Sunday, August 23, 2009

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS—An Evening Class Question For Quentin Tarantino

Just as Quentin Tarantino admitted that he could not imagine Goodbye, Lenin!—as good a film as it is—without Daniel Brühl in the role of Alex, so I cannot imagine Tarantino’s latest Inglourious Basterds without Christoph Waltz in the key role of Colonel Hans Landa. Though it’s far too early in the game for predictions, I nonetheless presume Waltz’s performance to be a shoe-in for an Oscar® nomination and—pending extraordinary competition in the months to come—a predicted win. Already the recipient of the Best Actor prize at Cannes, his is the caliber of performance that makes watching films delightful. Perhaps the best review I’ve read is Stefan Grissemann’s for the July/August issue of Film Comment wherein Grissemann characterizes, "It would seem that evil isn't necessarily banal after all."

Shortly before its massive weekend theatrical premiere (
indieWIRE reports opening box office is at $37,602,000 and counting), Quentin Tarantino accompanied Inglourious Basterds to the Castro Theatre in San Francisco, affording me the opportunity to ask the following.

* * *

Michael Guillén: Cristoph Waltz. Remarkable performance that you’ve elicited from him! You have a talent for highlighting actors who have either not worked recently or are not as well known in America as elsewhere. How did you find Waltz and how did you pull him into the movie?

Quentin Tarantino: That was really just a case of the casting process working perfectly. When I finished writing the script, I was aware enough to know that Hans Landa was one of the best characters I’ve ever written and one of the best characters I will ever write. What became apparent, obviously, is that Hans Landa is a linguistic genius. I knew whoever played him would have to be a linguistic genius. When Cristoph walked in, I had no idea who he was. He was just an actor that my casting director recommended. He’s a TV actor in Germany. He’s like the second or third lead in a lot of German TV series. When he read the opening farmhouse scene, about halfway through I knew I had found my Landa. Landa is an exceptional detective. Every year the Mystery Writers Association gives out an Edgar—named after Edgar Allen Poe—to best detective of the year and I’m hoping that Landa wins this year.

Cross-published on


Warhawk said...

Was a great movie :)

Joy Reed said...

Tarentino is very twisted, but that is what makes him famous.