Movie Article

Splitting the 'Bill'

Tarantino splits ''Kill Bill'' into two features. Miramax breaks the three-hour revenge epic into two movies

Quentin Tarantino hasn't released a movie in six years, but over the next few months, he'll release two. As Entertainment Weekly predicted last week, Tarantino and Miramax cochair Harvey Weinstein have taken a page from Uma Thurman's samurai-sword-wielding heroine in ''Kill Bill'' and sliced the kung fu epic in two. Weinstein told the New York Times that the first installment will be released Oct. 10 as planned, with the second half coming two to six months later.

Tarantino's script for the movie -- in which Thurman plays an assassin who is left for dead on her wedding day, wakes from a coma five years later, and seeks revenge on her former boss, crime lord Bill (David Carradine) -- was 197 pages long; at roughly a minute per page, that resulted in a three-hour movie that took Tarantino 155 days to shoot last year. Three weeks ago, Tarantino showed Weinstein an hour and a half of footage, and they made the decision to cut the film into two parts. ''There were no obstacles involved in splitting up 'Kill Bill' at all because I've always designed the movie, thought about the film, as malleable in any number of versions,'' Tarantino said in a statement.

Now Miramax gets two Tarantino movies for the price of one (just $55 million, the Times reports, since the movie was shot largely in China, where labor costs are low), though it will have to renegotiate the salaries of stars Thurman and Lucy Liu, who plays one of Bill's own killers. Look for them both to get increased percentages of the gross, executives familiar with the stars' contracts told the Times.

Originally posted Jul 16, 2003
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