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Quentin Tarantino on Kill Bill Vol. 2

Film4 Kill Bill Vol.2

"I was rather possessed on this movie. I was kind of like a mountaineer, climbing Mount Everest - just trying to get to the top and put my flag there."

It took four years, millions of dollars and countless gallons of fake blood, but in 2004, maverick director Quentin Tarantino finally completed Kill Bill, his epic hymn to the 'grindhouse' genre cinema of the 1960s and 1970s. Originally planned as a fast, low budget 88-minute production, it ballooned into a four-hour saga told in two parts. Kill Bill Vol. 2 picks up the story with Uma Thurman as the vengeance-driven Bride, still out to exact retribution on her ex-lover Bill and his gang of assassins.

The risky decision to split the film into two segments was made late in the day, and even Tarantino experienced a few worries on this score. "It was mainly because of Volume 2. I knew splitting it in half would work for Volume 1 because the fight at the House of Blue Leaves was a fantastic climax. I just didn't know if we had enough movie to make Volume 2 a completely satisfying experience."

Like many directors, Tarantino often works with a particular group of actors - and while the character of the Bride was created especially for Pulp Fiction star Uma Thurman, two other Tarantino alumni also turn up during Vol. 2. Reservoir Dogs star Michael Madsen plays a major role as Bill's gone-to-seed brother Budd, and there's also a short cameo from Samuel L. Jackson as the organ player at the Bride's fateful wedding rehearsal.

"Sam loves kung fu movies," explains Tarantino, "and when he read the script he was like 'Hey, I've gotta be in this!' So, I said to him, 'Well, there's not really a part for you,' and he said, 'Well make a part for me! How about the organ player, man? I'm feeling the organ player!' There wasn't even any dialogue for the character, he was just this organ player who was there. So on the day, me and Sam just came up with this really cool speech for him."

Film4 Kill Bill Vol. 2

"I was originally going to be in Kill Bill - I was going to play Pai Mei, the monk who trains the Bride. But I eventually realised it was such a huge film I'd never have time to get everything done."

"Sam loves kung fu movies," explains Tarantino, "and when he read the script he was like 'Hey, I've gotta be in this!' So, I said to him, 'Well, there's not really a part for you,' and he said, 'Well make a part for me! How about the organ player, man? I'm feeling the organ player!' There wasn't even any dialogue for the character, he was just this organ player who was there. So on the day, me and Sam just came up with this really cool speech for him."

Possibly the biggest surprise of Kill Bill is that there's no sign of Tarantino the actor. And aside from a brief role in the TV show Alias, he hasn't appeared on screen since his cameo in 2000's Little Nicky. "I haven't been acting for a while - mainly because I've been working on Kill Bill for so long. But if there's a good role, in one of my scripts or someone else's script, then sure, I'll do it."

"Actually, I was originally going to be in Kill Bill - I was going to play Pai Mei, the monk who trains the Bride. But I eventually realised it was such a huge film I'd never have time to get everything done. At least I got to do the initial training. I was damned if I was going to have all these girls, who didn't care about kung fu in the first place, go through three months of training, when that's what I'd always wanted to do ever since I was a kid."

While there's nothing to match the delirious excesses of Vol. 1's limb-strewn climax, Kill Bill Vol. 2 still features some graphic set pieces that'll have timid audience members leaping for shelter... or diving for a sick bag. While he has always aimed for an extreme reaction in his movies, Tarantino confesses he's not completely immune to being grossed out himself. "Probably the only time was when I saw Monty Python's Meaning Of Life. When the fat Mr Creosote guy who does all the puking turns up - I remember sitting in the movie theatre thinking, 'If somebody vomits, and I actually smell vomit while I'm watching this, I'm just going to hurl!'"

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