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What The Cast Of Kill Bill Is Doing Today

Back in 2003, Quentin Tarantino released his love letter to martial arts films: "Kill Bill: Volume 1." The film introduced the world to Uma Thurman's Bride, a woman on a quest to get revenge against her former team of assassins after they crash her wedding and kill everyone. The Bride survives her ordeal and travels around the world, punishing those who wronged her.

It's a great revenge flick and a fascinating homage to martial arts movies, blaxploitation flicks, anime, and grindhouse cinema, with Tarantino releasing the second volume of the two-part film six months after the first. It features a different style that aligns more with spaghetti westerns than the eastern cinema sources that dominate "Kill Bill: Volume 1." The epic saga was broken up into two separate films for two reasons: The stylistic differences would stand out more if there was a clear line of delineation between the two, and splitting it would also have the practical effect of making its runtime more manageable for audiences.

Tarantino was able to put together a talented cast for "Kill Bill," having some of his frequent co-collaborators share the screen with popular actors from around the world. The film was released almost 20 years ago, and here's what the main actors have been doing for the past two decades.

Uma Thurman

Uma Thurman's career began long before she picked up a Hattori Hanzō sword and began slaughtering her enemies. She got her start in the late 1980s, appearing in "Johnny Be Good," "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen," and "Dangerous Liaisons." Her most significant early role came in 1994 with "Pulp Fiction," gaining her widespread recognition and giving her the opportunity to collaborate with Quentin Tarantino for the first time.

In the film, her character describes a pilot episode she shot called "Fox Force Five." That minor subplot helped inspire Thurman and Tarantino to develop the character of The Bride (via IGN). It took a decade for the concept to come to fruition, and despite being seriously injured during production, Thurman continued working as soon as she hung up her samurai sword.

In the years since filming "Kill Bill," Thurman has appeared in a number of major films (albeit in supporting roles), including "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" and "The House That Jack Built." In 2022, she acted in the television series "Suspicion" and "Super Pumped," as well as the Disney+ original film, "Hollywood Stargirl."

Lucy Liu

Lucy Liu is well known for her work in feature films, but she got her start on the small screen with an appearance on a 1991 episode of "Beverly Hills, 90210." She was featured in numerous TV series over the years, but her most notable role was Ling Woo on "Ally McBeal." It wasn't until 2000 that she got a significant foothold in film, gaining widespread attention for playing Alex Munday in "Charlie's Angels." 

She knocked out a sequel a few years later, which is also the year she portrayed O-Ren Ishii in "Kill Bill: Volume 1." Liu's performance was exceptional, and only her character's sudden death prevented her from appearing in the second volume. Liu went onto greener pastures, carving out a unique space for herself in Hollywood, especially in voice acting.

She played Master Viper in the "Kung Fu Panda" franchise, recording her voice in English and Mandarin, and she's voiced many characters in dozens of films and TV series. While "Kung Fu Panda" is probably her most notable role since "Kill Bill," she hasn't left her on-camera work behind. She is playing Kalypso in "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," so she's putting her name into the ever-growing pile of amazing actors with a superhero film credit to their name.

Vivica A. Fox

Vivica A. Fox's career began in the early '80s when she got a job working as a dancer on "Soul Train." From there, she hit it big on the soaps, beginning with "Days of Our Lives," "The Young and the Restless," and many others. She worked primarily in television, but the silver screen is where she truly made her mark, thanks to Oliver Stone casting her in "Born on the Fourth of July."

Fox's success in feature films saw her cast in several big-budget tentpole flicks, including "Independence Day" and "Batman & Robin." When "Kill Bill" came around, she landed the role of Vernita Green, aka Jeanie Bell-Copperhead. Having taken part in the attempted hit on Beatrix Kiddo, Green finds herself in the number two position on Kiddo's Death List Five. A brief fight, an interruption by her daughter, and a knife to the chest ended her time in the film.

Since "Kill Bill: Volume 1" was completed, Fox has been steadily working. She hasn't landed any significant roles in major films, but she consistently churns out around ten TV movies every year, many for the Lifetime Channel. In a 2020 interview with NME, Fox discussed her thoughts about a possible "Kill Bill: Volume 3," something Quentin Tarantino brought up in an interview with Entertainment Weekly in 2004, explaining that it would focus on "Vernita Green's (Vivica A. Fox's) daughter, Nikki (Ambrosia Kelley)."

Daryl Hannah

Daryl Hannah has had a long and impressive career, beginning in 1978 with Brian De Palma's "The Fury." She followed that up by playing Pris Stratton in "Blade Runner," but her portrayal of Madison in "Splash" truly elevated her status as an A-list celebrity. Over the years, she appeared in many dramas and romantic comedies, keeping busy throughout the 1980s and '90s.

She played Elle Driver aka California Mountain Snake, one of the Deadly Viper gang members who took part in the wedding massacre. After the slaughter, she attempted to kill Kiddo in her hospital bed, but Bill called the hit off right before she was able to finish the job. Driver is one of the few characters who managed to survive the first volume, making an appearance in "Kill Bill: Volume 2," where she has a brutal battle with Kiddo in a very cramped space.

Hannah continued working after wrapping filming on both "Kill Bill" films, and she diversified a bit into television. She played Angelica Turning for 17 episodes of "Sense8." Hannah has spoken about a potential return to Elle Driver in a possible "Kill Bill: Volume 3," telling Film 24, "He [Tarantino] always meant it as a trilogy ... Think about it. There's always been a tradition of blind Samurais, and you never actually saw her [Driver] expire in the other film" (via /Film).

David Carradine

David Carradine was one of the biggest names Tarantino brought in for "Kill Bill" due to his longstanding status as one of America's best TV martial artists. In the early '70s, Carradine played Kwai Chang Caine, a Shaolin monk who traveled throughout the American West on "Kung Fu." He returned to the part in "Kung Fu: The Legend Continues" shortly before joining the cast of "Kill Bill." Incidentally, his character was referenced in the diner scene in "Pulp Fiction," so Tarantino is clearly a fan.

Carradine's filmography is extensive, going all the way back to 1963. He was cast as the eponymous Bill, the man who ordered the hit on Beatrix Kiddo. He also fathered her daughter and made her life miserable, so there's no confusion as to why she was dead set on finding and killing him, hence the film's title.

Carradine received some positive exposure for playing Bill, and he booked work in films like "True Legend" and "Crank: High Voltage" until 2009, when he tragically died under unusual circumstances at the age of 72, with the official cause of death listed as asphyxiation (via Reuters).

Michael Madsen

Michael Madsen has been working in film since 1982, but he didn't gain much recognition until he began working with Quentin Tarantino 10 years later. He appeared as Vic Vega aka Mr. Blond in Tarantino's directorial debut, "Reservoir Dogs," and he was an instant standout. Tarantino's films share a cinematic universe, often called the "Tarantinoverse," and Vic Vega is the brother of Vincent Vega (John Travolta) in "Pulp Fiction." 

Madsen played Budd, Bill's brother and a member of the hit gang, in "Kill Bill." He participated in the wedding massacre and got his just desserts in "Kill Bill: Volume 2." Since the film wrapped, Madsen has continued to work consistently, appearing in Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight" and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." The two longtime collaborators will likely continue working together. However, Tarantino has said he only wants to make ten films, and he's almost there, having finished nine with "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood."

Julie Dreyfus

Julie Dreyfus's career began in Japan, where she debuted on television with an educational channel's French language lesson show. Dreyfus is French but has spent a great deal of her life in Japan, and she's fluent in both languages. Initially, she wanted to work in interior design, but her exposure on television propelled her into an acting career, and she worked primarily in Japan. Over the years, she's appeared in numerous television series, including "Ryōri no Tetsujin," which western audiences know as "Iron Chef." 

Dreyfus was largely unknown to Western audiences throughout most of her career. She appeared in three episodes of "The Crow: Stairway to Heaven," which only lasted one season. It wasn't until she was cast to play Sofie Fatale in "Kill Bill: Volume 1" that people across the pond got a chance to see her work. She only appeared in the first film and managed to get her arm cut off by Kiddo before her fight with the Crazy 88 gang.

Unlike almost everyone else, she was kept alive so she could deliver a message to Bill, which she did. Dreyfus hasn't appeared in many films since "Kill Bill," but Tarantino brought her back to play Francesca Mondino, the French interpreter and mistress of Reich Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, in "Inglorious Basterds." Since then, she appears to have partially retired, as her last role was in a TV miniseries in 2013.

Chiaki Kuriyama

Chiaki Kuriyama is a Japanese actress and singer who gained international attention in 2000 when she played Takako Chigusa in "Battle Royale." That film was brutal, so it makes sense that Quentin Tarantino would eye one of its actors for "Kill Bill." Kuriyama was cast as Gogo Yubari in "Kill Bill: Volume 1," and she was adorable and vicious at the same time. When Beatrix Kiddo ends the party in the club before taking on the Crazy 88 gang, she has to get through Gogo, and it's no easy task. The girl comes armed with a smile and a meteor hammer with retractable blades. Ultimately, her ferocity proves to be her undoing. In one desperate attack, she misses her target, leaving an opening for Kiddo to take a table leg with particularly sharp nails and slam it into the side of her head. 

Kuriyama has continued to work consistently in Japan, knocking out dozens of films and television series in the intervening decades. Her most recent film is 2022's "Fullmetal Alchemist: The Final Alchemy," in which she plays Olivier Mira Armstrong. She has been very active in television since filming "Kill Bill" and landed a lead role on "24 Japan" in 2020. Despite her success in film and television, her focus has shifted to her singing career in recent years. She released an album, "Circus," in 2011, along with several singles.

Sonny Chiba

Sonny Chiba was an early breakout Japanese martial artist, gaining international acclaim for his work in "The Street Fighter," a brutal martial arts movie that received an X-rating in the States for graphic violence. Chiba spent his career starring in similar fare, having worked since 1960. The vast majority of his work was in Japanese cinema, but he also appeared in "Kill Bill: Volume 1," where he played the legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzō.

A few years after his work in "Kill Bill: Volume 1," Chiba took part in another Hollywood film, "The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift," but he was on the way to retirement by this time. He continued to work in Japanese cinema, though most of his later films were low-budget direct-to-video movies. He appeared in more than 125 films throughout his prolific career.

Chiba was discussed in a scene in "True Romance," so Tarantino was a longtime fan before he had a chance to work with him. Unfortunately, Chiba became ill with COVID-19 in August 2021, and while he showed improvement initially, the virus took a toll. A few days after he was hospitalized, he developed pneumonia, and 11 days after he contracted COVID-19, Variety reported that he died at the age of 82.

Gordon Liu

Long before he picked up a sword in "Kill Bill: Volume 1," Gordon Liu was kicking butt and taking names in Chinese cinema. Liu began working in martial arts films in 1973, and he built up a decent resume fairly quickly. He gained international attention for playing San Te in "The 36th Chamber of Shaolin." That film earned two sequels, and Liu's career was off to a great start. Quentin Tarantino was a longtime fan of Liu's work and attempted to find a role for him for several years before finally giving him two in the "Kill Bill" movies (via Talk Asia).

Liu is one of only two actors who was given multiple roles in the films. His first came in "Volume 1," where he played Johnny Mo, the leader of the Crazy 88 gang. He's taken out during Beatrix Kiddo's rampage through the club, but in "Volume 2," Liu returned to play Master Pai Mei, the martial arts master who trained Bill's girls. He was responsible for turning Kiddo into a killing machine.

"Kill Bill" was Liu's first foray into Hollywood, having spent his entire career working in Asian cinema. He must have enjoyed something new, because in 2008 he gave Bollywood a try, playing another bad guy in "Chandni Chowk to China." In 2011, Liu had a stroke and head injury, which forced him into early retirement.

Ambrosia Kelley

Ambrosia Kelley was the adorable little girl, Nikki, who stumbles upon her mother fighting Beatrix Kiddo in their living room. Shortly after this, she walks in to see her mother dead on the floor, leading Kiddo to tell her that if she's still raw about the situation when she grows up, she'll be waiting for her. This line is the primary impetus for a potential sequel. As mentioned previously, Quentin Tarantino plans to make "Kill Bill: Volume 3," which would center around Ambrosia Kelley's character, grown up and out for vengeance. 

Kelley's career began with an appearance on "Popular" in 2000, and she earned a few credits before landing the role of Nikki Bell on "Kill Bill: Volume 1." She also appeared in the second volume and continued to work sporadically in the industry with appearances in "This Christmas" and "How to Rock," but her last credit is from 2012. 

Kelley is now in her early 20s, and her Twitter page lists her occupation as "Actress, singer, song witer (sic), performer, dancer, and model," so she hasn't quit the industry. Kelley's YouTube page features several videos, some of her singing, but she hasn't posted any new content since 2012.

Michael Bowen

Michael Bowen's career has ensured that he's one of those actors you've definitely seen before, although you may not know his name. He gained early success by playing Tommy in "Valley Girl" and is probably best known for his television work, playing Jack Welker on "Breaking Bad" and Danny Pickett on "Lost." Most of his film roles have been relatively minor, but he gained a great deal of attention in 2003, thanks to "Kill Bill: Volume 1."

Bowen played Buck, a character who is only in the movie very briefly, but has an important role: He's the third person we get to see Beatrix Kiddo take out, and he gives her his wheels, though not willingly. Bowen had a brief appearance in the second film, and has worked relatively consistently ever since. He's shown up on a few television series, including "Grey's Anatomy," "Scoundrels," and "Gotham," where he got to play Patrick "Matches" Malone, who is one of Bruce Wayne's secret identities in the comics. Bowen's most recent film credit comes from 2020, when he played Feldman in "A Soldier's Revenge," followed by an appearance on "Grey's Anatomy" the following year.

Samuel L. Jackson

Of all the actors featured in the "Kill Bill" films, Samuel L. Jackson is probably the most successful and well-known. Jackson's career began in the early 1970s, and has frequently collaborated with Quentin Tarantino. The director must think he's a good luck charm, because he's featured Jackson in more of his movies than any other actor.

Jackson was barely in "Kill Bill," as he played the organ player, Rufus, in the church sequence. He's one of the many people killed during the massacre. His only real screen time comes in a black-and-white flashback where he discusses the music with the bride and groom. That's it — so you'd be forgiven for not realizing he was even in the movie. 

Jackson has the auspicious honor of being the highest-earning actor of all time. That's not to say he's made the most money, but he's been in so many blockbuster film franchises his name is attached to the most box office dollars. According to The Numbers, he's at the top of the list with more than $27.7 billion. Much of that money comes from the many films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, "Jurassic Park," and "Star Wars." Jackson has certainly kept himself busy, and he's setting the bar incredibly high.

Michael Parks

Michael Parks started working in television in 1960, and appeared in numerous walk-on roles on dozens of series throughout the decade. His big break came in 1969 when he was cast as the lead, Jim Bronson, in "Then Came Bronson."

He worked consistently through the 1970s and 1980s, and began to earn more high-profile roles in the 1990s, which saw him featured in "Twin Peaks" and "From Dusk Till Dawn." These helped him land not one, but two roles in the "Kill Bill" films. In the first volume, Parks played Texas Ranger Earl McGraw, the man who arrives at the wedding massacre and discovers The Bride is still alive (when she spits in his face). He returned for the second volume, playing Estebann Vihaio, a Mexican pimp who ultimately directs Kiddo to Bill's location.

Kevin Smith took a liking to Parks' work, and wrote "Red State" and "Tusk" for the actor. He called Parks his "cinematic muse" in a tribute on Instagram. In May 2017, Variety reported that Parks' agent announced his death. Parks was 77 when he died, though his cause of death has not been revealed.