On Wednesday, we found out how the duo met and how "Basterds" came to be. In part two of the conversation, they talk about the battle between today and 10 years ago, the Nazi rewrite that made Brad scratch his head and how Quentin himself nearly played Brad's character. Stay tuned Friday for part three.
On coming around to Tarantino's historical rewrite:
Quentin Tarantino: I loved it when you were on the "Charlie Rose" show talking about "Benjamin Button" and Charlie Rose goes: "So, I hear you're doing a movie about World War II." Well, it takes place during World War II, but I don't know if this is really about World War II.
Brad Pitt: To me, this is the cap on the Nazi-focused films. It's just like [the Nazi film] to end all films. Where else are you gonna go after this?
Tarantino: That's one of the things ["Basterds" star] Christoph [Waltz] said. He goes: "I think Quentin has killed the German Nazi film for all time."
Pitt: Seal it. It's done.
Tarantino: [Pitt] was very sweet when we had our big discussion about the movie, because he didn't quite know about the ending. He had questions.
Pitt: Yeah, absolutely I did. [Laughs.] Are you kidding me?
Tarantino: But the way he prefaced it was very funny. We eventually got to that point, so the question mark came. He goes: "So, look, I have to ask you about the ending — oh, by the way, I'm gonna do it, so don't even worry about that — but now, about this ending ... "
Pitt: Listen, I like a bit of history. I'm a bit of a history buff.
Tarantino: We don't want to say [what the ending is] out loud. But there is a point in the movie where history went this way, and we go another way.
Pitt: We do have our way with history. But I'll tell you something: What I did learn, ["Basterds"] was actually well-researched. I found Quentin far more knowledgeable about the war than I [expected]. Then, to take those leaps — since it was based in reality, there felt like great room for it. My question was about tone, really. I remember waking up about three weeks later and going, "Oh, I know what the bastard wants to do with this. I get this now. We'll have a good old time." And it is that rewarding, without spoiling the visual.
Tarantino: He showed up on set, and he goes, "You know that question I had? I've got the old-time religion on it now."
On the elaborate backstory of Aldo Raine:
Pitt: You know, Quentin wrote [Aldo] for himself. Why he handed it to me at the last minute in the game, I'm most appreciative to him.
Tarantino: [Laughs.] No one else is wondering why I did that, by the way.
Pitt: But for eight years, he's been honing this thing, because it's a gem. It's a gem of a part. When you get into a Quentin Tarantino movie and you get to embrace one of the characters, you soon learn that he's got backstory since the inception of the guy.
Tarantino: I love doing stuff like that. I might write big scenes or something that will never see the light of day, as far as the story's concerned. But once I write it, it's happened. It's history. I just inform it by talking to the actors about it and everything. We can't say how it happened, how the scar [on Pitt's character] came about. But he knows, and I know.
On the importance of seizing "today":
Pitt: I'll tell you what I'm most impressed about. The script was so tight and so good, and yet Quentin wasn't precious about it like I would expect going into it. Not that we changed anything, but when it got to a certain point near the end of the film and we had the luxury of shooting a sequence, he started slashing and burning his own script and redirecting things and condensing things to keep the movement. He was so light on his feet that way, especially with his own material.
Tarantino: I like that kind of stuff. I'm a very big believer in, look, I can write a scene and be precious about it. I can write a scene 10 years ago, like I did with "Chapter One" and "Chapter Two" [in this movie]. Those were written 10 years ago, and now I'm doing it. But say we go to do Brad's bit, [when Aldo is] interrogating Sergeant Rachtman, say we're shooting that on Wednesday. It doesn't matter that I wrote it 10 years ago; Wednesday is what's important. How do we feel today? We're here today — so how do we feel about it today?
Check out everything we've got on "Inglourious Basterds."
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