Hollywood, as we have been learning, is a mean place to work. To obscene pay inequities and outrageous sexual misconduct, now we can add abusive on-set treatment of female actors to extract the most realistic performance for the screen.

Thanks to Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino for this latest conversation about the uglier aspects of Tinseltown, where a mania for onscreen "authenticity" comes dangerously close to abuse — or even death — on set.

In case you missed it, Tarantino is the director acclaimed as an auteur and equally infamous for his over-the-top style of moviemaking. One of his biggest stars, Thurman, has lately described precisely what that has meant for her:

She says he personally spat in her face and choked her with a chain for two scenes in the sadistic movie saga Kill Bill. Worse, he once made her drive an unsafe car in a scene for the film, even though she says she balked. He insisted she do it and ordered her to drive it at 40 mph so that her hair would blow in the right direction. Instead, she crashed into a tree.

Tarantino admitted to it all, with caveats, in a Q&A this week.

The spitting scene? "Naturally, I did it. Who else should do it? A grip? ... So I asked Uma. I said, I think I need to do it. I’ll only do it twice, at the most, three times. But I can’t have you laying here, getting spit on, again and again and again, because somebody else is messing it up by missing. It is hard to spit on people, as it turns out."

The choking scene? "It was Uma’s suggestion. To just wrap the thing around her neck, and choke her. Not forever, not for a long time. But it’s not going to look right. I can act all strangle-ey, but if you want my face to get red and the tears to come to my eye, then you kind of need to choke me. ... Consequently, I realise … that is a real thing."

The driving scene? He said he wanted her to drive 30 to 45 mph, "just to get the hair blowing," but he tested the road himself and thought she could do it safely.

"None of us ever considered it a stunt. It was just driving. None of us looked at it as a stunt. Maybe we should have, but we didn’t. I’m sure when it was brought up to me (that she had trepidations) that I rolled my eyes and was irritated."

He felt horrible when she crashed: "Just horrible. Watching her fight for the wheel …remembering me hammering about how it was safe and she could do it. Emphasising that it was a straight road, a straight road … the fact that she believed me, and I literally watched this little S curve pop up. And it spins her like a top. It was heartbreaking. Beyond one of the biggest regrets of my career, it is one of the biggest regrets of my life. For a myriad of reasons."

She was badly injured but she didn't die. Ask director John Landis how horrified he felt after actor Vic Morrow and two child actors were killed in 1982 when a helicopter crashed on them on the set of his Twilight Zone movie.

Landis and three other filmmakers were found innocent of involuntary manslaughter charges at a trial five years later; at the time, he was the only Hollywood director ever to be criminally charged for deaths on a set.

"If there is (another) director out there who is willing to sacrifice or to risk sacrificing human lives for the sake of reality ... (perhaps) that director will (now) think twice," Deputy District Attorney Lea Purwin D'Agostino, the Los Angeles prosecutor, said before the verdict.

But maybe not: Director Randall Miller pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and criminal trespass following the 2014 death of camera operator Sarah Jones on the set of his Midnight Rider in Georgia. Miller was sentenced to up to two years in prison but was released a year early in 2016.

But this impulse to intensify the authenticity of an onscreen experience is as old as Hollywood itself — in fact, it might be its whole point.

Male actors are probably subjected to mistreatment and danger on set, too (think Martin Sheen, who nearly died in the jungle during the shooting of Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now), but women have been the most obvious victims of abuse-for-art impulses over the years.

• Going back to the 1928 classic silent film, The Passion of Joan of Arc is filled with close-ups of French actress Renee Maria Falconetti looking pained because director Carl Dreyer made her kneel on stone floors until her face showed the right degree of suffering. She never made another major film.

• The late Maria Schneider, who co-starred with Marlon Brando in 1972's Last Tango in Paris, said in 2007 that the infamous rape scene — in which a stick of butter is used to rape her character — wasn't in the script. In a 2013 interview, Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci admitted he and Brando came up with the idea in order to get a reaction from Schneider, who died in 2011 at age 58.

“I was so angry,” she said. “I should have called my agent or had my lawyer come to the set because you can’t force someone to do something that isn’t in the script, but at the time, I didn’t know that. … I was crying real tears.”

• Meryl Streep says she was shocked and furious at Dustin Hoffman when he unexpectedly slapped her right before the cameras rolled for 1979's Kramer vs. Kramer, her first movie role and her first Oscar win. "And it was my first take in my first movie, and he just slapped me. And you see it in the movie. It was overstepping,” Streep told The New York Times last month.

He also shattered a wine glass in the middle of a scene without warning Streep, who ended up with shards in her hair, according to producer Sherry Lansing’s book.

• Salma Hayek described in a column for The New York Times how she was repeatedly sexually harassed by producer Harvey Weinstein, including being compelled to film a gratuitous lesbian sex scene for her 2002 passion project, Frida, after Weinstein threatened to shut down the film.

• Melissa Gilbert once ran out of an audition in tears because, she says, director Oliver Stone intentionally tried to humiliate and degrade her by making her do a "dirty" sex scene in an audition for 1991's The Doors, as payback for a time she had embarrassed him in a social situation.

Stone denies this and said it was made clear to performers that the film was going to be "a raunchy, no-holds-barred rock ‘n’ roll movie.”

• Shelley Duvall has said she was nearly driven mad by the ultimate auteur director, the late Stanley Kubrick, on the set of 1980's The Shining because of his methods, including filming scenes again and again until the actors were nearly in tears. The famous baseball bat confrontation between Duvall and co-star Jack Nicholson supposedly took a world-record 127 takes.

• Tippi Hedren says late director Alfred Hitchcock made her time on the set of 1963's The Birds a living hell with his stalking and obsessiveness. For the film’s climactic scene, Hitchcock instructed the crew to unleash live birds on Hedren rather than the fake ones they’d been using, leaving her with real cuts and scratches on her face — along with real terror.

• Hitchcock was as famous for his treatment of actresses as his movies and Joan Fontaine was another who did not fare well with him, on the set of Rebecca (1940). Film historians say he got Fontaine to convey fear and insecurity by making her feel scared and insecure and enlisting the rest of the cast and crew to play along.

He didn't think she could act, so he cajoled, bullied and intimidated her into the performance he wanted. She got an Oscar nomination but it came at a cost of offscreen anxiety.