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The "Kill Bill" Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through the Eyes of a Screen Legend (Screen and Cinema) [Paperback]

David Carradine
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Sep 2007 Screen and Cinema
The quirky, strange and utterly sagacious meditations of David Caradine written during the making of Quentin Tarantino's contemporary classic in which Carradine played the lead role. When Carradine landed the lead role in Quentin Tarantino's new film, Kill Bill, it catapulted him into the Hollywood limelight. This journal captures his experience of being courted by Tarantino for the role of Bill and the subsequent two years spent making the two-part feature film with co-star Uma Thurman, nominated for a Best Actress Golden Globe. In its mixture of autobiography and behind-the-scenes diary, The Kill Bill Diary takes the reader on a fascinating and witty journey into the world of film-making and the art of an acclaimed director. Along the way Carradine describes the martial arts training required for the role, the experience of filming in China, working with Tarantino and falling in love with Uma Thurman while 'swinging a steel-tempered Samurai sword at her head'. In describing the pre-production, production and promoting of the film, Carradine gives readers a rare and wholly authentic insight into the creation of a Hollywood blockbuster and the experience of a screen legend.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Methuen Drama (3 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0713687789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0713687781
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 452,054 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

David Carradine is a screen legend. He has starred in over 100 feature films, a couple of dozen television movies and a range of theatre work. He received critical acclaim for his role in Quentin Tarantino's Kung Fu and played the eopnymous lead role in Tarantino's hit films Kill Bill.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Kill Bill Diary 12 Feb 2011
By J. Cook
Having read "Endless Highway" I hoped "The Kill Bill Diary" would be as insightful and enjoyable. I wasn't disappointed. David Carradine obviously had great respect for Quentin Tarantino but, rather than simply enthusing, he gives a real feeling of the process that produced this famous movie. Fascinating.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a must for any tarantino or david carradine fan 11 Feb 2008
By lucas
an aboustly brilliant book, giving a real ensight into the filming of a movie, an finding out what a cool guy quentin tarantino and Carradine are. its cool to read from someone's perspective who's totally down to earth an so easy to relate to. its almost like an autobiography of david carradine in this part of his life, while also touching on other parts of his earlier carrer. a real must own for any tatantino fan or any david carradine fan.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars It's not bad, it's just very light... 18 April 2007
By S. M. Robare - Published on Amazon.com
The Kill Bill Diary is sort of a hard book to review. I ended up giving it four stars because it's well written and engaging, but unfortunately very light. Carradine has done a wonderful job of chronicling his time spent working on the film, as well as shedding some light on both his process as an actor and what it's like as an actor to deal with studios such as Miramax (now the Weinstein Company), but the book tends to be a little off balance if only because it's so guarded. Carradine's prose is very interesting and comfortable, and the book reads very quickly, though in a very nice conversational way.

There is something to be desired in its Diary approach as the book struggles in this style choice, shifting between some all too expedited daily synopses to some almost uncomfortably personal correspondences (in particular a couple of gushing letters to Tarantino) with not much middle ground in between. Though at times Carradine's voice borders on arrogance (and with his lengthy body of work and his iconic rock star status after Kung Fu, who can blame him), he can just as easily come across as the most humble man on earth, so overall the POV of his experiences on the film come off almost pretty well balanced. At the end of the day though it's not as personal as one would think a "diary" would be, and because it tends towards skirting details it feels like he's holding back. Don't get me wrong, I think the book is very honest, and Carradine has a very positive outlook (I'm not expecting him to dish dirt or anything), but because he tends to hold back a little (either guardedly leaving out names or not really getting into detail) it reads a little flat or more like a blog instead of a book.

My biggest gripe with the book though is in its marketing. The back cover blurb makes the book out to be a "making-of" on the Kill Bill film when honestly it's really only about Carradine's time on the set which amounts to about a fourth of the film.

If you're looking for some light, behind the scenes reading on the film industry, this book is great, but if you are looking for "...an insider's close-up look at the film-making process and the astonishing cast and crew, ...the fine points of the actor's craft, ...[and a] breathtaking, no-holds-barred ... miraculous journey" (taken from the back cover) then you might be a little disappointed.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A minor gem underneath the autograph 21 May 2007
By Erica Bell - Published on Amazon.com
Before Tarantino, David Carradine was--and I'm quoting here, so don't think I'm dissing--a "cult actor who couldn't get work". As I imagine this sums up many opinions, the reader can forgive much from Carradine's production diary. And there's much to forgive, but it's always fun. Carradine's an engaging writer: parts puffy testosterone and lowly gratitude, arrogance and wide-eyed observer. He's everything you'd think (or fear), but never, ever pompous. And the star of the book--the superhero who comes off looking like a mutant crusader for film--is the ever-enthusiastic Tarantino. No wonder the cover quotes Quentin as saying--or yelling--, "I LOVED it!"

Carradine raps on everything--Thurman and Hannah's beauty, the weirdness of China, even Einstein: "Someone once asked Einstein if the universe was infinite. And he said, 'No. But it's ALMOST infinite.' Albert was one of the greatest stand-up comics of all time; I mean, look at his hair. He had to know that was funny. And I think the mustache was camouflage, to hide the secret smile."

Carradine takes the reader to production meetings, through fabulous sets, and out of snaffus that boggle the organized mind. Tarantino chucks out whole scenes, changes plot mid-stream, and coaxes grand performances out of everyone with a winning smile and hyperactive energy. I'd dearly like to know him, and now feel that I do.

Sure this book is mostly fluff, but underneath the glitz, we glimpse the sobering life of an aging minor (if cultic) star, and the gratitude with which he receives a second career. I actually held my breath at Carradine's bravery--one whole chapter is dedicated to a nightmare variation to the naked in class-taking the test you forgot in the course you never attended--dream, but on the set, his elusive script forever out of reach. The anxiety expressed here, the fear that something could go wrong with his comeback, is a universal fear anyone past the age of 30 can relate to, and I thought it was human of him to express it. Well, after all, it is a diary of sorts!

I found this book enjoyable, and a lot more thought-provoking--and fun--than I feared it would be. I hope he writes more.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who Knew Grasshopper Could Write So Well? 7 Feb 2007
By Bartleby the Scrivener - Published on Amazon.com
David Carradine's KILL BILL DIARY is unlike 90% of celebrity-penned 'behind-the-scenes' books: literate, insightful, witty and downright fun to read. Unlike 98.5% of actors who endeavor to wield a pen and express themselves in words, the man famous for playing "Kung Fu's" Kwai Chang Cain is as gifted a writer as he is a thespian.

True, the book reads like a valentine to KILL BILL director Quentin Tarantino (and to a lesser extent, KB star Uma Thurman); but Carradine's sentiments seem genuine, and therefore, tolerable. Anyone looking for insights into the production of the KILL BILL saga, and into the film business in general, will find them here. Much detail on the actor's life and career beyond the Tarantino film is provided, as well. Carradine's sharp eye for detail and self-deprecating humor make this a truly enjoyable read.

One flaw: the inclusion of on-set notes made by blogger Harry "Ain't It Cool" Knowles. Knowles' garbled, self-centered blather is a written version of the sound fingernails make when raked across a chalkboard. The only positive thing about this Knowles intrusion? It helps the reader to appreciate Carradine's graceful, articulate writing even more. Readers: do yourselves a favor and skip over the Harry Knowles pages. Author & Editors: in future editions, dump Knowles.

Overall, though, this is a wonderful work by an intelligent, perceptive writer. Let's hope David Carradine will be as prolific an author as he is an actor.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Diary of a Film Masterpiece 22 Feb 2007
By Michael K. Hall - Published on Amazon.com
I finally finished this and I'm sad it's over. I can't call it 5-star worthy, because there are obvious flaws, but anyone who would take the time to read this, probably won't care about it. (If you hated the film why on earth would you read the book, right?).

This is actually NOT Carradine's first book (see Endless Highway, which is unfortunately out of print) and since I just started reading it, I can't say which I prefer, but Carradine's friendly narrative is what draws you in and keeps you reading even when the story flags. Like any journal there are some bits that maybe we could have lived without (much to much family stuff, but hey they sound great, so why not go on and on about them?) and of course his experience on Kill Bill was limited to the time he was involved.

This is certainly NOT a complete Making of Kill Bill. It's budget prohibited David being on the set except when he was needed so there are definite gaps in the "movie" story. This is more than made up for with Carradine's letters to Tarantino, dozens of "insider" details about his time on the set, his hope that this will revitalize his career and much more. Carradine is a fascianting dude. This more than comes across in the story!

The one thing I kept thinking throughout the story and even more so now as I see a cheesy tv commercial featuring Carradine, is that unlike John Travolta, Kill Bill did NOT revitalize Carradine's career in the same way. He has been in very little of note since he made Kill Bill. I'm glad he's working, but what happen to the "Tarantino Revitalization"?

This is a somewhat sad footnote to the story that leaves me curious. Bill "was" a career making performance and role. Perhaps it is a continuation of the industry's slight of the film (no Oscar nominations, mixed reviews, no respect, darn it). Very little was made of Uma Thurman's brilliant performance (even more of an Oscar slight in years when very few female performances were Oscar-worthy). Is the industry jealous of Tarantino? Was this there chance to exact a little revenge on the bad boy outsider?

But I'll get off my tangent for now (it was afterall inspired by Carradine's optimism). To sum up: Read It! It's fun. It's gossipy. It's insightful. It's never boring! Some great color photos round out the text. Let's hope that Carradine is still acting and writing for some time. Thanks to Tarantino for making it all possible. And how about reprinting "Endless Highway" someone, anyone?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening 2 Aug 2013
By Christian Karl Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was not sure what to expect with this book, I only knew I liked Mr.Carradine and Mr Tarantino and the Kill Bill movies. I was very pleased to have on a few occasions to have met the Carradines, I was their guest for lunch many a time. The book was very refreshing and indirectly, I now have an even better appreciation of making the movie an the resultant "stuff" that happens after to movie. Get this book and crawl into the head a a Hollywood legend and Hollywood royalty.
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