Vivica A. Fox sided with Uma Thurman in calling out Quentin Tarantino for his borderline bullying approach to directing them together in the "Kill Bill" films, but she also recalled the moment she decided she'd had enough and stood up for herself and her costars ... or at least that's what she thought she was doing.
In an excerpt from her forthcoming book "Every Day I'm Hustling," published at Time, the actress recalls the grueling training sessions she and the other stars had to endure even before the cameras started rolling.
"There would be no quick cuts or getting away with special effects to make us look like real warriors," Fox recalled. "I had to commit to six months of training, and all of the actors needed to become experts in martial arts to make his vision real on the screen."
But it was Tarantino's response to those long eight-hour days in the gym that finally set Fox off.
After three straight weeks of different criticisms all equating to Tarantino basically telling them they weren't working hard enough, Fox finally decided that she'd had enough. "I lost it on him," she wrote. "'Is this a 'beat us up" contest?' I asked. 'Are we f-cking doing anything right? Goddamn.' Everyone gasped ... I kept sputtering, thinking I was taking a stand for everyone. And finally Quentin sort of said he appreciated the work but he wanted us all to do our best and to trust him."
It was after this that Fox said Thurman came to her as a friend and someone familiar with Tarantino's style, telling her there was a better way. "You have to learn to be quiet, speak less," she told Fox. "He's tough, but he's not stupid. He'll concede you something if it's to make the film better. Learn to attack intelligently, Vivica. Because he's got the power to fire you."
Fox wrote, "I was all righteous. 'I don't have to manipulate nobody,' I said. 'That's not me. I don't have to kiss his ass.'" But she later realized Thurman was right, losing her temper wasn't going to help anyone, unless it helped Tarantino find a reason to fire her.
"When it came time for real rehearsals and filming, I got to see Uma give a master class in being a movie star and leader on the set," Fox wrote. "I watched her argue with Quentin, intelligently and successfully, for wardrobe changes and even dialogue rewrites. She made it a true collaboration, pushing him away from simply making an ode to the samurai films he made us all watch with him, toward something new. 'Kill Bill' is an astonishing work because of their shared efforts, and it's because they each approached it not as a job, but as a cornerstone of their careers."
It wasn't an easy film set, but Fox came out of it having learned a new way to fight for herself, and an appreciation for Tarantino as a filmmaker, tough though he may be. "Quentin is a fabulous director and I'd love to work with him again. I appreciate those endless hours in the Culver City torture chamber. It was his way of breaking us down to build us back up."
Thurman has also forgiven Tarantino for her difficulties on "Kill Bill," including the accident that left her severely injured. It was Tarantino who worked to get her the footage of the accident -- which she alleges Harvey Weinstein tried to cover up -- and has expressed tremendous regret for his role in her winding up injured.