real. You’re still getting me at peak shock and happiness.”

In a similar vein: “It still doesn’t feel real. I feel like it’s going to change my life, but I just don’t know how.” That’s Daniel Kaluuya, nominated for his performance in Get Out, talking to Gregory Ellwood at the Playlist.

“I’ve made over 100 motion pictures,” Christopher Plummer tells Cara Buckley in the New York Times, “and some of them were even good. It’s nice to be reborn every few decades, because then you can have another career. The nice part about awards and being nominated is the fact that it wakes everybody up again, and makes them realize you’re alive and kicking and available. The roles have got more interesting as I’ve got older.”

Benjamin Svetkey profiles Willem Dafoe for the Hollywood Reporter. “I remember my life by my movies.”

Back to del Toro for a moment; for the New York Times, Shivani Vora asks him about his favorite spots in Mexico.

Embedded in the #Bergman100 entry is an hour-long conversation with Liv Ullmann about her years with Ingmar Bergman. Claire Marie Healy talks with her as well for Dazed. “I knew that once we left each other, nothing was changing except that the ‘romance’ was over. But it’s something really beautiful, that it went on to be a friendship and we continued creating together.”

“Now no one in Hollywood can get enough of Donald Glover or Atlanta,” writes Bijan Stephen at the top of his interview for Esquire.

Mike Ryan gets Duncan Jones talking about Mute at Uproxx: “It’s much more like an old ‘70s thriller and it’s equally dark. There’s an amazing Paul Schrader film called Hardcore that had a similar kind of vibe. I was going for that and I was going for the humor from the Robert Altman version of M*A*S*H.

For Seventh Row, Elena Lazic talks with Bruno Dumont about Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc: “I’m not a naturalist at all.”

Talking with Bill Morrison about Dawson City: Frozen Time are Michael Guillen and, at the Film Stage, Dan Mecca.

“Certain themes and preoccupations have been in all of my four movies, like jealousy, the expectations of society around how you must represent love and life, and the frustration of thinking there’s nothing else aside of what society, parents or the church dictate,” Amat Escalante tells Eric Ortiz Garcia at ScreenAnarchy, where Martin Kudlac talks with Juliana Rojas and Marco Dutra about Good Manners.

At Ioncinema, Amir Ganjavie talks with Sebastián Lelio about A Fantastic Woman, while Luis De Filippis interviews his star, Daniela Vega, for the TIFF Review.

Ali Moosavi recently spoke with Rob Reiner about his latest, Shock and Awe, and then: “I’ve got to tell you this great story about Spinal Tap. I was at a party years ago and Elon Musk comes to the party and he’s got this new car. I had never seen a car like that. It was the first Tesla. He says it’s a new car which I’m putting out next year. He then says let me show you something. So, we get in the car and I sit down in the passenger seat. He turns the radio on and it goes to eleven! I said, ‘Wow!’ And he said, ‘I love the movie and this is in every Tesla.’ They all go up to eleven!”

Listening

“Ken Vandermark estimates that he’s seen Sans Soleil, the 1982 nonlinear essay film by elusive avant-garde filmmaker Chris Marker eight times,” writes Patrick Wall, talking with him about his new ensemble, Marker, for the Free Times. “And every time he’s seen it, he says, it’s a different film.” On that page, you can listen to “Okinawa Bullfight (for Chantal Akerman)” (23’20”).

Bill Ackerman’s latest guest on the Supporting Characters podcast is writer and DVD/Blu-Ray producer Michael Brooke (179’17”). “Topics covered include: London repertory cinemas of the 1980s, Béla Bartók, revisionist video transfers, Ken Russell, video label economics and limited editions, Mehelli Modi and Second Run DVD, Jan Švankmajer, Channel 4’s adventurous 1980s programming, audio commentaries, The Quay Brothers and how testing pasta shells for your children can lead you to reconsider appearing on camera.”

Marc Maron welcomes playwright (August: Osage County) and actor (Lady Bird, The Post) Tracy Letts to the WTF Podcast (84’29”).

At Ioncinema, Nicholas Bell talks with Deniz Gamze Ergüven about Kings (28’38”).

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