By Neil Smith
BBC News Online
The stars of Kill Bill Volume 2 have rejected criticisms of its violence while promoting Quentin Tarantino's new film in London.
Thurman and Madsen have both worked with Tarantino before
Tarantino's films are renowned for their quotable dialogue, larger-than-life characters and graphic, comic-book violence.
The latter is particularly true of Kill Bill, the two-part epic in which Uma Thurman's character, a samurai assassin, seeks bloody revenge on her former colleagues.
But the stars of the second instalment, which had its UK premiere in London on Tuesday, say their "inspirational" director is merely reflecting the society in which we live.
"Violence existed long before movies were made," said Michael Madsen, who plays a killer-turned-bouncer in the new film and who previously worked with Tarantino on 1992's Reservoir Dogs.
"If they stopped making movies tomorrow there'd still be a lot of violence all over the place, so blaming one on the other is preposterous."
"I love violent, sexy movies," said martial arts icon David Carradine, who plays the eponymous Bill - a flute-playing crime kingpin with a romantic connection to Thurman's character.
"We live in violent and scary times, so you're going to see movies like that."
Thurman, who first worked with Tarantino on 1994's Pulp Fiction, defended his right to make movies his way.
Carradine and Hannah appeared briefly in Kill Bill Volume 1
"People have to have creative freedom, and you either believe in them or you don't. I believe in Quentin as an artist."
But it was left to Darryl Hannah - who plays a one-eyed hit-woman in Volume 2 - to make the most succinct contribution: "If you don't like it, don't go."
Speaking via satellite from Los Angeles, Tarantino refused to address criticisms of his confrontational style, preferring instead to wax lyrical on British stars past and present.
"I've always liked Tommy Steele," he replied when asked which actors from this side of the Atlantic he would like to work with in future.
The self-confessed "movie geek" proceeded to salute veteran horror star Christopher Lee ("he's always been one of my favourite actors") and Pop Idol judge Simon Cowell.
"He's a great critic," gushed the director. "I like him keeping it real on American Idol."
After the six years it took to bring Kill Bill to the screen, Tarantino says he is eager to get started on his next project.
"I'm probably going to do my World War Two movie next," he said - referring to Inglorious Bastards, his long-in-gestation homage to cult 1967 action film The Dirty Dozen.
"But if I came across a really good, gory horror film I could do real cheap, I would do it in a second."
Tarantino spoke to reporters via satellite from Los Angeles
Tarantino also spoke of his desire to make a James Bond film based on the first of Ian Fleming's spy novels, Casino Royale - previously filmed as a camp spoof in 1967.
"It's one of the best stories, so it's ironic it's never been done properly," he said.
He explained that his version "would be like the book, which has almost never been done before".
"I haven't had any serious discussions with the producers, but if they wanted to do that, I'd do it."
And then there's the potential for a series of follow-ups to Kill Bill.
"I'm thinking of doing some graphic novels, or an anime feature on the origin of Bill, and maybe doing a sequel 15 years from now," says Tarantino.
Will Thurman return though? The actress is not saying, but it is clear she knows more than she is letting on.
"He has a very good idea for Volume 3, but you'll have to wait and see," she said.