Behind The Scenes Saturday: Kill Bill Vol. 1

Welcome back to Behind The Scenes Saturday! This week is all about my favorite Quentin Tarantino film, Kill Bill! Of course, Kill Bill is in two parts, so I’m just going to focus on Vol. 1 today. Enjoy!

(Trivia provided by IMDb.com)

(SPOILER ALERT!!)

(WARNING: GRAPHIC SPECIAL EFFECTS PICTURES BELOW!!!)

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  • During the fight scene between The Bride (Uma Thurman) and Gogo Yubari (Chiaki Kuriyama), while Chiaki was throwing her ball and chain forward, she accidentally hit the director, Quentin Tarantino, on the head while he was standing by the camera.
  • Tarantino and Uma Thurman came up with the idea for Kill Bill during the filming of Pulp Fiction. They discussed the films they’d like to do, and Tarantino mentioned he would like to do a ‘70s-style kung-fu flick. Uma was the one who came up with the idea for the beginning scene, where her character is beaten up and wearing a wedding dress.
  • In the scene where The Bride splits a baseball in two using a samurai sword, supposedly, it was done for real. Uma Thurman’s stunt double, Zoë Bell, was the one who split the baseball.
  • In the middle of The Bride’s fight scene with the crazy 88, the scene changes from color to black & white. When aired on tv in the ‘70s and ‘80s, kung-fu films were shown in black & white to “conceal the shedding of blood from television censors”. Tarantino used this trick as an homage to those old kung-fu films, also so he didn’t have to tone down his fight scene to appease the MPAA.
  • Tarantino originally wanted to cast a Japanese actress to play O-Ren Ishii. Then, he saw Lucy Liu in Shanghai Noon and changed O-Ren into a Chinese-Japanese-American so that Lucy could play the part.

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  • Tarantino was such a big fan of Battle Royale (2000), that he cast Chiaki Kuriyama (who played Takako Chigusa in Battle Royale) to play Gogo Yubari.
  • Tarantino had Uma Thurman watch three movies to prepare for this film. Those films were John Woo’s The Killer (1989), Coffy (1973), and Sergio Leone’s A Fistful of Dollars (1964).
  • Before the original script was split into two parts, it was about 220 pages long. It took 6 years to write the entire script.
  • To convince the director of photography, Robert Richardson, to work on this film, Tarantino supposedly sent him a copy of the script and a bouquet of roses on Valentine’s Day in 2002.
  • After watching Jun Kunimura’s character scream in Ichi The Killer, Tarantino chose him to play Boss Tanaka in Kill Bill.

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  • As an homage to legendary filmmaker, Brian De Palma, Tarantino used his signature split-screen method in the scene where Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) is about to go into The Bride’s hospital room and kill her. Horror fans have seen this camerawork done in Brian De Palma’s Carrie (1976).
  • In the original script, Johnny Mo’s name was originally Mr. Barrel. Mr. Barrel disliked rubber bands on the typical Kato masks, so he had his Kato mask on a stick, like someone at a masquerade ball. In the script, The Bride convinced Mr. Barrel not to fight her. He ended up walking away and leaving O-Ren without a bodyguard. To be honest, that would’ve been funny to see.
  • Uma Thurman’s stunt double, Zoë Bell, ended up injuring her back during filming. She was afraid of being replaced, so she didn’t mention it to anyone.
  • In the original script, Bill was pointed out to be a master chemist. The liquid in the syringe that Elle Driver almost injected into The Bride was concocted by Bill and called “Goodbye Forever”. The potions and elixirs were to be detailed by on-screen subtitles. The Bride was originally going to use “The Undisputed Truth” to get information from Sofie Fatale. Those who’ve seen Kill Bill Vol. 2 know that “The Undisputed Truth” was the truth serum Bill used to get information from The Bride.
  • Quentin Tarantino originally wanted Warren Beatty to play the part of Bill. He said that if Warren accepted the part, Bill would’ve been a more suave, James Bond-type of character. Warren turned down the role, but he was the one who suggested David Carradine to Tarantino.

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  • Kill Bill fans have speculated over the years what the reason behind Hanzo’s blood oath to never “make something that kills” again was. They concluded that it was Bill’s deception that made him make the blood oath. Supposedly, under Hanzo’s training, Bill convinced him to craft swords for him, Budd, and O-Ren, under the guise of gifts or some other innocent excuse. Instead, the swords were added to the group’s arsenal of weapons used to assassinate people for hire. Hanzo eventually found out about Bill’s true intentions with the swords, and was so disgusted, he fled to Okinawa and took the blood oath. He willingly broke the oath and made a sword for The Bride, as a way to even the scales and atone for having his creations be used by paid assassins.
  • O-Ren was originally supposed to be decapitated by The Bride. This was changed because if O-Ren was decapitated, she would have never known that The Bride’s sword was a true Hanzo sword.
  • According to David Carradine, the tall, slim man who kills O-Ren’s father was in fact Bill when he was younger.
  • The character of Gogo was originally written as two characters. They were going to be twin sisters, Gogo and Yuki Yubari. Yuki originally had all of Gogo’s lines. After The Bride killed Gogo, Yuki was going to seek her out, only to be killed, too. It was a “lost” chapter called, “Yuki’s Revenge”.
  • Michael Madsen was originally set to play Johnny Mo. However, Tarantino decided he would be better as Bill’s brother, so he had Madsen play Budd instead. It was a change that definitely worked for the film.

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