Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino found kindred spirits in each other during the independent movie boom of the 1990s. They were both eager up-and-comers with a flair for cinematic violence and a wealth of arcane pop-culture trivia at their disposal. And both had wowed the movie world with blood-drenched, low-budget debut features: El Mariachi and Reservoir Dogs respectively. It was only natural that they should become friends and, occasionally, collaborators. In November 1994, Rodriguez and Tarantino were working on the ill-fated anthology film Four Rooms when Tarantino read Rodriguez some excerpts of a new screenplay he was working on at the time: Kill Bill. Tarantino had famously dreamed up the project with Uma Thurman on the set of Pulp Fiction, and he was obviously eager to share what he’d written. On an episode of The Director’s Chair on his own El Rey Network, Rodriguez revealed to Tarantino that he’d saved a videotape of that fateful early reading. To hear Rodriguez tell it, if he hadn’t filmed the event, this version of the script might have been lost to time entirely, since Tarantino is so careless about holding on to mementos of his career.
The excerpt in question is the opening, in which a bride and groom are gunned down in a wedding chapel. Both appear dead. Then, still improbably in her wedding dress, the miraculously resurrected bride addresses the audience on the topic of revenge while behind the wheel of car. Tarantino points out that the first Kill Bill film did not emerge until 2003, so this was a very early draft indeed. As fans of the film will surely note, this version of the script is notably different, both in its stage directions and dialogue, from what eventually emerged on screen. The revenge soliloquy, for instance, was originally conceived as a garishly colorful shot. In the finished film, it is in black and white. Not surprisingly, the second Kill Bill also carries a prominent dedication to Rodriguez.
[Note: El Rey, like The A.V. Club, is owned by Univision Communications.]