"I was playing with these feminine roles," Tarantino says. "I wanted to have fun with 'types.' I have Lucy [Liu], she's small, black hair; Vivica [Fox], ghetto black, medium build, Uma, tall, blond. I'd written half the script with Elle Driver, I wanted to figure out who I wanted for that role.
"The prose of the script was like, 'the blonde does this, the blonde does that,' and the subtext is that blondes are like whole other race of people, they're not white, they're blonde!"
"Uma is Uma, Daryl is Daryl. Six-foot legs, 6-foot legs, I'm thinking, 'Man! That will be really cool when they fight each other!" Which, of course, they do. In a trailer. "They're like two wild cats, fighting in a bag," Tarantino reports.
Ironically, in a business where image is everything, it was Hannah's fondness for work -- whatever work comes along -- that actually landed her Elle Driver.
That and Tarantino's legendary appetite for anything and everything that has ever been committed to film.
"I was at home, and I turned on the television, Daryl was in this USA TV movie, 'First Target,' and she was the head of the Secret Service, protecting the president. and I thought she was terrific in this role."
Tarantino then caught a flight to London to check out Hannah in the West End production of "The Seven-Year Itch," and the deal was done.
Polish and Sayles both think Hannah's "advanced" age will work in her favor as an actress.
Hannah laughs. "Well, there's really no choice. I'm not 20 years old. I can't be a starlet. I've always wanted to do more substantial work, but I take what is offered to me. Now, Lord knows why, but
"What I love lately about acting is you discover how that person, your character, would respond to those circumstances," she says, "not your imposition of how that person would respond."
Part of the issue is simply the way Hollywood works."When you're doing big projects, your agents and your managers -- their interest is to keep you making money, which is probably a good idea if you want to build a nest egg," Hannah says. "But I've heard about some interesting stuff I was offered during those years that I never knew about." "Daryl was a big leading lady in the '80s," Tarantino says, "and unfortunately Daryl's time of over-the-title happened at a time when there were no good roles for women. Even 'Roxanne' was just a great girlfriend role. She's not the girlfriend anymore, but she's doing really good roles."
Hannah has also been trying her hand in production.
Her most notable recent filmmaking project was a documentary she made while researching a role as a stripper for an HBO project called "Dancing at the Blue Iguana."
What emerges in the documentary, "Strip Notes," made by Hannah and Tenya Nielsen in researching her role, is a clear-eyed, sympathetic look at the world of the women (and men) who work in L.A.'s live flesh factories and Hannah's efforts to get inside her character's skin.
It's a curious choice for someone who claims not to like attention when it's directed at her personally.
"I got into acting because I was really shy," she insists.
"I wanted to live in my imagination. And I couldn't decide what I wanted to be and acting gave me the opportunity to do a lot of different things. And I wanted to disappear from myself, be in disguise. I'm not an extrovert, I like to watch people, I like to analyze behavior, I don't like to be watched."
It may not be not as contradictory as it sounds; Daryl Hannah doesn't like to be watched when she's Daryl. She likes to be watched when she's playing a role (otherwise she'd never work), but she's not really Daryl in that moment, she's the character.
When Hannah is courting the spotlight she is literally not herself?
And yet, there are so many pictures of her walking the red carpet in outfits that seem to demand "look at me." And some eye-catching kitty-cat glasses.
"That wasn't me trying to be fashionable," she protests. "Or pretty. It was putting on a costume. I'm putting on a movie star costume, or a Barbarella costume. It's me, acting. That's what that is to me," but in a weird way it also serves to guard her privacy while working in public.
In preparing for "Iguana," she continues, "Listen, I worked at a strip club. On stage. For five months. And no one knew it was me," Hannah asserts.
"And I saw people I knew."
Something to think about next time you belly up to the bar at Crazy Girls.
Intimacy and discretion
Indeed, Hannah remains discreet about her personal relationships, even though two of them were with remarkably high-profile men, singer Jackson Browne and John F. Kennedy Jr.
"People speculate, and come up with unbelievable fiction. You can't imagine how off-center it is. Those relationships are just like other relationships I've had. I just had a seven-year relationship that no one knew about except my friends.