You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Basterds’ role boosts Christoph Waltz

Tarantino pic helps Austrian vet find Hollywood

When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history.

Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies.

“I had a feeling (the character) had much to do with Quentin as a person, so I decided to go to the source,” Waltz explains. “I reviewed his movies really thoroughly, in consecutive order. That really was the key to understanding what he’s about and that he’s taking the genre movie and lifting it to an artistic level. I didn’t want to get lost in naturalistic meanderings, but to stick to his artistic intention.”

Waltz, who has spent most of his 30-year career working in German TV, was introduced to American auds in “Basterds” in a memorable, protracted opening scene in which he terrorizes a French farmer in a drolly suave and urbane manner. He won the top actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival and could be considered a strong candidate for an Oscar nom for supporting actor. He’s parlayed accolades into another Hollywood gig, playing the villain in the upcoming “Green Hornet.”

The 53-year-old comes from a family with generations of theatrical experience. Though he says he considered studying medicine, he chalks up his following in his family’s footsteps to “a lack of imagination. When your daddy has a hardware store, you take over when he retires. Every teenager wants to become an actor, but the lucky ones grow out of it.”

Despite his success, Waltz has no plans to relocate to Hollywood.

“I don’t think that’s up to me,” he says. “I’m extremely particular about what the job is, not where it is. If it’s in Hollywood, fantastic, but if it isn’t, I’ll work around that.”

P.O.V.

Lucky Break: “The idea of a lucky break depends on your idea of luck. ‘Inglourious Basterds’ covers every idea of luck.”

Favorite Film: “My favorite film is ‘8½’ by Fellini. I identified with it from the age of 16 onwards until today, only on constantly changing levels. And, boy, are the levels changing.”

Five Years From Now, I Will Be…: “Christoph Waltz.”

More Film

  • Korea’s CJ to Finance, Distribute 25

    Korea’s CJ to Finance, Distribute 25 Turkish Films by 2019

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • 'Spiral' Review: A Look at the

    Film Review: 'Spiral'

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • Benicio Del Toro and Josh Brolin

    Film Review: 'Sicario: Day of the Soldado'

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • Universal Launches Direct Distribution in Hong

    Universal Starts Direct Distribution in Hong Kong, Appoints Anita Cheung

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • Jane Fonda

    Film News Roundup: Jane Fonda to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at Michael Moore's Festival

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • Kobe Bryant Barred From Film Academy

    Oscar Winner Kobe Bryant Barred Entry Into Film Academy

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

  • Producer Jennifer Todd Beats Jason Blum

    Producer Jennifer Todd Beats Out Jason Blum in Academy Governors Runoff Election

    When Christoph Waltz prepared for his indelible role of Hans Landa, the eccentrically charming but much-feared “Jew hunter” in “Inglourious Basterds,” he didn’t research Nazis. Having been born in Vienna, he grew up steeped in the history. Instead, he prepared by watching all of writer-director Quentin Tarantino’s movies. “I had a feeling (the character) had […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content