KILL BILL, VOLUME I, wasn’t just Uma Thurman’s best movie since her previous teaming with director Quentin Tarantino, on Pulp Fiction — it also made her into an iconic, death-dealing, blood-splattered revenge machine. While Thurman enjoyed the glow of professional success in 2003, she also suffered personal turmoil: She and husband Ethan Hawke separated. “There’s too much contrast going on in my life,” she says.
What was your most surreal moment this year?
I can think of four different moments, but they’re not so shareable. I’m sorry — I’m not a good liar.
Are you exhausted from all the Kill Bill press?
It’s been fun talking about Kill Bill, because I actually have something to say about it. Most movies, you get hired, you’re excited about the director, you film it, you loop it, you go celebrate it, that’s it. This movie was so much more involved.
What was the best place you visited in 2003?
Rome. I was there for only twelve hours, unfortunately, for work. It was enough time to have one meal, breathe in the city, remind me of how much I love it and then leave, tearfully popping my last bottle of Pellegrino. I have a deeply romanticized view of the city: I spent six months there when I was seventeen, making Baron Munchausen. That was when I decided to make a serious attempt at this profession, which meant my life was starting in a different way.
You had one of the year’s most distinctive looks with that yellow tracksuit.
I’ve seen so many people in the yellow tracksuit. At some Kill Bill premieres, there would be teams of me. It’s actually sort of thrilling and rewarding to see it become this signature look of female empowerment.
What would you like to see in the year ahead?
An end to conflict. It would be really good to see America out of war. It’s not bad that Saddam Hussein is out, but how it was done was highly debatable. It’s the saddest thing on earth to see us waging war on so many fronts. At least I have a good gallows sense of humor going.
Did the violence of the movie make you look at real-world violence differently?
I don’t think I shoot anybody in the movie — not that I didn’t want to at certain points, just so we could get it over with faster. The sword is such a man-to-man way to solve conflict. It’s not about economic superiority, it’s about personal style. It’s very hard to use a sword and not hit yourself in the head. Or at least it is for beginners who are supposed to look like experts.
You also have Paycheck coming up.
I do, with John Woo and Ben Affleck. Ben does the heavy lifting — I’m just the girl. Which was fine for me after Kill Bill. I love what I do, and I’m grateful that people have been so patient with me and let me grow up. I want to enjoy every part of it, enjoy my life.
Nothing lasts forever.