Thur­man op­tions: Danc­ing, fight­ing

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - ENTERTAINM­ENT - By Jamie Lang

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.

ELISABETTA VILLA/GETTY

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