If you want a big movie star, you can't get much more A-list than
Recently, the two men who've separately blessed us with everything from
On how "Basterds" came to be:
Brad Pitt: This thing was a gift. It landed in my lap and six weeks later we were shooting; you don't want to change a thing. I compare it to working with a Coen brothers script, because the dialogue is so spot on. And there's a music to it — if you take one step off the trail, you just muck up the whole thing. And so you stay on course. It was really so defined and laid-out — I'm gonna get a lot more credit for this one than I should.
Quentin Tarantino: [Laughs.] OK, let's throw out the mutual admiration society and be more down to earth, alright?
Pitt: Yeah, let's stop. Let's just move on actually [laughs], really.
Tarantino: Well, I do want to say one thing: He's very generous, but one of the things that was really great about working with him on this was — yeah, the character's right there, the character's right there on the page — but unless it's perfect casting you know what? It's going to stay on the page. It'll never be as good as it is on the page unless the casting is [perfect]. And that was the case here. But one of the things that was so cool is Brad got to know the character so well that — very rarely — was it a situation, as far as directing him, where I'm telling him to do something. It was always posed as questions. It's like, "OK, Aldo, could do this and that would mean that," or "Aldo, could do that and it could mean this — what do you think?"
Pitt: Well you're good, sending [plot twists] off in another direction once you've got one laid down. You throw something in there that sends it another way.
Tarantino: But they were always questions I would always pose, Aldo, and your answer would be the right answer.
Pitt: It's good fun. As you imagine, [Tarantino] has the greatest knowledge of cinema as anyone you'll run into and that's infused into the day's work. But the set is church. He is God, his script is Bible and no heretics allowed.
Tarantino: That's true; I like that.
On how they met:
Pitt: Well, we had a few run-ins — we were always in each other's periphery over the years. We had good chats, and I immediately knew it was someone I was gonna have a good time with. And at the end of the day, it's most important to me the company you keep.
Tarantino: It's about the life experience.
Pitt: Yeah, really.
Tarantino: I'm not friends with that many agents, but I'm actually friends with his agent because his agent is also Uma Thurman's agent, and I've known him for a long time. I had another movie I was thinking about Brad for and he was saying, "No, Brad can't do it." Well, maybe if I were just to meet him? "No! I can't let you guys in the room together unless he can do it, because you guys are going to fall in love and he can't do it. It's just going to screw you guys both up, so don't even get in the room until this relationship can happen!"
Pitt: There are also selfish reasons as well. A Tarantino character — we all want to get one of those. Because it's so well-defined and, as the movie exists, it's outrageous and irreverent. It's full of amazing surprises and big, long scenes that somehow sustain themselves. So this is, selfishly for me, enticing.
Tarantino: I decided that I actually want Brad for this movie, like, halfway through the script. Like, I first started thinking, "Who can play this character?" And I go, "Oh, Brad would be wonderful." So then I just keep writing, and then now I can't imagine anybody but him. [Of course], he is the most in-demand dude.
Pitt: Yeah, for playing hillbillies.
Tarantino: [It was] a perfect storm of no, I thought. But literally I called up his agent when I was, like, three weeks away from finishing the script. I go, "Look, here's the deal: I want to do this, I think this would be the perfect part for Brad, I think this is the one that we should do together ... OK, tell me the bad news." Because I had to figure he had three movies [scheduled] in advance. And then he goes, "No."
Pitt: It doesn't work that way.
Tarantino: I know, that's what I admired. I admire that about you.
Check out everything we've got on "Inglourious Basterds."
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