20 facts you might not know about Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2
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20 facts you might not know about Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2

Quentin Tarantino has always worn his influences on his sleeve. That is readily apparent when you watch his two-film martial arts extravaganza “Kill Bill Vol. 1” and “Kill Bill Vol 2.” While technically these films cover one story, they also feel like decidedly different movies. There’s a lot to unpack when it comes to the story of The Bride and her quest for vengeance against, well, Bill. Here are 20 facts that span the two volumes of the “Kill Bill” story.

 
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1. It was originally supposed to be one film

It was originally supposed to be one film
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Tarantino is not afraid of a long movie. Just look at “The Hateful Eight.” However, even he realized that his original plan to make “Kill Bill” a single movie was too much. He turned it into two volumes in lieu of releasing a movie that was four hours long.

 
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2. The concept was a joint collaboration

The concept was a joint collaboration
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While working on “Pulp Fiction,” Tarantino and Uma Thurman started to strike up the idea for the character of the Bride. The director hung out with Thurman while he was working on the film and they helped shape the movie together. While Tarantino gets the lone writing credit, he did credit the story to “Q & U.”

 
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3. A different actor was the original choice for Bill

A different actor was the original choice for Bill
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While the titular Bill is not seen physically in “Vol. 1,” he is a key component of the story. After all, the Bride is driven by her desire to, you know, kill him. Originally Tarantino was writing the role for Warren Beatty. Once he realized that some martial arts work would be necessary he decided to cast David Carradine into the role instead.

 
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4. Daryl Hannah got cast in a very Tarantino way

Daryl Hannah got cast in a very Tarantino way
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Actors get cast based on previous work fairly often. Leave it to Tarantino to get a little more esoteric with it. He says he cast Daryl Hannah as Elle Driver based on her starring role in “First Target.” Don’t feel bad if you don’t remember that one. It’s a 2000 made-for-TV movie that aired in the United States on TBS.

 
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5. One character has become a recurring figure

One character has become a recurring figure
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Michael Parks has a role as Earl McGraw, a Texas Ranger who is investigating the wedding chapel massacre that puts the Bride in her coma. You may have seen McGraw before because Parks plays the same role in “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn,” which was written by Tarantino and directed by Robert Rodriguez. Parks went on to reprise the role again in both segments of “Grindhouse,” the dual films directed by good buddies Tarantino and Rodriguez.

 
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6. Tarantino pays a lot of homage to martial arts films

Tarantino pays a lot of homage to martial arts films
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The Bride wears a very similar tracksuit to Bruce Lee in “Game of Death.” Tarantino also used the logo for the iconic Shaw Brothers Studio in the opening titles to up the vintage martial arts film ante. Additionally, legendary martial arts film star Sonny Chiba plays the role of swordmaker Hattori Hanzo.

 
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7. Tarantino shot in order

Tarantino shot in order
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 A lot of filmmakers will shoot movies out of order. They shoot when shooting is convenient. That was not the method that Tarantino used for “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” though. He actually shot the movie in sequence instead.

 
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8. One segment was a huge time suck

One segment was a huge time suck
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The showpiece of the first volume is clearly the fight at the House of Blue Leaves where the Bride takes down dozens of members from the Crazy 88s. Tarantino refused to use CGI for this scene, opting for practical effects instead. This may be why a section of the film that was supposed to take two weeks to shoot took a whopping eight weeks instead. That’s right, Tarantino spent basically two months on that fight scene alone.

 
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9. A real unfortunate accident happened on the movie

A real unfortunate accident happened on the movie
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While filming, Thurman was asked to drive a car for one scene. She wanted to use a stunt driver, but Tarantino prodded Thurman to handle the driving herself. Thurman lost control of the car and crashed into a tree, damaging her knees and suffering a concussion. This accident led to a loss of trust between Thurman and Tarantino and hurt their relationship for years.

 
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10. “Vol. 1” was a big financial success

“Vol. 1” was a big financial success
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The first “Kill Bill” is a violent, somewhat esoteric film. However, it was also a Quentin Tarantino movie, his first since “Jackie Brown” in 1997. Perhaps that led to excitement for the film. “Kill Bill Vol. 1” debuted atop of the box office and made $180.9 million worldwide on a $30 million budget.

 
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11. Two actors play different roles in the second volume

Two actors play different roles in the second volume
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We mentioned Parks plays Earl McGraw in “Vol. 1.” Parks returns in “Vol. 2,” but in the role of Esteban Vihaio. On top of that, Gordon Liu – who played Johnny Mo in the first movie – plays Pai Mei in the second.

 
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12. Tarantino was late to realizing a key plot point

Tarantino was late to realizing a key plot point
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For much of the first film, we assume that the Bride lost her child during the attack at her wedding. Then, we find out her child is alive, and we even see her grown up in “Vol. 2” when the Bride herself realizes her daughter survived. Tarantino was actually basically at the end of the writing process when he realized he could have the daughter still be alive as a twist.

 
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13. The second volume made even more money than the first

The second volume made even more money than the first
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Much like its predecessor, “Vol. 2” was made on a budget of $30 million. It was the first that ended the juggernaut of “The Passion of the Christ” on top of the worldwide box office. In the end, “Vol. 2” brought in $152.2 million.

 
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14. Neither movie got any Oscars love

Neither movie got any Oscars love
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Tarantino has won Oscars, and actors have won Oscars for his films. Shout out to Christoph Waltz! Apparently, the Academy didn’t have much affinity for kung fu flicks, though. Both “Kill Bill” movies were blanked at the Oscars, a rarity for Tarantino.

 
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15. Other awards dug them, though

Other awards dug them, though
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Uma Thurman picked up a Golden Globe nomination for both movies, though she didn’t win either time. There were some wins, though, especially over at MTV. Both films received three MTV Movie Awards nominations, and both films won awards. In fact, “Kill Bill Vol. 1” went three-for-three on its nominations.

 
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16. Tarantino did eventually put the whole thing together

Tarantino did eventually put the whole thing together
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A director who always likes to tinker and mess around – he wrote a novelization for “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood” just for the sake of it – Tarantino did eventually get an itch to turn these two films back into one. He combined both films with a lengthy animated sequence for what he called “Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair.” The film was screened in 2011 at the New Beverly Cinema, which Tarantino owns.

 
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17. Tarantino has talked about a third film

Tarantino has talked about a third film
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Starting in 2004, Tarantino started talking about making a third “Kill Bill” movie. There was talk that it would focus on the daughter of Vivica A. Fox’s character seeking revenge for her mother against the Bride. Then, he said he would make two anime “Kill Bill” movies. Oh, and he said he would release a third “Kill Bill” in 2014 as his ninth film. That didn’t happen, obviously. As recently as 2019 Tarantino said he was considered making another “Kill Bill” and then said he had changed his mind in the span of six months.

 
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18. “Kill Bill” inspired a Norwegian parody

“Kill Bill” inspired a Norwegian parody
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In 2007, a Norwegian film called “Kill Buljo” was released. It’s a parody of “Kill Bill” that seems pretty specific to Norwegian culture. We may not be able to parse it, but apparently, Tarantino signed off on the idea.

 
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19. The music might all be familiar

The music might all be familiar
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Tarantino has used scores in his film before, but the man likes to use music he’s a fan of. All the music in the “Kill Bill” films was taken from other sources, often other movies. A lot of the music was sourced from Tarantino’s own personal soundtrack collection.

 
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20. The two films have very different body counts

The two films have very different body counts
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A lot of people die in “Kill Bill, Vol. 1,” so much so that the number that gets reported changes. We’ve seen as low as 41 and as high as 95, though the number we feel most confident in is 62. It’s a lot easier to parse the death totals in “Vol. 2.” A mere three people are seen killed in the second movie. Of course, one of them is Bill, and his death is worth a bit extra.

Chris Morgan is a sports and pop culture writer and the author of the books The Comic Galaxy of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and The Ash Heap of History. You can follow him on Twitter @ChrisXMorgan.

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