In the conversation just before Budd is bitten by the black mamba, Elle Driver and Budd speak with distinctly different accents. At least twice in a couple of minutes they clearly pronounce one the same word differently.

For example, Budd says "Paula Shultz", pronouncing u in Shultz as u in pull, full. Elle immediately repeats the name, pronouncing u in Shultz as au in fault. Later, Budd says "Hanzo", pronouncing a in it as a in far. In a few seconds, Elle pronounces a in Hanzo as e in pen.

Does this difference in accents have any special meaning? Was Elle's repeating the same words with different pronunciation added to the plot deliberately?

  • 3
    I didn't notice this in particular, but I would bet it's something Tarantino would throw into the mix just to play with people's heads, lol! I'm interested to find out if there is something Tarantino has said about this. He's usually pretty deliberate in what he does, especially something like this. Aug 15, 2014 at 19:49
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    I think the differences in pronunciation were just because Elle hated Budd, so she never wanted to fully "agree" with him on anything. The old "you say pot-TAY-to, I say po-TAH-to" thing. She did murder him, after all. ;-)
    – Tim S.
    Aug 27, 2015 at 16:59
  • I'm not sure I notice the difference either - for reference, here is a link to that scene - youtube.com/watch?v=KSMMQmyGJg4 - she sounds formal when she says Hanzo but more like she's coveting it that it's done for affectation. Jul 17, 2018 at 18:09
  • Could someone please edit the title of this question to remove the Seinfeld inflection? Jul 26, 2018 at 14:49

1 Answer 1


I see two possibilities:

1. Their pronunciation of Hanzo and Schultz is intentional

Budd may have ended up a dead-beat, alcoholic bouncer at a titty bar, but back in the day he was part of the cosmopolitan Deadly Vipers, along with Beatrix (fluent in Japanese), Bill (who can presumably speak Cantonese and Spanish) and the multicultural O-Ren and Sophie. His pronunciation of Hanzo and Schultz is actually the correct pronunciation in Japanese and German, respectively. His adoption of the bushwacking Texan persona we see is totally cynical (i.e. purposeful), as he refuses to take himself seriously.

Elle, on the other hand, is presented as a poser. She is attracted to the power and the glamour of the assasin lifestyle, but lacks character and patience. Her interest in the Way of the Warrior (Bushido in Japanese... not sure what Pai Mei would call it) is akin to that of a fan girl/boy, and not a deep, spiritual commitment like Beatrix and O-ren demonstrate.

So what I'm saying is, Budd picked up some culture in his travels and Elle is the real rube in that trailer.

2. Only Elle's pronunciation is acted, while Budd's is a mistake by the actor (Michael Madsen)

Because of the above, it was in-character for Daryl Hannah to butcher the name of a legendary swordsman and to say Schultz with an American pronunciation. Elle just doesn't know any better.

But Michael Madsen is actually into writing poetry. In my experience, people who enjoy language know and prefer original pronunciations. So maybe this was just Michael messing up his Texas accent?

I vote for option 1.

  • 1
    Congratulations, this answer is the winner of the monthly answer challenge.
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Aug 7, 2018 at 11:46
  • @NapoleonWilson Cool! Unfortunately OP has not been on the site since October 2014, so it's unlikely they will log on to accept the answer.
    – suckrates
    Aug 7, 2018 at 12:03

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