By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
There definitely was a gigantic kicking up of my cinematic style. There was an aspect of Kill Bill where I thought, “I want to see how good I really am. I think I’m good. But let’s see.” And I wasn’t throwing my hat in the ring just to be okay — I don’t want to be mediocre. I wanted to be as good as the people I loved. And I wanted to know if I couldbe.
Some people said they weren’t into this story as much as the earlier movies. They said, “I liked him when he twisted B movies for his own design,” not when he’s doing this exploitation movie. But there’s method to the madness of Vol. 1. I’m delivering the movie in an action-movie way. I’m giving you a revenge movie, no apologies. This is a revenge movie. It’s an action movie. Then the second movie becomes more thoughtful. People keep saying there’s “heart” in Vol. 2. But to me, the heart is in Vol. 1 already.
The thing about exploitation directors is that they work fast — they don’t take years in between things. Are you actually going to do your World War II movie next?
Yeah, but I also have a couple of ideas for a quick, small film. I keep saying to myself, “I just climbed Mt. Everest. Do I want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro next?” That’s part of the attraction of doing a smaller film. You get yourself a five-week shooting schedule and you just do it. With big movies, if you’ve got the money and the time, you do that. With Kill Bill to get the action I was trying to get — that takes time. But at the same time, Reservoir Dogs wouldn’t have been any better if I’d have had five or six more weeks. You just do whatever’s part of the adrenaline of that particular movie.
You directed an episode of ER. What TV show would you like to direct? Would you like an HBO franchise?
I wanted to direct an X-Files — they even wrote an episode for me — but the DGA wouldn’t let me. Now, there’s lots of shows I’d direct. I would direct an Alias, a 24. I’ve actually thought about doing an HBO series. Actually, by the time I finish with this World War II film, it could be a miniseries. [Laughs.] You know why? On Kill Bill, I’m getting these good reviews. And by splitting it in two, I could keep all my grace notes. Normally, you have to cut those things out. You put them in the script but you have to cut them out. But now, I’m getting encouraged for keeping them in. I’m getting validation. All the scenes I would’ve dropped are what people say make it special.
Here’s the story. I will be releasing eventually the Japanese version, which is showing in Japan and Hong Kong. Volumes 1 and 2 together. And when I do that, it will be like a ’60s movie. Four hours. And you know, frankly, I wouldn’t have had the balls, the first time out, to come out with a four-hour movie. So to make it one movie, it would have to be three hours. And I would have had to cut everything that people say they like or that makes it good. Like the scene when Budd [Michael Madsen, his name a nod to director Budd Boetticher] goes to the bar and they tell him to take off his cowboy hat. And Pai Mei [a kung fu flashback set in China] would have been shrunk by two-thirds. It would be a wholly different movie.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 leaves a lot of loose ends — like what happens to Sofie Fatale?
All the untied loose ends do tie up — I know what happens. In the case of Sofie Fatale, I can imagine audiences expecting that she’ll come back in Vol. 2. But there’s no reason. She was in O-ren’s story, and O-ren’s dead. Time to move down the list. I didn’t shoot any back story. I spent a year and a half writing the script, and I went down many different roads. I’d think, “This would be cool,” but I knew I couldn’t put it in. It was already huge. But I thought it all through. Sofie Fatale has a big deal to do in the whole Kill Bill mythology. Not now, but in 15 years I could follow Vernita’s daughter, Nikki. [Vernita is the assassin played by Vivica Fox in Vol. 1.] She’d be going on 20 and out to find the Bride for killing her mother. And Sofie would be behind it. She’s been left all of Bill’s money. She finds Nikki and raises her and feeds her all this stuff about the Bride. But I wouldn’t do that movie yet. I truly love the Bride and don’t want to come up with a bunch of contrived bullshit for her to do. I like the fact that for the next 15 years she puts her sword on the shelf.