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Bender on ‘Basterds’

Producer discusses origins of Tarantino's movie

Origins: “About 10 years ago, Quentin started writing a ‘guys-on-a-mission movie,’ which turned into a ‘guys-on-a-mission movie in WWII.’ He did an enormous amount of research on Nazis in occupied France, but when he finished his last draft, he threw most of it out. … Quentin thought of turning ‘Basterds’ into a miniseries, but a filmmaker friend of his said, ‘You’re one of the guys that I look forward to at the cinema.’ That clicked with Quentin.”

Financing: “Harvey is like a father to Quentin and was onboard since he left Disney. We brought in a partner for foreign distribution and settled on David Linde at Universal since we had known him since his Miramax days. A co-financing deal was made between Weinstein and Universal, splitting half the budget.”

Domino effect: “Brad Pitt was the first to commit. Quentin worried that he might have written a part in Colonel Hans Landa that he couldn’t cast, as it required the actor to speak four languages. He didn’t want to compromise, realizing he wrote the role of a lifetime. … If Christoph Waltz hadn’t walked in, we wouldn’t have a movie.”

Setting the record straight: “A producer’s role can change on every film. On ‘Good Will Hunting’ I was involved in developing the material and choosing the director, whereas on ‘Basterds’ there’s an enormous amount of work in helping Quentin get his vision on the screen.

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