Interview: ‘Inglourious Basterds’ Mastermind Quentin Tarantino Does Chicago

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CHICAGO – Venerated writer and Hollywood director Quentin Tarantino has no shame in admitting he’s a basterd. In fact, he’s deeply proud of it. Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

Tarantino charmed a packed Chicago crowd of onlookers and the press for the Aug. 18, 2009 red-carpet premiere of his newly controversial Nazi-killing film “Inglourious Basterds” inside AMC River East in downtown Chicago.

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino of “Pulp Fiction” fame, “Inglourious Basterds” is a piece of bravura filmmaking that stars Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth (the director of “Hostel” and “Hostel: Part II”), Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl.

During the seemingly 2.490 seconds he spoke with this critic in a well-lit and sweaty interview on the “Inglourious Basterds” red carpet, Tarantino unsurprisingly but emphatically professed his love for The Weinstein Company (his production company for the film along with Universal Pictures) and in working with the Harvey and Bob Weinstein namesakes.

“I’ve had no issues in working with the Weinsteins. They’re ma boyz!,” Tarantino exclaimed both with anticipated media training but also with genuine indebtedness to the brotherly duo. He added: “They’re coming back in a big way.”

Quentin Tarantino in Chicago for Inglourious Basterds
Writer and director Quentin Tarantino poses for the lens in this exclusive,
off-the-red-carpet portrait with his career achievement award on Aug. 18, 2009 at the summer gala
for the 45th-annual Chicago International Film Festival premiere of his new film “Inglourious Basterds”.
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

Professional critics nationwide have already lauded the film, which opens on Friday, and have awarded it a certified fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

When asked about his respect for the modern-day film critic, Tarantino said: “I like reading good film criticism. If I think they’re off base and they just reject my aesthetic, that’s one thing. But if they actually have something thoughtful to say one way or another, that’s good food for thought.”

“Inglourious Basterds” takes place in Nazi-occupied France during World War II. A group of Jewish-American soldiers known as “The Basterds” and led by Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) rise to fame to percolate fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and violently killing Nazis almost like sport.

But the script didn’t come easily nor did it manifest quickly for Tarantino. He actually started penning “Inglourious Basterds” prior to “Kill Bill: Vol. 1” in 2003 and couldn’t put his finger on an ending. The Basterds got put on hold for that Uma Thurman, Bill-killing film.

Tarantino worked on the “Inglourious Basterds” script for almost a decade. He says he’s not yet sure what he has created and he’ll need time for the dust to settle in order to figure it out. He added: “I need at least three years of distance to really know exactly what I’ve done and how it ranked. I love it right now, but it’s also the one I’ve seen the least.”

Often imitated and never exactly duplicated, Tarantino knows a professional copycat is the highest form of flattery. And he enjoys it: “My films have created a subgenre. Every time they say something is a ‘Tarantino-like film,’ it’s always a crime film. … I don’t try to be different or offensive. I might [be different or offensive] very effortlessly, but I don’t try.”

Brad Pitt and Eli Roth in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds
Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt, right) and Sgt. Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth, left) in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds”.
Photo credit: Francois Duhamel, The Weinstein Company

As for his stay in Chicago, he says he’s most interested in the city’s pizza and the impressions of his latest project from local moviegoers. Tarantino said: “I had some pizza. I’ve been hearing about Chicago deep-dish pizza my whole life. My big thing here, though, is about watching the movie with the Chicago audience and doing a Q&A session afterward.”

What’s next? Of course, those are beans he won’t spill: “I’m not sure what’s next. Right now it’s all about this. When this movie is officially in the past, then I can think about what’s next. … I love this film because I did it. I think it’s damn good writing.”

Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, “Inglourious Basterds” stars Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Christoph Waltz, Eli Roth, Michael Fassbender, Diane Kruger and Daniel Brühl. “Inglourious Basterds” opens everywhere on Aug. 21, 2009. The film is rated “R” for strong graphic violence, language and brief sexuality. Its running time is 153 minutes. editor-in-chief Adam Fendelman


© 2009 Adam Fendelman,

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