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Cannes 2009: Tarantino takes on the Reich

May 20, 2009 |  8:41 am


Quentin Tarantino demurred, but Eli Roth did not.

When asked at the press conference following the Cannes debut of his "Inglourious Basterds" if the film was a Jewish revenge fantasy, Tarantino replied, "That wouldn't be the section of the video store I would put it in." Roth, one of the film’s stars, said, however, that for him the film was like “kosher porn. It’s something I fantasized about since I was a small child.”

“Basterds,” a self-indulgent piece of violent alternate history with a plot about Jews killing Hitler, was enlivened only by the comic acting of Brad Pitt as an Army lieutenant and Christoph Waltz as his SS nemesis. Waltz’s part, which demanded an actor who was fluent in four languages, was so critical that Tarantino said he thought about canceling the film until the last-minute discovery of Waltz. But it was working with Pitt that clearly energized him.

“Artistically, me and Brad have been sniffing around each other for years,” he said. “It’s been longing looks across the room, little notes, ‘do you like me, I like you.’ I knew that if he took this part, the film would absolutely go to the moon. If he agreed to do it.”

 “You had me,” Pitt replied, “at hello.”

-- Kenneth Turan

(Photo by Patricia Williams / For the Times)