“It’s a different kind of violence,” Roth, director of the Tarantino-produced “Hostel” films, explained. “When you see the violence of torture in ‘Hostel,’ there is a certain element of fantasy to it… [with ’Basterds,’ Tarantino] wanted to make a fun, exciting action movie — and I think he killed it.”
In the film, Roth plays a Jewish-American soldier selected for an exclusive military group called “The Basterds,” who spread fear throughout the German military by scalping Nazis and subjecting them to other brutal executions.
“When you see people shot by Nazis, it’s far more horrifying — even if it’s not as bloody, it is much more horrific, and Quentin is aware of that,” Roth said of where his films end and Tarantino’s begin. “Quentin did not want to make an oppressive movie, he wanted to make a ‘men-on-a-mission’ movie.”
When you put two headstrong, successful directors together on one set, you might think it could be hard for them to deal with any differences of opinion. To combat this, Roth was determined to remember that he was working in his first lead acting role, rather than his usual behind-the-scenes positions as a director, producer and writer.
“It’s interesting, but the scene in the bar in ‘Death Proof’ really became the audition for me in ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ even though neither of us knew at the time,” Roth said of his brief work in Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” feature. “As a director, it was a great experience for me to go through. I think [acting in ‘Basterds’] is going to make me a different director.”
Although you or I might think working for a friend would be a walk in the park, Roth was quick to point out that Tarantino was all business on the set of the WWII flick, which hits theaters on August 21st.
“It was no joke on this movie,” he insisted. “If people screwed up a scene, he’d drop their line. If you weren’t doing a good job, if you weren’t pulling your weight, he’d write you out of the movie.”
“He didn’t hesitate to fire people, so everyone was really on their toes and on their game, and as a result he got the best out of everyone,” Roth said of one of the lessons he’ll take forward after acting for the Oscar-winner. “People were really, really focused. Everybody wanted to bring it for Quentin.”
Between Eli and Quentin, who is the better filmmaker? Who is the better actor?