‘Inglourious Basterds’ Cheat Sheet: Everything You Need To Know

Before you check out Quentin Tarantino's latest, read about the long journey to make this film a reality.

For movie fans, a new Quentin Tarantino film is like waking up on Christmas morning — if the holiday only came every half-decade.

Now, the one-of-a-kind writer/director’s longest-gestating film project this side of “The Vega Brothers” is finally in theaters. But before you go downstairs in your jammies and unwrap Uncle Quentin’s latest masterpiece, be sure to prepare yourself by perusing our “Inglourious Basterds” cheat sheet.

Once Upon a Time, The Film Was Properly Titled
For nearly a decade, Tarantino has been writing, rewriting and flirting with the notion of stars like Sylvester Stallone or Adam Sandler in his “men on a mission” movie. Eventually, “Inglorious Bastards” became “Inglourious Basterds” as a quasi-tribute to the 1978 Italian flick that inspired it. In 2005, he made headlines by addressing the presumed-dead project and even confirmed that he had written a role for Michael Madsen — who, incidentally, is not in the finished film. Tim Roth was also long rumored to be in the flick, but alas, a “Reservoir Dogs” reunion was not to be.

Everybody Wants to Be a Basterd
Instead, Tarantino lined up stars like Brad Pitt, Mike Myers, B.J. Novak and director/actor buddy Eli Roth. In October 2008, we spoke with Myers about his role, Novak was gushing at January’s Golden Globes about what it was like to work with his hero, and Pitt was overjoyed to work with a true auteur. In the past, Tarantino has taken the careers of actors like Uma Thurman, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen and others to a whole new level, and among the favorites for the title of “Basterds” breakout are Christoph Waltz, Mélanie Laurent Daniel Brühl and B.J. Novak.

The Glory of “Inglourious”
In an exclusive, simply awesome sit-down with two people who’ve given us so many classic films, MTV News has been proud to bring fans an interview with Pitt and Tarantino. Check out part one , part two and part three of the chat.

How Do You Hold Up Three Fingers?
As every Tarantino fan knows, it’s the minutiae that makes his world so captivating: The Red Apple Cigarettes, the tiny nuances in language and mannerisms and all the other things that make his films as tasty as a Royale with cheese. Naturally, we got the “Basterds” actors to spill the dirt on Tarantino’s secrets — including their infamous co-star Big Jerry.

No Nazi Propaganda Here
“Basterds” culminates in a violent, epic scene in which the Nazis are premiering a movie they hope will inspire their troops — which made the “Inglourious” Hollywood premiere a bit more surreal. It brought out such notables as Samuel L. Jackson, Tony Hawk and Angelina Jolie — be sure to check out all our photos of the beautiful people. In the months leading up to the film’s release, MTV’s “Behind the Screen” premiered some drool-worthy clips, the film’s first trailer introduced us to the Basterds, and a second trailer dropped in July. As of late May, Tarantino was still working hard on “Basterds,” but since the folks at Cannes have worshipped Tarantino for years, he made sure to finish a rough cut in time for this year’s festival, where it got a warm response.

Eli the Nazi Hunter
After a small role in Tarantino’s “Death Proof,” Eli Roth stopped by our studio in April to spill all the details on a film whose gore impressed him — no small feat for the “Hostel” director. Making what he considered his acting debut, Roth described “Basterds” as “kosher porn,” told us about the gloriously awful Nazi propaganda film that the Jewish director was proud to film and explained that he and Tarantino decided to torture Nazis, not each other. As we got a peek at Roth’s Donnie Donowitz and his baseball bat, Eli revealed that he had one big question for Pitt while they were hanging out on set: How does he go to the bathroom?

Scalping the Flick
Want a little bit off the top before you go see the film? Check out Brad Pitt’s Aldo Raine putting together his squad of Nazi killers, explaining that “We in the killin’ Nazi business. And cousin, business is a-booming!” B.J. Novak also expresses displeasure with his Nazi Nickname: “The Little Man.” A heavily makeupped Mike Myers gave us a peek at his briefing. Actress Bridget von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger) revealed the guest of honor at a high-security movie premiere: Hitler. You can even see the Basterds doing what they do best: killing Nazis. Be sure to introduce yourself to Jew Hunter Hans Landa as he describes the analogy of the hawk and the rat. And Nazi-hater Shosanna finds herself a vehicle for retribution in soldier/actor Fredrick Zoller.

The Final Chapter
Before you sit back and enjoy Tarantino’s five-chapter tale, you might want to know that the director made all his actors watch classic movies to get in the right frame of mind — except for Christoph Waltz. Although the comics world has been buzzing about “Basterds,” Diane Kruger claims she was unaware of Tarantino’s trademark, which affected her character. And finally, be sure to head over to the MTV Movies Blog, where we’ve been taking a poll on your favorite Quentin Tarantino character of all time, and the “Basterds” stars weighed in with their own choices. As you see Tarantino’s latest “Inglourious” adventure for yourself, who knows? You might just find yourself selecting a brand-new Nazi killer as your all-time fave.

Check out everything we’ve got on “Inglourious Basterds.”

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