How could we dare give that right of choice to another individual?Bernardo Bertolucci admitted in a 2013 interview that he had withheld details from Maria Schneider about ’s sexual assault scene, specifically the use of butter, as he wanted her to react “as a girl, not as an actress”.In reality, it’s impossible to divorce gender from these discussions; not when history has been so dominated with stories of male directors inflicting focused, sustained torment upon their lead actresses. Thurman and Tarantino have certainly fit the label in the past, so have the likes of Alfred Hitchcock and Tippi Hedren.Yet a muse, in her essence, is a concept which places woman as the vessel, as the source, with the man able to take from her his inspiration and drive without ever offering the opportunity for equal partnership.Instead, that process seems so often wrenched from their hands, circumnavigated by the controlling hands of the “great male auteur”.Why are these women not trusted with creating their own journey to authenticity? Any actor will know their own physical and emotional limits when it comes to a role, they will know what helps them submerge deeper into character and what crosses boundaries into personal violation.
Our current culture judges the infliction of suffering on others – physical or emotional – as an object of celebration for male artists. And yet, if a female director does so much as speak her own mind, she’s immediately made a pariah under the label of “difficult” – see Lynne Ramsay, who was penalised for attempting to gain creative control over and eventually left the project.
Stanley Kubrick, for one, did nothing but take from ’s Shelley Duvall.
As the stories go, he deliberately created a hostile environment around her, alienating her from cast and crew, while demanding a record-breaking 127 takes from her for the baseball bat scene. The credit for her tortured, broken performance as Wendy Torrance all went to Kubrick.
She says that after she came back from the hospital, she and Tarantino had an “enormous fight” over the incident. And he was very angry at that, I guess understandably, because he didn’t feel he had tried to kill me,” Thurman said.
Also Read: Quentin Tarantino on Harvey Weinstein: ' I Wish I Had Taken Responsibility for What I Heard' Tarantino later showed remorse after Thurman’s then-husband, Ethan Hawke, came down to the set and spoke with him.