The making of Kill Bill was not easy. Quentin Tarantino's two-part epic was influenced by the Asian martial arts films he loves. That meant staging intense action sequences with complex stunts and fierce fighting moves that would dazzle audiences. The filmmaker's well-known admiration for genre movies meant that everything in his own had to be perfect. To that end, he hired a superb cast, led by Uma Thurman and including David Carradine, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, Vivica A. Fox, and Michael Madsen. Behind the camera, he brought in Yuen Woo-ping, the revered Hong Kong martial arts choreographer, to help execute the fight scenes. Tarantino meant business.
Several notable Kill Bill behind-the-scenes stories illuminate the dedication that went into the production of both volumes. There was plenty of drama, such as a near-fatal car accident involving Thurman and a shouting match between Tarantino and Fox. There are also happier stories, in which cast and crew went the extra mile to guarantee they would deliver something truly special to moviegoers. Tarantino spared no expense in making his tale feel like a modern-day version of the martial arts pictures he was paying homage to.
Regardless of whether you prefer Vol. 1 or Vol. 2 - or love both equally - the following Kill Bill movie secrets will enhance your appreciation for "the whole bloody affair."
More Than 450 Gallons Of Fake Blood Were Spilled Between Both Volumes
There are a lot of bloody conflicts scattered throughout both volumes of Kill Bill. So much, in fact, that the production went through 450 gallons of fake blood, 100 gallons of it on the House of Blue Leaves sequence alone.
Tarantino was very specific about how the blood should look, telling Time magazine:
I'm really particular about the blood, so we're using a mixture depending on the scenes. I say, "I don't want horror movie blood, all right? I want Samurai blood." You can't pour this raspberry pancake syrup on a sword and have it look good. You have to have this special kind of blood that you only see in Samurai movies.
Vivica A. Fox Got Into A Screaming Match With Tarantino
Creative tensions are not unusual on movie sets. In her book Every Day I'm Hustling, Vivica A. Fox said that she got so frustrated with Tarantino that she tore into him one day. At issue was the series of martial arts training sessions she and several co-stars were required to attend. Fox felt that they were giving their all, but for three weeks in a row, the director criticized them and accused them of goofing around.
Fox lost it, cursing at Tarantino and asking him if his treatment of them was "a 'beat us up' contest.'" The actress was so fired up that Lucy Liu had to help her physically calm down. The outburst worked, as Tarantino assured his stars that he did appreciate their efforts.
Tarantino Spared One Member Of The 'Crazy 88' At The Last Minute
By far, the most memorable sequence in either of the volumes is the one where the Bride takes on the Crazy 88, slaying their dozens of members in a nonstop violent bloodbath. Initially, no one other than she was to survive that clash. At the last minute, though, Tarantino decided to save one person. Hu Xiaokui, who was 17 during production, told Time magazine, "When [the Bride] was about to [off] me, the director saw something in my face that made him change his mind."
Tarantino confirmed the abrupt change, saying, "I thought, 'There's no way she'd off a kid with a mug like this." He felt sparing a teenager would give the Bride a sympathetic quality.
The Cast Was Required To Go Through A Kung Fu Boot Camp
It was important to Tarantino that everything about the movie be faithful to its inspirations. One of the ways he ensured this was to have his actors attend a strict, grueling martial arts "boot camp." In her autobiography Every Day I'm Hustling, Fox writes:
For three months, Uma Thurman, Lucy Liu, Daryl Hannah, David Carradine, and I spent eight hours a day studying martial arts at a gym they put together in Culver City. It was nine to five, Monday through Friday. If you didn’t walk in the door between 8:55 and 8:59, you were in trouble at 9:01... We’d do fight choreography, knife throwing, samurai lessons, and hit the treadmill and weights in between.