In companion footage for the horror double feature Grindhouse—comprised of the Quentin Tarantino-directed Death Proof and the Robert Rodriguez-directed Planet Terror—Fergie, who starred in Planet Terror, alleges that Tarantino bit her so hard it left a mark. The story, told in a special bonus feature for the DVD, gains new relevance following recent allegations that he has a history of mistreating women on set.
“As I was filming the scene where the zombies attack me, Quentin really got into it. I think he had a lot of fun with that,” Fergie says in the interview of the 2006 shoot. “He’s doing the whole run with me, so it’s great. So I look over and see Quentin, and I have to kind of visualize this zombie-esque character. And we kept having to re-do the scene because he was so into being this creature that he was making all these noises. And he was blaming it on the other guys, but really Quentin was making all the noise.”
“So I’m doing the scene, right,” she says in a different interview, also in the special feature. “And he starts biting me.” In the clip, Tarantino tackles her, and then we hear Fergie laugh and say, “Fucker, get off me.”
“It wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t like a bite, she wasn’t bleeding or anything,” Rodriguez says in his interview. “Certainly you felt some teeth on flesh. It happens, people get into the role.”
Later in the clip, she shows the camera the bite wound on her arm and says, “Quentin fucking bit me. And by the end of this shoot, I will bite him back.”
In a 2007 interview with Maxim promoting the film (via Celebitchy), Fergie describes the incident again: “In one scene, Quentin got really into the character and bit me. My manager has it on his camera. I’m not going to sue him or anything, but I wanted documentation. It was crazy cool.”
The Daily Beast reports that Rose McGowan, a Harvey Weinstein accuser and another star in Grindhouse, has also alleged misconduct by Tarantino:
[She] wrote in her new memoir Brave that, “The first time I met Tarantino, and for years after, every time he’d see me, he said, ‘Rose! I have your movie Jawbreaker on laser disc! I can’t tell you how many times I used the shot where you’re painting your toes!’” She continued, “That means Tarantino paid extra money to jerk off to my young feet and told me about it loudly, over and over, for years, in front of numerous people.”
Additionally, according to The Telegraph, “McGowan writes that for all the praise Tarantino receives for depicting strong female characters in his films, he also ‘beats the s—- out of them for his enjoyment.’”
McGowan has also recently alleged that Rodriguez used his knowledge of her experience with Weinstein “as a tool for mind games” on the set of Grindhouse, according to Vanity Fair:
McGowan fell hard and fast, trusting Rodriguez enough to tell him about her experience with Weinstein. He proceeded to use the knowledge against her, she claims, as a tool for mind games, starting with a scene in which Tarantino, playing a character in his movie, attacks McGowan’s character. “I was in a backward world,” she writes. “I was losing my grip on sanity.” In what McGowan interpreted as the ultimate act of cruelty, Rodriguez “sold our film to my monster.”
In a statement provied to the magazine, Rodriguez denied McGowan’s version of the story, but said that he agreed “with what Rose is trying to do overall, which is continue to push for change both in our industry and beyond.”
Fergie’s (and McGowan’s) anecdote jibes with other reports of Tarantino’s violent behavior on set. In an interview with Maureen Dowd for the New York Times, Uma Thurman described Tarantino as a manipulator and chronic defender of Harvey Weinstein, including after Thurman recounted her own assault. (Of the Weinstein allegations, Tarantino has confessed, “I knew enough to do more than I did. There was more to it than just the normal rumors, the normal gossip. It wasn’t secondhand. I knew he did a couple of these things.”)
To the Times, Thurman recounted how Tarantino routinely disregarded her safety on set, pressuring her to perform her own stunts in Kill Bill in an unsafe car, which ended up crashing into a tree. Thurman also said that Tarantino got physically involved in some of the staged violence, “...spitting in her face in the scene where Michael Madsen is seen on screen doing it and choking her with a chain in the scene where a teenager named Gogo is on screen doing it.”
In response to Thurman’s allegations, Jessica Chastain wrote on Twitter:
Tarantino has also spoken on the Graham Norton Show about how he strangled Diane Kruger in Inglourious Basterds:
“Whenever you do a close-up of somebody being strangled in a film, I never buy it,” he said. “When somebody’s actually being strangled, there’s a thing that happens to their face, they way they turn a certain color, their veins pop out...”
“So I just said to her, what I’m gonna do is I’m gonna be the hands and what I’m gonna do is just strangle you. I’m gonna cut off your air for just a little bit of time, we’ll see the reaction in your face and then we’ll cut. The stunt guy will be there watching it, making sure, and we’ll just do it once and we never have to do it again. And she trusted me.”
The anecdote is followed by one of his fellow guests joking about how he enjoyed it. James McEvoy asks if he’s ever tried sex scenes that way.
In an Instagram post this week, Kruger defended Tarantino, saying that working with him was “pure joy.”
“He treated me with utter respect and never abused his power or forced me to do anything I wasn’t comfortable with,” she wrote.
And on Monday, Jezebel republished audio footage from a 2003 interview between Tarantino and Howard Stern, in which Tarantino defended Roman Polanski’s assault of Samantha Geimer when she was 13-year-old girl:
“He didn’t rape a 13-year-old. It was statutory rape...he had sex with a minor. That’s not rape. To me, when you use the word rape, you’re talking about violent, throwing them down—it’s like one of the most violent crimes in the world. You can’t throw the word rape around. It’s like throwing the word ‘racist’ around. It doesn’t apply to everything people use it for.”
“Look, she was down with this,” he said.
Tarantino has since offered an apology to Geimer via a statement provided to IndieWire on Thursday:
I want to publicly apologize to Samantha Geimer for my cavalier remarks on The Howard Stern Show speculating about her and the crime that was committed against her. Fifteen years later, I realize how wrong I was. Ms. Geimer WAS raped by Roman Polanski. When Howard brought up Polanski, I incorrectly played devil’s advocate in the debate for the sake of being provocative. I didn’t take Ms. Geimer’s feelings into consideration and for that I am truly sorry.
So, Ms. Geimer, I was ignorant, and insensitive, and above all, incorrect.
I am sorry Samantha.
Jezebel has reached out to representatives for Fergie, Tarantino, Rodriguez, and McGowan, and will update the post if we hear back.
Update (February 9, 2018, 9:05 a.m.): Fergie responded to the biting incident to Entertainment Tonight, saying it was just “banter.”
“That was a long time ago, first of all,” she said. “First off, I just wanna say I stand with victims everywhere, no matter what genre, race, gender, age. I stand with victims, period, and I don’t want to take away from anyone’s story. That just wasn’t my story. We were just kind of having banter like I did with the Black Eyed Peas on tour, and we were having a little bit of fun.”