The Tao of Uma

IN KILL BILL, THURMAN HAD TO LEARN TO ACT SOFTLY AND CARRY A VERY BIG SWORD

Since the beginning of cinema, directors have been falling for their leading ladies. At least in this sense, Quentin Tarantino is a traditionalist. "People talk about beautiful actresses," says Tarantino. "Like Cameron Diaz--she's a beautiful girl. But I went to high school with three girls who look like Cameron Diaz. Uma Thurman is a different species. She's up there with Garbo and Dietrich in goddess territory." Like a 3-year-old, Tarantino demonstrates his affection through inventive cruelty. In Pulp Fiction he gave Thurman an adrenaline needle to the heart (a nice metaphor for love, Tarantino style). But that was a barrel of...

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