One of Quentin Tarantino’s most ambitious projects of his career is the Kill Bill films. In the movies, star Uma Thurman wowed audiences with quiet intensity and a number of unforgettable action set pieces. Let’s take a look at the actors and actresses who played key roles in Kill Bill and see what they’re doing today.
Ambrosia Kelley As Nikki
Ambrosia Kelley plays little Nikki in the film Kill Bill Vol. 1 and unfortunately is the last person to see her mother, Vernita Green, alive before she loses her confrontation with The Bride. It’s a small, but the heart-breaking role, as she is visibly upset when she sees her dead mother.
Ambrosia Kelley Today
Ambrosia Kelley is still most known for her role in Kill Bill. She did do some assorted work in TV series and movies as a child actress and as a teenager made an appearance on the TV series How to Rock. Since then, she hasn’t made any acting appearances, so it’s unclear if she will continue to pursue life in the limelight.
Vivica Fox As Vernita Green
Vernita Green is the first person of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad to be hunted down by The Bride. Of course, that confrontation does not go very well, as Vernita successfully convinces The Bride to handle the matter away from the prying eyes of her daughter, but then makes a very bad mistake in trying to shoot The Bride with a hidden pistol, leading to her death.
Vivica Fox Today
Vivica Fox has long been one of the most prolific actresses in Hollywood, appearing in such memorable films as the two Independence Day movies and Soul Food. She has also done voice acting roles, independent films, and many TV series over the years. She has appeared regularly on the hit show Empire and was recently announced as part of the cast for Sharknado 6.
Perla Haney-Jardine As B.B.
You’ve heard this a number of times now, but B.B. is a character who has very little screen time but plays a vital role in the story of Kill Bill. After all, she is The Bride’s daughter that she never knew survived, and the revelation that she’s alive briefly makes The Bride reconsider her mission. However, she eventually realizes that she can complete her mission and still be a mother to B.B.
Perla Haney-Jardine Today
Not long after Kill Bill, Perla Haney-Jardine played the daughter of villain Sandman in the ill-received Spider-Man 3. The Brazilian-born actress has never really stopped acting and in 2015, landed a huge role as Lisa Brennan in Steve Jobs. Most recently, she starred as Hannah in the film Midnighters.
Claire Smithies As Clarita
Claire Smithies may not fit in with these other actors very well at first sight, as her character, Clarita, only appears for an instant in a sort of exotic brothel. However, Claire Smithies’ role in the film is much greater than just that as she also was the principal stunt woman and body double for Uma Thurman. She bore enough of a physical resemblance to be a great match for the star of the action-heavy Kill Bill films.
Claire Smithies Today
Claire Smithies has not quite had the success of Uma Thurman, although she still continues to act. Kill Bill was one of her first roles, and she went on to feature in 2008’s Passengers and log appearances in the hit series Psych and Human Target. She also has worked as a crew member on productions such as Elysium and Auto Focus. She was a stand-in for Uma Thurman on Paycheck and Be Cool.
Michael Bowen As Buck
Buck barely appears in Kill Bill, but he makes a big impression and is quite possibly the most easily detested villain in the entire series. After all, he’s a hospital worker that has been victimizing The Bride (and likely other coma victims) in a quite disgusting manner for years. He is the first person that The Bride kills in the first movie and unwittingly donates a memorable truck to her in the process.
Michael Bowen Today
Bowen has made a career by playing small, often unsavory parts in a variety of movies. Kill Bill wasn’t his first time working with director Quentin Tarantino; he also did so in 1997’s Jackie Brown. He also appeared as Sheriff Stan Watkins in Walking Tall and as Morton in the 2009 remake of The Last House on the Left.
Jun Kunimura As Boss Tanaka
Boss Tanaka was one of the rivals of O-Ren Ishii and one of the last to learn that she was not the type of woman to be trifled with. Although he thought that she had a weakness that could be exploited, he was proven wrong quite quickly and with sudden seriousness. In one of the film’s most memorable scenes, O-Ren reveals that she has beheaded her rival as she dares any of her other enemies to challenge her.
Jun Kunimura Today
Jun Kunimura is a very prolific actor with over 170 acting credits to his name. However, he is still best known in the United States for Kill Bill, as it is likely his most famous role in America. He did also play key roles in Audition and Ichi the Killer, two films that were filmed in Japan but found cult favor in the States.
David Carradine As Bill
Bill is the namesake of the film and the focal point for The Bride’s vengeance for the entire journey, which was spread across a pair of feature films. However, when she finally comes face to face with Bill, his calm demeanor and revelation that her daughter is alive give her pause. Still, in the end, Bill accepts his fate and realizes that he had it coming.
David Carradine Today
David’s father, John, was a very famous and successful character actor in Hollywood. He was known for the hit series Kung Fu, which ran for four years in the 1970s and inspired many fans, including Quentin Tarantino himself. During his acting career, he also appeared in Bound for Glory. Unfortunately, he passed away in 2009 at 72 years old.
Christopher Allen Nelson As The Groom
Although the role of The Groom in the Kill Bill films was not a very large one, it was certainly quite significant. After all, The Groom was the person who The Bride was supposed to marry before Bill and his assassins besieged the wedding, killing him and all her friends and changing her life forever. Therefore, it’s a small but pivotal part that Christopher Allen Nelson would play.
Christopher Allen Nelson Today
It may surprise you to know that Christopher Allan Nelson is not as much of an actor as he is a special effects worker and make-up artist. In fact, he has won an Academy Award and two Emmy Awards for his work in those areas. Although he generally works behind the camera, he has had a few dozen acting credits, including a small role as a police officer in the upcoming Halloween film.
Lucy Liu As O-Ren Ishii
O-Ren Ishii gets more screen time than a lot of The Bride’s rivals and reveals herself to be a quite worthy adversary before she’s even confronted. She is a fearsome businesswoman who is active in organized crime and will not allow her rivals to treat her differently because she’s female. Of course, she still meets a similar fate to all of The Bride’s other targets.
Lucy Liu Today
Lucy Liu is one of the biggest stars to appear in Kill Bill, aside from star Uma Thurman herself, of course. Born in New York, Lucy Liu has had key roles in such popular films as the Charlie’s Angels series and Chicago. She also had a lengthy starring role in the hit CBS series Elementary. Today she primarily concentrates on her art career. Liu is an accomplished painter with frequent gallery showings around the world.
Sonny Chiba As Hattori Hanzo
Like so many actors and actresses in Kill Bill, Sonny Chiba’s role was not big on screen time, but was quite important to the plot. After all, Hattori Hanzo is the very craftsman who makes the sword that The Bride will use to slaughter a good many of those who wronged her. He is initially reluctant to make the sword, but eventually is charmed by The Bride into relenting.
Sonny Chiba Today
Shin’ichi Chiba, better known as Sonny Chiba, was a huge star in the martial arts cinema world in the 1970s, when Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were becoming huge stars. Born in Japan in 1939, Sonny has had a long and illustrious career all over the globe in all types of films and TV series. Recently, he appeared in such films as April Fools and Shakespeare in Tokyo.
Michael Madsen As Budd
Budd is Bill’s best friend and a key part of the story. He comes closer than anyone to finally killing The Bride, burying her alive and assuming that the job was done. However, The Bride is more resilient than he imagined. He never learned that she survived, of course, as Elle Driver turns on him and sets him up to be bitten by a poisonous Black Mamba.
Michael Madsen Today
Directors always have their favorites, and in many ways, Michael Madsen has been the Leonardo DiCaprio to Quentin Tarantino’s Martin Scorsese (or, if you prefer, the Johnny Depp to Tarantino’s Tim Burton). Among his nearly 300 acting credits are roles in Tarantino films such as Reservoir Dogs and The Hateful Eight. The prolific character actor has no less than 11 films either completed or in post-production.
Uma Thurman As The Bride
The Bride, who is later revealed to have the name Beatrix Kiddo, is the star of the Kill Bill films. Motivated by her desire to get revenge against the formerly friendly assassins who killed her fiance, friends, and put her in a coma while leaving her for dead, she does not stop until she gets her chance to kill Bill himself, going through his crew one by one in the process.
Uma Thurman Today
Of course, Uma Thurman is a huge star who also starred in the Quentin Tarantino film Pulp Fiction, which is widely considered to be one of the best films of the last thirty years. More recently, she acted in the TV series Imposters and has starred in Down a Dark Hall, The War with Grandpa, and the film Girl Soldier, all of which will debut in theaters in 2018.
Daryl Hannah As Elle Driver
Elle Driver is one of the favorite assassins for many Kill Bill fans. She’s a loyal killer who obviously admires Bill and will do whatever he says, even giving up the opportunity to kill a helpless Bride early in the first film. That comes back to haunt her, as she loses her eye – and eventually her life – in her eventual fight with The Bride in a dirty trailer.
Daryl Hannah Today
Daryl Hannah is still widely known for her roles in the hit 1980s films Splash and Wall Street. The Kill Bill films represented a sort of career resurgence for Hannah, who has acted consistently in films and TV series throughout her lengthy career. She was recently seen in Sense8 and the upcoming film Vampires of Hollywood.
Julie Dreyfus As Sofie Fatale
Sofie Fatale has a rather thankless job as O-Ren Ishii’s assistant. Apparently, this kind of job doesn’t carry with it a whole lot of life expectancy, as when The Bride is done killing O-Ren in their confrontation, she decides to torture Sofie quite brutally before leaving her alive as a message to others. Sofie also apparently knew a key secret that’s revealed at the end of Kill Bill Vol. 1: that her daughter is alive.
Julie Dreyfus Today
Julie Dreyfus has only acted sparingly during her career, and one of her other most notable roles was in 2009, when Kill Bill director Quentin Tarantino cast her in Inglourious Basterds. Julie has spoken fluent Japanese for many years and often acts in Japanese TV mini-series and shows, as well as some Japanese films.
Gordon Liu As Pai Mei
One of the most memorable characters in whole entire Kill Bill series is Pai Mei. He is basically the one who made the bride into what she was. Before she took part in his strict, strict over the top training she was just an innocent blonde girl. Sadly, he meets his fate at the hands of Elle when she poisoned him as revenge for ripping out her eye.
Gordon Liu Today
Gordon Liu was famous before playing Pai Mei. He was famous for playing San Te in The 36 Chambers of Shaolin. His role did resurface Chinese interest in it, but besides for a few TV appearances nothing really came from it. He did, however, act as a villain in a Bollywood movie called Chandni Chowk to China in 2009. In 2011 he suffered from a stroke but fully recovered.
Chris Nelson As Tommy Plympton
Tommy Plympton was a simple man who The Bridge latched herself to when she was trying to find a better life for her daughter. He ran a record shop and was oblivious that his girlfriend was a former assassin. Sadly, before he could marry her, he was knocked off by the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad.
Chris Nelson Today
When Chris acted in Kill Bill, it was his only time ever acting. He was actually the makeup artist for the movie. This is his full-time job. He is actually an acclaimed makeup artist who has picked up tons of awards for his work. You may have seen actors wear his make up in films like Kill Bill, World War Z, The Suicide Squad and Dead Pool.
Michael Bowen As Buck
Michael Bowen shocked the world when he portrayed Buck, a troubled hospital orderly who would assault The Bride as she laid in a coma. She awakes from her coma as he is in the room and beats him and takes his truck. His role is small, but it is filled with characters and Michael Bowen’s solid acting.
Michael Bowen Today
Michael Bowen’s career took off from his minor role as Buck. He went on to star in the hit series Lost as Danny Pickett. Following his role on Lost, Michael Bowen went on to portray Jack Welker in Break Bad. He isn’t exactly a stand-alone star but he has had bit roles in some of the greatest movies to ever be released.
Michael Parks As Esteban Vihalo
Michael Parks is a veteran actor who has been taking it to the stage and screen since the beginning of the 1960’s. In his later years, he was known for working with Tarantino. In Kill Bill, he played Esteban Vihalo, a pimp who was good friends with Bill’s mother. Bill grew up seeing Estevan as a father. Ultimately, he is the one that gives The Bride Bill’s location.
Michael Parks Today
Today Michael Parks is no more. As of 2017 he passed away of a disclosed cause. He was a legend long before acting in Kill Bill. He is perhaps most famous for acting in movies and shows like Then Came Bronson and The China Lake Murders. Upon hearing about his passing, Kevin Smith stated that Parks was the best actor he had ever known.
Chiaki Kuriyama As Gogo Yubari
One of the best scenes from the Kill Bill films is when The Bride travels to Okinawa, Japan, to face O-Ren Ishii and her crew, the Crazy 88. Gogo Yubari is a schoolgirl who serves as O-Ren’s bodyguard and is certainly a good match for The Bride’s considerable skills. Of course, she fails in her quest to stop The Bride and becomes just another victim of her spree of vengeance.
Chiaki Kuriyama Today
Chiaki Kuriyama was a model back in the mid-1990s when she was still just a teen, but she went on to dabble in acting. Kill Bill was not the first time when she had to play a fearsome, deadly character. She did the same thing when she played Takako Chigusa in the cult favorite Battle Royale in 2000. She has mostly acted in Japanese cinema and TV series during her career.