Exclusive: Inglourious Basterds - The Cast Discuss Their Characters
Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Christoph Waltz and the rest share their memories of the shoot.
Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent)
Melanie Laurent just came in and auditioned. She's terrific, a wonderful actress. She has a lovely emotions-at-the-ready quality. She completely understands Shosanna, in her soul, and she's a lot of fun to work with. She's just... Boom! She's a great collaborator.
I decided to play Shosanna as very cold, very arrogant, very French. [laughs] That's my specialty! I think she's alive, but she's died inside and she's just surviving. But she's a Tarantino heroine, so she's fragile and strong at the same time, and she can cry sometimes. I think Shosanna is very clever, and when you're really
clever, it's all in your head. You don't have to show everything.
Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender)
My American agent hounded Quentin practically every day until Quentin said, 'OK, come over to Berlin.' My being able to speak German was a massive plus, but I had to do a lot of work to make it sound right. I had to make sure I didn't sound like an English person speaking German. That's still there, but I had to really minimise it as much as possible. An English-speaking audience wouldn't notice, but I didn't want the German audience to say, "Jesus Christ, we'd know in two seconds that he was English!" The German cast were really good about it, and they were really supportive. [laughs] Well, they actually took the piss quite a bit, which I guess was payback for all the times they have to speak English! When I watched the film with Daniel Brühl in Cannes he said, 'It sounds a little bit off, but it's not blindingly clear you're a total foreigner.'
I knew immediately from the audition what Quentin was looking for there. I knew he wasn't looking for a super-cool commando, someone like a Michael Caine. And I knew that Simon Pegg was originally attached, so I thought, OK, Simon's a funny guy, so obviously Quentin's looking for some humour. Also, the way he read it with me at the audition made me think, OK, he wants me to push it in that direction. He gave me all the ammunition. He said, 'Archie's like a young George Sanders.' I mean, it's even in the script. So I watched as many of the old Saint films I could get my hands on, and as many George Sanders films as I could, and tried to get that air of a 1940s movie star. The way they talked then was very much different then, like an upper-class character would talk today. So that's what I tried to zone in on.