According to Quentin Tarantino and Uma Thurman in the DVD documentary the idea for doing "Kill Bill" began during the filming of Pulp Fiction (1994). The two began talking about the kinds of movies that they would like to do and Quentin said he would like to do a 70's style kung-fu flick. Uma came up with the film's opening shot of her beaten up and wearing a wedding gown.
Quentin Tarantino owns the "Pussy Wagon" and drove as his everyday vehicle to promote the release of Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004). He licensed use of it for the Missy Elliott music video, "I'm Really Hot". It also appears in the video for "Telephone" by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé Knowles.
As Quentin Tarantino was leaving Japan after initial location scouting and securing the studios, he heard the all girl band "The 5,6,7,8's" playing over the store's speakers. He was so intrigued by the music that he asked a clerk who the band was. When he was told, Tarantino, who didn't have enough time to go to a music shop to get their CD, begged the clerk to sell him their copy. Quentin took the disc home, listened to it, and immediately signed the band to play during the "Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves" segment. All of the band's songs, including the stand-out "Woo Hoo" are covers of early 60's surfer songs.
In order to achieve the specific look of Chinese "wuxia" (martial arts) film of the 1970s, Quentin Tarantino gave director of photography, Robert Richardson, an extensive list of genre films as a crash-course in the visual style they used. The list included films by genre-pioneers Cheh Chang and the Shaw Brothers. Tarantino also forbade the use of digital effects and "professional" gags and squibs. As such, he insisted that bloody spurts be done in the fashion made popular by Chang Cheh: Chinese condoms full of fake blood that would splatter on impact.
Quentin Tarantino: [long take] After the Bride leaves O-Ren's door at the House of Blue Leaves (when Go-Go returns inside) the camera follows her down the stairs through the bar, past the kitchen, into the ladies room; we then go out of the ladies' room, back to the stairs and follow Sofie Fatale along the exact same path to the ladies' room, ending with the ring of her cellphone. The shot is done in a single, unedited take.
In the early stages of filming, O-Ren was supposed to be decapitated at the end of her battle with the Bride, but it was changed because she would have never known that the Bride's sword was truly a Hanzo sword had she been beheaded.
The original script featured the Bill character to be a master chemist. The liquid in the syringe was pointed out to be a concoction created by Bill entitled "Goodbye Forever". These potions/elixirs were to be detailed by on-screen subtitles. The Bride would also use a mix called "The Undisputed Truth" to get information from Sofie Fatale. In Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004), Bill would use "The Undisputed Truth" on the Bride.
At the beginning of the fight scene between O-Ren and The Bride, after O-Ren says, in Japanese, "I hope you saved your energy. If you haven't you may not last 5 minutes", it is exactly 4 minutes and 59 seconds from the time she steps forward and the music cues, until the fatal blow of the duel.
The black and white photography is ultimately a homage to '70s and '80s US television airings of kung fu movies. Black and white (as well as black and red), were used to conceal the shedding of blood from television censors. Originally, no black and white photographic effects were going to be used (and in the Japanese version none are), but the MPAA demanded measures be taken to tone the scene down. Tarantino merely used the old trick for its intended purpose, rather than merely as an homage.
The original trailer for this film, although featuring no actual bloodshed, raised the ire of the MPAA with the sight of The Bride's blood-stained clothes. As such it became the first to be subjected to the MPAA's new "no blood" policy for trailers, in which all sight of the bodily fluid must be alternately colored or removed entirely. This is why the trailers for this film (and similarly for every film released in the US thereafter) feature The Bride's clothes covered in blackish-brown stains where the blood would be.
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
R | 1h 51min | Action, Crime, Thriller | 10 October 2003 (USA)
The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her - a team she was once part of.
Director: Quentin Tarantino
Writers: Quentin Tarantino
Stars: Uma Thurman, David Carradine, Daryl Hannah