I just read two great articles, one in Empire UK and an even better one in Creative Screenwriting. Empire UK gives it 4 out of 5 stars and says that while it isn’t his masterpiece, it’s a great movie nonetheless. They say they were taken aback by the considerable comedic elements of the movie, saying that it continuously gets funnier and funnier as it goes along. Quentin himself seems ecstatic about the movie, saying that he expects everyone to have Inglourious Basterds in their big DVD collection next to Goodfellas and Scarface.
Empire goes in detail on their set visit during the filming of the sequence in the French cafe between Shosanna and Zoller. The set apparently was incredibly quiet and that “even the slightest pin drop was frowned upon”. Tarantino goes into more detail about how close he really was to making Basterds into a mini-series including having all 12 episodes worked out. However, a meeting with director Luc Besson changed his mind when, having suggested the idea, Luc Bessons friend thought it was great, but Besson frowned while saying something like “you’re one of the few directors who make me want to go to the movies” and that having to watch the next Tarantino movie on cable TV was disappointing. Apparently this really stuck with Quentin and he reconsidered his approach.
Another interesting bit from the article was when they spoke to Lawrence Bender about how the production was started, saying he looked Quentin in the eyes and asked “Are you serious?(about making the Cannes deadline)” and after making quick calculations, estimated that they had 14 weeks of prep, 14 weeks of shooting and 13 weeks of post. Without anybody actually having read the script and no financier, Bender told him “If you really want to do this, we have to start prep tomorrow” and then added “if I make this phone call, your life is going to change” and asked one more time if he really wanted to do it. Quentin laughed and of course, you obviously know his answer. Apparently Tarantino’s agenda for this furious pace was “to have a great movie by the end of the decade”.
Creating Screenwriting’s article was even better, with Quentin going in depth about his writing process with IB, calling it “the happiest time of my life”. After having written an immense amount of material, there were internet rumors stating that he couldn’t think of an ending, which isn’t true. He said the truth is that he couldn’t stop writing! He became extremely caught up in the massive research that he did precluding the story development and his story ended up being a great deal like a history lesson, including a huge epic story about a group of black soldiers running into the Basterds. Apparently that story has strong sociological subtexts…
He also became caught up in the various character details, saying (again, Im paraphrasing)“You see Aldo has a scar around his neck. All it says in the script is “he may have survived a lynching”, well I know how he got that scar, where he got it, why he got it, and how he survived it”. Quentin goes on to suggest this kind of preparation went into every character in the story, including some of the ones that appear very briefly.
After the experience of Grindhouse, he felt that he and Robert indulged far too much and feels like that experience helped him tame his Basterds epic, saying that its the first time he’s written with the runtime in mind. He says “people want dinner and a movie, and if you get in the way of dinner, you do so at your own peril”. He added that the success of Kill Bill and Sin City gave them the incentive to indulge and that he really felt he was on the verge of his biggest success with Grindhouse. He says he felt rejected by the reception and that he took it personally.
With his last draft for Basterds, he started completely from scratch saying the script you probably read was written in a 6 month period in 2008 completely free from the shackles of research, saying he wanted to avoid anything that “wasn’t creative”. To write it, he changed his usual writing habit of writing late into the night, instead beginning his day by eating breakfast and going out to his patio and writing until 6pm. Afterwards he would go into his pool and think about what he wrote, adding that “a lot of writing is thinking about writing”. For his “method writing” this time out, he chose to be the character of Aldo through most of the time since the project began in 1998.
*** I want to add that the actual articles have MUCH more than I wrote here. I really didn’t want to go into extremes though. Empire UK also has an interview with Brad Pitt and he says he thought he movie was “good and outrageous”. Talk about giving a ****…