Thursday, February 25, 2021

The truth about Diane Kruger's choking scene

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Yes, those are the hands of Quentin Tarantino you see in that vicious POV close-up of the life being choked out of Bridget Von Hammersmark in Inglourious Basterds' waning moments. While the scene is considerably less vivid than the sight of Hitler and Goebbels being machine-gunned to a fleshy, bloody pulp in that movie theater finale, most would agree it's no less brutal. Some might even say the scene is all the more unforgettable for its visceral authenticity.

That unsettling sense of hyper-reality is the very reason Tarantino lobbied Kruger to endure actually being choked in the moment, with the director admitting as much in a typically candid 2013 interview on The Graham Norton Show. Tarantino points out that Kruger consented to the act, but such behavior still landed him in the hot seat when his name came up amid the #MeToo movement in Hollywood years later. Tarantino's name arose after Uma Thurman broke the news that he'd endangered her life on the set of Kill Bill by reportedly forcing her to drive a car against her will — an act which led to a dangerous crash and permanent knee damage for the actor.

Some in the movement seized on Tarantino's admission that he choked Kruger on the set of Inglourious Basterds as further proof of the director taking undue advantage of a female actor. Kruger was, however, quick to come to Tarantino's defense with an Instagram post exonerating the director of any wrongdoing by stating clearly, “He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn't comfortable with.”

As it is, the infamous choking scene was indeed a mutual act of art shared between actor and director — even if it remains a touch dubious to some.

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