Exclusive: Inglourious Basterds - The Cast Discuss Their Characters
Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz and the rest share their memories of the shoot.
Bridget Von Hammersmark (Diane Kruger)
When I took the role, I thought, I'm sure it's going to ruffle a few feathers! But I felt that -- because it's a farce and a fairytale, and because it's Quentin Tarantino -- if anyone can get away with it, it'll be him. And I thought it was funny
. That's why I wanted to do it.
I'm German. Trust me, I get offered a World War Two movie once a week! And I like to think that, if I'd been Bridget Von Hammersmark, I'd have brought down the Third Reich too. We did some mock-up movie posters, with me as Bridget, but you don't see all of them in the movie because they were only able to use a couple. Quentin came up with all these film titles, like Auf Wiedersehen Doesn't Mean Goodbye
. I tried to convince him to let me record a song. I can't sing for a shit, but in those days, all the movie stars sang, whether they could sing or not. So I was trying to persuade Quentin that I should maybe record one as Bridget. [laughs] He was not too impressed.
One of Diane's inspirations for Bridget was Hildegard Knef
, but my jumping-off point was a Hungarian actress called Ilona Massey
. MGM first brought her out to replace Jeanette MacDonald
with Nelson Eddy
, and later Universal got her and they were going to try to turn her into their Dietrich
. She was a minor star, but it didn't work, so she ended up having to do all these Universal movies, like Frankenstein movies, Invisible Man movies and Sherlock Holmes movies. And my whole point about it was: if Bridget had gone to America when Dietrich went, that would have been her career.
Sgt. Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth)
Donny carries a baseball bat. He doesn't want to shoot Nazis, he doesn't wanna scalp Nazis or slice their throats. He wants to feel the violence. He wants to feel the sensation of beating Nazis to death with his bare hands.
Originally the part was going to be written for Adam Sandler - in December 2004, when Quentin first told me about Donny, he said, 'I'm thinking about Adam Sandler for this.' As he was writing it, I kind-of became his Jewish sounding board. At that point he had the basic storyline, and he was working it all out, but there just certain moral character choices that he wasn't sure about, and he wanted to be authentic. And after a while he said, 'You know, Eli, while I'm writing this character I'm just hearing your voice in my head.' And when it came time to make the movie, he said, 'Pick up the script -- you're going to Germany.'
The Cannes premiere felt like we were shooting a scene from the movie. It was like we had one last mission, and the mission was, we were going to infiltrate the Inglourious Basterds
premiere. And here's the plan: we were all going to dress up like movie stars, and because Aldo looks the most like a movie star, we'd dress like him and follow him up the red carpet. When he put on his sunglasses, we'd put on our sunglasses. When he took them off and waved, we'd take them off and wave. And that's how we'd sneak into the Inglourious Basterds
premiere. And then we'd blow up the fucking theatre.