Cannes 2009: Tarantino Talks Basterds

All the happenings from today’s press conference.

by | May 20, 2009 | Comments

The stars were out in full force to support Inglorious Basterds in Cannes this morning, with writer/director Quentin Tarantino and cast members Brad Pitt, Eli Roth, Diane Kruger and Michael Fassbender (amongst others) facing the press on the Croisette.

Cannes 2009
Tarantino with stars Mélanie Laurent, Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger

The film follows the efforts of a team of Jewish-American soldiers, nicknamed ‘The Basterds’, to venture behind enemy lines to capture, maim and kill as many Nazis as possible, and is Tarantino’s tribute to the ‘men on a mission’ movies popularised in the 1960s and ’70s. Eli Roth, who plays the baseball bat-wielding Basterd Donnie Donowitz in the movie, called it “kosher porn” for Jews, claiming that murdering Nazis, “is something that I’ve fantasised about since I was a kid.”

Discussing how he boarded the project, Pitt, who plays Basterd leader Aldo Raine in the film, said that as soon as he heard that Tarantino was doing a war movie, he was sold. Elaborating with a grin on his face, he claimed, “Quentin came to visit sometime in the summer with a script, we talked about it, and when I woke up the next morning there were five empty bottles of wine… and it seems I’d agreed to work on the movie.

Cannes 2009
Pitt faces the photographers at today’s photocall

“He said that night we were going to make Cannes, six weeks later we were shooting, we wrapped three months ago, and now here we are. I wish all movies could be like this.”

Most of the talk post-screening concerned the marvelous performance from Christoph Waltz, who plays Col. Hans Landa in the film. Tarantino explained that finding the right actor to play the dastardly Nazi was the key to making the film, and nearly caused him to throw in the towel. “He’s a linguistic genius,” Tarantino said of Landa. “So the actor would have to be the same, or he’d be trapped on the page.” He explained that production was just days away from shutting down when Waltz auditioned for the part. “He came in the room, sat down, read two scenes, and I knew we were making a movie.”

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