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The Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a…

The Kill Bill Diary: The Making of a Tarantino Classic as Seen Through the…

by David Carradine

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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.
  smurfwreck | Apr 18, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060823461, Paperback)

David Carradine is Bill—the complex, charismatic master assassin from the critically acclaimed, monstrously successful Kill Bill films. Throughout the filming of Quentin Tarantino's brilliant, violent epic, Carradine kept a daily diary—capturing all the action, the genius, the madness, and the magic that combined to make a masterpiece. More than simply an insider's close-up look at the filmmaking process and the astonishing cast and crew—director Tarantino, star Uma Thurman, and all the other artists whose extraordinary skills helped create something glorious—The Kill Bill Diary illuminates the fine points of the serious actor's craft, as a truly unique talent takes us along with him on a quirky, breathtaking, no-holds-barred, and altogether miraculous journey. It is a must-own volume for anyone who loves the movies.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:34 -0400)

PERFORMING ARTS: FILMS, 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 feted by Tarantino and the subsequent two years spent making the two-part feature film with co-star Uma Thurman. 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. A rare and wholly authentic insight into the creation of a Hollywood blockbuster and the experience of a screen legend.… (more)

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