Published August 21, 2009
Famed Beverly Hills Courier columnist George Christy gives you an insider's peek into Hollywood's A-list parties and personalities.
“Brad Pitt and I wanted to work together, and as I was writing the role of Lieutenant Aldo Raine -- a nod to the late actor Aldo Ray -- I figured that was the right role for Brad. But after I finished the script, I panicked,” says Quentin Tarantino of his screenplay, "Inglourious Basterds," which he would direct. “What are the likely chances that the most in-demand movie star wants to do it, and will be available at the moment when I need him. Well, sometimes the movie gods smile on you.”
Brad was the first actor to join Quentin’s ensemble cast as the Tennessee-born redneck Nazi killer, which knife-wielding Brad pronounces “Naaah-tsi” in his cornpone dialect. He demands the scalps (literally) of the enemy, and carves swastikas on their foreheads. Eli Roth, who kills with a baseball bat, describes the film as “kosher porn.” Others label it “torture porn.” Blood and gore flow, and Quentin adds, “If you don’t want to see seven Nazis beaten with a bat or scalped, you’re in the wrong theater. If scalping’s a part of the dialogue – Brad vows that his men owe him 100 Nazi scalps! – and you don’t show it, then to hell with you.”
As the Jew-loathing Nazi colonel during World War II who speaks four languages in the film, Christoph Waltz’s performance, early on during screenings, was hailed as Oscar-worthy. Lusciously beautiful Melanie Laurent, seeking revenge at the Nazis for destroying her family in Nazi-occupied France, and Diane Kruger as the Marlene Dietrich-esque German spy also deliver fine-tuned characterizations. Yes, the movie, which Quentin describes as a “once upon a time fairy tale,” is two-and-a-half hours long, and, yes, it could be shorter, but the violent narrative is riveting, disturbing, haunting and masterfully paced. Ten years in the writing, 162 pages (four pages short of "Pulp Fiction"), and, considering the terrifying fire at the vengeful finale, dangerous to make.