A Close Call, Deleted Scenes & Brad Pitt's First Stab at Redoing History: 10 Things You Forgot About Inglourious Basterds

Where did Christoph Waltz come from?! The Austrian-born actor was a veteran of German productions and spent a career reluctant to play the much-offered role of Nazi—until he read Tarantino’s script and knew he couldn’t pass it up. (The same went for German actor Til Schweiger, who avoided wearing the uniform on film but jumped at the role of German Nazi assassin Hugo Stiglitz.)

In the meantime, Waltz had been grappling with the looming possibility that he just may never get his big break in American films.

When he got Inglourious Basterds, he didn’t stop to worry that it was his one shot. “I wasn’t aware of it, but that’s always because I was very busy trying to wrap my mind around that part, around that story, around all the implications—about Quentin, really, because yeah, on the surface, you can grasp him right away, but there’s a very, very deep—let’s call it, sometimes even almost scary—darkness,” Waltz said on MTV’s Happy Sad Confused podcast with Josh Horowitz in early 2019.

Or at least a depth, he added, if not darkness. “The further the depth reaches, the darker of course it gets for us, standing out here,” the actor mused. “So I knew that if I can contribute at all, it would be via understanding the man.” And as always, he paid utmost tribute to the words Tarantino put in his mouth.

“I can do whatever and take classes with Thespis herself,” Waltz continued. “If I don’t have the opportunity—meaning, if I don’t have that script that defined and encircled the actual point and focus and topic for me—meaning if I’m not [connecting] with what’s on that page, and if what’s on that page is banal and flat and silly and dispensable, then I have no chance.”

Sharing a chuckle over the growing trend of having actors improvise, Waltz said it’s a wonderful thing to behold if you set out to watch improv. But in this case, “no-no-no-no,” he asserted. “If we have a script, you know, that’s it. And if you have a script like Quentin’s, you’d be really stupid to start improvising.”

After scooping up every other honor, starting with Best Actor at Cannes almost a year beforehand, Waltz inevitably won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his hypnotic turn as the gentlemanly monster Col. Hans Landa—and he won another three years later after playing another jolly killer, albeit one you’re rooting for, in Django Unchained.


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