Virtually since the moment she stepped out of a giant seashell in Terry Gilliam’s “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” in 1988, audiences have taken notice of the ethereal beauty of Uma Thurman. In the two decades since, she’s more than proven herself as an accomplished actor, namely in the films of Quentin Tarantino (she earned an Oscar nod for “Pulp Fiction” and the admiration of scores with the “Kill Bill” saga).
At 38 years old, Thurman is now actually old enough for another actress to play the younger versions of her characters, which is just what Evan Rachel Wood does in “The Life Before Her Eyes.” In the new drama, both Wood and Thurman play Diana — Wood as the rebellious teenager caught in the middle of a Columbine-like incident, and Thurman as Diana on the 15th anniversary of the tragedy.
MTV caught up with Thurman to discuss why she thinks she constantly over-analyzes everything, the future of the “Kill Bill” films (and there is one!) and the “Lord of the Rings” role she had to turn down.
MTV: This is a film that’s very much about looking ahead and reflection. Would you consider yourself a reflective person?
Uma Thurman: Too much so. Yeah.
MTV: How so?
Thurman: I just get very caught up in my head and think everything over 9 million times. [Laughs.] It’s really boring to be me.
MTV: Your character certainly has a rebellious streak when she’s played as a teenager by Evan Rachel Wood.
Thurman: She’s rebellious. She’s misunderstood. She’s lonely. She’s trying to find herself as a young woman. She’s finding her own voice. She’s trying to relate to her teachers. She’s trying to find herself as a student. She’s quite incredible.
MTV: How much of that could describe Uma at 17?
Thurman: I was already acting in films by 17. I had made “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen.” I had made four films by 18! So I had a different life. [My character] says in the movie, “When’s it going to start?” I felt that a lot. I felt that so badly. So I went and got a job. I was very, very restless. Very eager to get my life started, very panicked about it almost.
MTV: Why were you so restless?
Thurman: What really got me was I somehow knew you didn’t stay living with your parents, like, that wasn’t going to be enough. And I then got really scared, like, well, then what will I do? If I can’t stay here, what am I going to do? It became an obsession. It’s my explanation for why I was kind of so eager to start my adult life as a child.
MTV: This film revolves around a horrific violent act in a school. It’s clearly a different kind of violence than we’ve seen in your films before.
Thurman: Well, only in the Tarantino films I’ve made. Otherwise I don’t have a history of making films involving violence. He’s sort of playing my little exception to that.
MTV: If you’re going to make an exception, it might as well be for someone like Quentin.
Thurman: Might as well. I mean, it’s so much fun! Look, I can’t complain. I think there’s something über-modern both in “Pulp Fiction” and in the “Kill Bill” movies. Being a part of that has been an amazing experience for me.
MTV: He was talking at one point about anime. Have you guys ever talked more about that?
Thurman: His anime stuff is strong. Right now, he’s putting the two films together with an intermission with an added anime sequence he had already written. So additional stories are in there, in animation.
MTV: Will you be doing the voice of the bride?
Thurman: It has nothing to do with me. It has to do with another character. You’ll have to see.
MTV: I’ve heard you almost appeared in the “Lord of the Rings” films.
Thurman: Yeah, I was asked. I wish I had done it. I had a small child at the time, and I couldn’t go away for a year. I was just too attached to home. It just caught me at the wrong moment.
MTV: Are you a big fan of those books?
Thurman: Huge! Oh, I truly wish I could’ve been able to take that plunge, and maybe I should’ve, but I just couldn’t at the time.
MTV: Was it to be Miranda Otto’s character, Eowyn?
MTV: Another project I heard you almost did was a Stanley Kubrick film. Is that true?
Thurman: I was going to make a film with him. For a long time I was scheduled to make a film with him.
MTV: Was that “Wartime Lies”?
Thurman: Yes. I was contracted to do it, and things happened and he shelved the film. He never made the film.
MTV: What was your interaction with him like?
Thurman: Well, we only spoke on the phone. But it was devastating because it was an incredible part. It would have been the part of my career, the best part I ever had been offered or had written for me, or anything.
Check out everything we’ve got on ” The Life Before Her Eyes.”
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