Director explains how 'Inglourious' was developed

With one director nom for his 1994 “Pulp Fiction,” Quentin Tarantino could have his best shot in years to return to the party with his wacky WWII revenge pic “Inglourious Basterds.” Shot in Germany and France, it’s an exciting, audacious love letter to Euro­pean cinema. And though laden with foreign-language dialogue, it still feels American — and uniquely Tarantino.

GENESIS: “I came up with the idea after ‘Jackie Brown.’ I had the first two chapters and characters, but it just wasn’t a movie. It could have been a miniseries. I put it aside and did ‘Kill Bill,’ but I kept thinking about how to tackle it. I had dinner with Luc Besson and told him about my miniseries idea. He wasn’t impressed. He said, ‘You’re one of few filmmakers that makes me want to leave the house.’ Once someone says something like that to you, you can’t unhear it. Let me take one more crack at it. I started writing the script that is now ‘Basterds’ in about six months. That’s pretty quick for me. July 8 is the day I put the pen down. It was in Cannes less than a year later.”

VISION: “It usually starts with a genre. This is a subgenre of a WWII movie of guys on a mission. I was thinking about American and British propaganda movies and was romanced by shooting it that way, but I was also drawn to the idea of Spaghetti Western visuals: A broad canvas like Sergio Leone, using WWII iconography versus cowboys.”

CHALLENGES: “Probably the most difficult thing was casting. I set down a whole set of rules, including that the characters had to come from their actual countries. The only way to get this the way I wanted was to have a casting director in America, a casting director in Germany and one in Paris. It ended up being a really, really hard process. I always like reading with the actors, and (all the travel) wore me down. But I can’t argue with the results.”

MAGIC: “There was a tremendous amount of trepidation over the fire sequence. I thought if anything’s gonna screw us up it’s gonna be this, but it ended up taking less time than I’d thought. We shot the serious fire stuff in two days. We could only roll camera two times a day, and we burned the theater down on every take. We did a stunt rehearsal of the crowd stampede, and I saw that that’s where the action was — I realized it was going to be a little easier than I’d thought.”

NEXT: “I’ll wait for this film to run its course. I’m going to enjoy it. But I’m not going to hibernate like I’ve done in the past.”

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