Kill Bill: Michelle Yeoh on Why Tarantino Didn't Cast Her in Film
There's no secret that Quentin Tarantino is an avid fan of Asian cinema as he credits Michelle Yeoh's performance in the Jackie Chan-starred action comedy Police Story 3: Super Cop (1992) as a major influence for conceiving Uma Thurman's The Bride in Kill Bill, which was separated in two volumes. The films follow a former assassin (Thurman) who recovers from her coma and kills her way to the top of the criminal organization she was once a part of. As far as why the writer-director didn't cast her in the film, Yeoh revealed what his reasoning was.
"I asked Quentin the same question," the Everything Everywhere All at Once star told Town & Country. "He's very smart. He said, 'Who would believe that Uma Thurman could kick your ass?'" That didn't stop Tarantino from conceptualizing another martial arts legend in Bruce Lee. The director had Brad Pitt's Cliff Booth fight Lee (Mike Moh) in a sequence showing Cliff holding his own in 2019's Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood. Lee's daughter Shannon Lee criticized Tarantino's depiction of her father, citing how often she had to fight to preserve his image still to this day from those who'd exploit his memory.
How Quentin Tarantino Convinced Michelle Yeoh to Continue Acting
The director did have a hand in inspiring Yeoh to resume her acting career following her injury in 1996's The Stunt Woman. "I thought I broke my back. I thought I was paralyzed," she said, revealing that Tarantino visited her at the hospital in Hong Kong for a screening of Pulp Fiction. "I must say, Quentin, he's persistent. He is who he is today because he's full of passion and love, so he wore me down. Suddenly we became animated. So then I thought, 'Maybe I'm not ready to give up on this.'" "I was just a huge, huge fan of hers," Tarantino said. "There was always a twinkle in her eye." For more on Yeoh's life and career, you can check out the interview here.