In an excerpt from her new autobiography, “Every Day I’m Hustling,” Vivica A. Fox talked about playing the assassin Vernita Green in “Kill Bill,” and learning how to deal with the harsh demands of director Quentin Tarantino.
Fox said that she first met Tarantino at a coffee shop in what was supposed to be a 15-minute meeting to see if the two could work together. That meeting went on for 90 minutes, and after a subsequent meeting at Fox’s house, Tarantino gave her the role.
But that promising start quickly took a dark turn, as Fox began to bristle at Tarantino’s demanding nature during the cast’s rigorous martial-arts training for the film.
“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,” Fox wrote in an excerpt published by Time. “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. I thought I was in the damn Olympics or something.”
Every week ended with Tarantino giving a speech about the team’s performance, which Fox said was always negative.
“I was so proud of all that our team had accomplished. I was sitting between cute little Lucy and sweet Uma, and I was ready for a high-five for all of us,” she recalled. “Instead, Quentin tore into us. Something about us lollygagging in the morning, taking too long to suit up and gabbing over coffee. He said we should get here at 8:30, a half hour early, if we wanted to do all that.”
Fox snapped, yelling at Tarantino and asking if the cast was “doing anything f—ing right.” Her co-stars were alarmed that she would talk back to the Oscar winning filmmaker, she said. She added that Thurman calmed her down.
Fox recalled Thurman saying at the time: “I’ve worked with him. And… it’s how he does things. He doesn’t mean anything by it, it’s just how he gets down.”
Fox said she had only the highest praise for Thurman.
“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.”
Despite the tension with Tarantino and Thurman’s recent revelation that the director forced her to drive a car in a scene for “Kill Bill” that led to a major crash, Fox said that she would love to work with the director again and that she is grateful for her time with Thurman, who taught her about “sharing power.”
“I commend Uma for her courage and grace,” she wrote in her book, “and hopefully Quentin learned that no shot is worth risking an actor’s safety.”