Thurman options: Dancing, fighting
LILLE, France — People were lined up around the block for hours at Lille’s Le Nouveau Siecle theater on a recent Tuesday night, hoping to get into a keynote speech given by Uma Thurman.
She was joined onstage by French journalist Olivier Joyard, and the two discussed highlights from the actress’ blockbuster career as well as her new Netflix series “Chambers,” which bowed later that evening in the festival’s main International Competition.
“When Terry Gilliam cast me in his movie (“The Adventures of Baron Munchausen”), albeit in an ingenue role,” she recalled, “I think that was the pivot that made me realize it was real, that I would dedicate my life to the dramatic arts and work like an animal until I got good at it.
“Flying to Chichen Itza at 17 and seeing it transformed by his imagination, a true auteur, I realized I wasn’t just cheating out of school, but this was a real art form, and I could be part of it,” she added.
It wasn’t long before Thurman’s turn as Mia Wallace in Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” came up, and even she had to admit that some of her scenes will go down as “pure cinema.”
Two such scenes were screened for the audience, her character’s first, where the viewer sees nothing
“I was more afraid of the dancing than almost anything.”
April 7 birthdays:
more than her lips and fingers as she navigates a confused John Travolta through her stylish LA home, and the classic 1950s diner dance scene, again with Travolta.
The two colorful passages were immediately juxtaposed with one of Thurman, buried alive, as The Bride in “Kill Bill: Vol. 1.”
“I think it is always about dancing or fighting for your life,” she said. The words were literal when Joyard used them to describe the scenes but a bit more philosophical as she repeated them. “I got 12 shades of PTSD watching that. Those were epic experiences.”
Between dancing and fighting, Thurman admitted that dancing was the far more frightening prospect to a young actress. As a child she idolized Doris Day and imagined herself as a song-anddance actress, but her early growth spurt and discomfort with her body made that tough.
“I was more afraid of the dancing than almost anything,” she recalled. “Being big and awkward and still quite young then. But once I started dancing, I didn’t wanna stop, so it was a dream come true.”
Thurman is now producing and acting in “Chambers.” The series is a fantastic tale of a teenage girl who suffers a heart attack but is saved when a donor heart comes from another young woman who died in an accident. Thurman plays the mother of the deceased girl.
“Chambers” can be streamed worldwide on April 26.