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The Kill Bill Diary by David Carradine Book Review

From The Quentin Tarantino Archives

by Sebastian Haselbeck

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Introduction
There is this remarkably fascinating thing about the casting of David Carradine as Bill. Not only did he turn out to be the perfect Bill, the actor Tarantino wrote the script for, and the only guy who could really pull it off, no, he is also - as opposed to Warren Beatty, who was originally considered - the more likely candidate to write a diary and then release it as the Kill Bill Diary, I do not think Warren would have done that. So we are being rewarded with a remarkable little paperback chronicling the making of Kill Bill from David Carradine's perspective, how sweet is that? Santa Clause put this book under my christmas tree and I read it in two days, with a few interruptions and here is what I think of it.

The Book
What can you say? It is a diary, as it says on the cover. David Carradine is a really entertaining writer, and he takes the reader on a journey through his experiences with Kill Bill. From the early days where he tells us how he got involved in the project, through the weeks and months of hard martial arts training, the script revisions and then the principal shooting in several countries. He finishes the book with all the premieres and publicity stuff he did with the rest of the bunch.
What makes this book so cool in my eyes, is how fast you can read it, considering the relatively short chapters and the enthusiasm with which David takes you through the days. At some point he throws in some of Harry Knowles' writing, he apparently likes the guy. It is a rich blend of personal stories he's telling and more or less technical accounts of the movie-making process. As Tarantino apparently once remarked, Annie (David's wife) is the star of the book, and I think that is true. She seems to be his guiding force, his source of energy, and that comes through very much in the book. There are large parts in the book where he describes the shooting very much in detail, such as the fight sequence with Michael Jay White, or the final chapter in the film with the little kid and Bill's demise in the garden. Those are moments where Mr Carradine had some of the most fun in his carreer, and then you notice, this diary is not just for people who want to know more about Kill Bill, this is a book he uses to chronicle some of the best experiences in this great artist's life. David Carridine is a legend, a celebrity, but then he's in a Quentin Tarantino film, and he turns into this young chap again, giving his best for a master director, who's pushing him and bringing the best out of him, taking his career up a notch again.
The Kill Bill Diary can very well be subsumed under the "I got up at 7:30, then we had breakfast" category, but it is so much more. It is a run-through of what an actor experiences during the making of a movie: Agents, film crews, transportation, reading screenplays (or not reading them), rehearsing, changes in schedule, partying, traveling, and all that sort of things. Once you close that book, there's this sense of familiarity. Not that you think you know Mr Carradine in and out by then (for that you'd have to read his excellent autobiography, but you get a true sense of how it was to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie - being David Carradine.

Bottom Line
The Kill Bill Diary is the consolation prize for the lack of a true DVD edition of the Kill Bill saga, that we're still waiting for. For now, it has to replace all the behind-the-scenes documentaries, the interviews, the audio commentaries and the production diaries that will hopefully be found on a future DVD. The book is a marvelous little journey, a quick read and an informative bit not only for Kill Bill fans, for Tarantino fans, or for David Carradine fans, but also for anyone who likes to have a quick look into an actor's perspective of a movie-making process. I had lots of fun reading this book, it has many great moments, and I can recommend it to everyone. The bottom line? It's only ten bucks, people, and it covers both the Kill Bill volumes ;-)

written by Sebastian Haselbeck (no unauthorized copying or republishing!)

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