Bill may have finally died on the 135th day of shooting of Quentin Tarantino's ''Kill Bill,'' but the thriller starring Uma Thurman as a trained assassin looking for revenge on her former colleagues -- which was supposed to have wrapped sometime in October -- still isn't finished. After Miramax gave the director a drop-dead completion date of Dec. 25, Tarantino scaled down a climactic beach fight between Thurman and David Carradine and wrapped principal photography. But with a grab bag of minor scenes and pickup shots left, the production -- which has already landed in Beijing, Tokyo, and swaths of Southern California -- will head down to Mexico for finishing touches in late January.
Needless to say, its once-planned debut at this May's Cannes film festival (where Tarantino famously took the world film community by storm with ''Pulp Fiction'') is now out of the question. ''When we started, like, going over, executives were saying 'Do we have a runaway train on our hands?''' says Tarantino. ''When I heard that, I got mad, because [the budget overruns] are just a bureaucratic curlicue. I'll worry when I get a call from Harvey Weinstein. And he called me in China after seeing the dailies and said, 'Quentin, just make your movie.'''
Even with the extended shoot, exotic locations, and staggering amount of film (the director has shot more than 700,000 feet), Tarantino says he's only $11 million over his $39 million budget. ''No one can believe it. They think we're lying,'' he says. ''Oliver Stone and Kathleen Kennedy [friends of the director of photography, Bob Richardson] were saying 'How?' My answer is, 'Well, try to make it for 39!'''