Tarantino & Menke: A prolific partnership

Editor talks about her work with the helmer

“Inglourious Basterds” editor Sally Menke has a hard time explaining the “rhythm” she’s developed with Quentin Tarantino. “It’s just there,” she states simply.

Whatever it is, it’s worked out well in the 18 years since she interviewed for a job editing Tarantino’s first feature, “Reservoir Dogs.” Menke got the gig and has edited each of his films. In 1995, she earned an Academy Award nomination for cutting “Pulp Fiction,” and this year, that scenario repeated with “Inglourious Basterds.”

Yet Menke rarely even speaks to Tarantino until filming wraps.

“We generally don’t talk at all during the assembly stage,” she says. “This movie was the most contact we have ever had during the shooting stage because I visited the set for the first time, but even so, he won’t come into the editing room until shooting is over. But after that, we are joined at the hip.”

Menke raves about their “symbiotic creative relationship,” heaps praise on her assistants, and says a documentary background is excellent training for dramatic features.

“It’s all emotional, impulsive, instinctual,” she says: “Just follow the character’s emotions.”