Uma Thurman

04/14/2004 at 03:45 PM EDT

Uma Thurman
"Some high school girls were referring to defending themselves by saying that they were going to do an 'Uma' on that person," Thurman says. "I thought that was really funny."
Back as the The Bride in Kill Bill, Vol. 2, Uma Thurman, 33, has turned into a butt-kicking cultural icon – fans are even using the sword-wielding actress's name as a verb, threatening to "go Uma" on anyone who wrongs them.

The star herself is ready to defend her character to naysayers who call the portrayal anti-feminist. Thurman – known for being director Quentin Tarantino's muse – recently chatted with reporters about continuing such a violent role, fulfilling the movie's titular mission and letting Tarantino get his jollies.

What have women said to you about your Kill Bill role?
Gosh, I don't know. I know that some high school girls were referring to defending themselves by saying that they were going to do an "Uma" on that person or they were going to go "Uma" on them, and I thought that that was really funny.

How do you see your character? What do you think of some people's reaction that it's a woman abused for entertainment?
I'm not going to buy into that. I mean, the scope of the journey that the character goes through is something that you wouldn't blink twice at if you saw Mad Max or Clint Eastwood. For people to find that to be anti-feminist is interesting to me, because for as many people who find it upsetting, there are many more who find it exciting and inspiring.

But being an assassin, does your character get any sympathy from you?
When I first read the script I wasn't really convinced that I really wanted to just kill Bill. I think that it was dramatically complicated by the presence of the child. Ultimately, I found that there was room for ambivalence, there was room for heartbreak, there was room for revenge. ... It was not at all 'Ha, Bill's dead. Ha!' Although, I said that in my trailer afterward because once Bill was dead, I was close to home (Laughs).

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