An actress with a wide range of credits behind her, Boston born Uma Thurman has been the centre of lustful intrigue in Dangerous Liaisons, the goddess Venus in The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, and a drugged-up gangster's moll in Pulp Fiction. With Batman & Robin, Gattaca and the shamefully underrated Beautiful Girls she has shown great versatility over the years, though nothing to quite match the feisty, ass-kicking character of The Bride in Kill Bill: Volumes 1 & 2.
How would you describe working with Quentin Tarantino?
I remember him from Pulp Fiction as somebody who is deeply engaged with his actors. He's so completely, subjectively living through his characters that there's something incredibly kinetic and dynamic to act for him. He's a talker, which is good for me, because that's all we ever did, but the moment the talking stops and the action starts it's the moment of realisation. His words, this character, this moment, this life all come together and it's real to him.
Among the indignities your character suffers in Vol. 2 is being buried alive. Are you claustrophobic?
I am, but I don't think you have to be claustrophobic to fear that! We shot that sequence from every possible configuration of how you could play with a camera, a girl and a box, but in fact very little of it ended up on screen. The sound effects proved more effective, just the raw sound of someone experiencing that moment in a coffin, and the sound of dirt hitting the wooden lid.
Do you see The Bride affecting the course of your career in one way or another?
I never really bought those theories on things changing your career. Your career is always changing, you're always growing, you're always changing your moment in life. Having been doing this since I was a teenager I've shifted gears so many times - lost control of the car, then got it back - that it's hard to say. These films have dominated my life in work and in thought for so many years that now they're done it's a very unusual feeling. It's not been my experience to have committed years to a film project. Normally you get a script, you go do the work and then it's like, "see ya!". And then you show up for the press junket. That hasn't been the case here, this has been a big part of my life for a long time, but now I'm about to be really done. Then I can try to figure out what that feels like.
What's your feeling when Quentin's films, these last two in particular, are characterised as being excessively violent?
I think that people have to have creative freedom, and as a fellow creative person choosing to work with them you're engaging with their psyche and you're engaging with their dreams, and you either believe in them as an artist or you don't. I certainly believed in Quentin as an artist.
Is there any chance of returning for another sequel sometime down the line?
If one of these characters survives to the end of his movie you know they're living on in Quentin's imagination. I know he has visions of [Pulp Fiction's] Honey Bunny carrying on in another movie, and Mia Wallace. And yes, he has a very good idea for Volume 3. But you'll just have to wait and see.