Quentin Tarantino is known for his dialogue heavy scripts, and sticking to them word for word. With "Death Proof," his half of "Grindhouse," he let Kurt Russell add volumes to his character.
Russell plays Stuntman Mike, a charming driver who happens to kill women with his car. Written like a simple stalker/killer, Russell and Tarantino collaborated to create more moments of character.
“I think we were just plugging along and I turned around and looked at him and he said, ‘You should do one of those things where you look right at the camera.’ I said, ‘One of those Burt Reynolds kind of things?’ He said yeah, so I did a look, I did a look with a wink, and I actually did one with a wink and I start to sneeze. But we did ones where we just looked and got in the car. That’s what’s fun, you do all of these different things and then when he gets in the room, they sit there and make up their mind as to what movie they want to see.”
In a fight scene, Russell ad libbed lines to turn Mike into more of a wuss. “There was one thing where [Tarantino] said, ‘Are you saying Mommy?’ I said, ‘No, I’m saying Bobby. He’s calling for his brother he’s so out of it.’ This is one of the things I did just as they got there. I said, ‘Be careful, my right arm is broken!’ and they pulled me out. Then we looked at each other and then looked at the girls and he said, when I say that, to grab my right arm. We went back and we did it again, but it was actually hard to get the timing right. But we finally got the timing right, and he threw in a nice little crunch.”
Further improvs including speaking in a John Wayne voice. “I could never go too far for Quentin. Even he would surprise [himself], and I loved that about him. He [thought] that was too much until he put it in the movie, and he said, ‘Nope, that’s what I want to do.’ We wanted to do a lot of different things with Stuntman Mike.
"Grindhouse" is released this Friday and currently has a Tomatometer of 80 percent.
Can’t wait til Friday for the release of "Grindhouse?" Check out our "Grindhouse A to Z" feature for a fast and furious rundown of all the best exploitation classics that inspired Tarantino and Rodriguez’ double feature sleaze-fest!!