Quentin Tarantino comes back to Michael Fleming with details on his final cut of Inglourious Basterds–one minute longer, or 2:32 including end credits–reminds that he had final cut up to 2:48, admits he listened to Universal’s David Linde and TWC’s Harvey Weinstein, who are both under pressure to deliver hits, but took his own course. As he told me in Cannes, he added a scene with the Brit soldiers played by Michael Fassbender and Mike Myers before the sequence at La Louisiane. He’s not worried about adult films pulling audiences, and cites Public Enemies‘ strong opening as a positive sign. (Let’s see the second weekend drop.) And Tarantino is seriously considering doing a Basterds prequel, with support from Brad Pitt. (That will require that audiences do show up to see the World War II flick, which has an unusual promo partner for a smart-house movie, Ultimate Fighting Championship.)
BFD: Both The Weinstein Co. and Universal need hits. How much pressure did you feel to maximize your film’s commercial potential?
Tarantino: Yeah, the guys are anxious about it, and I can see where that is coming from. But the movie is the movie. They read the script, they knew what they were getting into. From time to time, we‚Äôd be talking and I‚Äôd say, I hear what you‚Äôre saying, but I‚Äôm not going to make the movie any differently than I wrote it. It might sound weird that I added a minute, but you can add little things and actually quicken the pace, and we were very aware of keeping the pace up. To add the one scene, I reduced a couple scenes by a line here, a line there. I‚Äôd talk to the Weinsteins, and Universal, and they‚Äôd say, ‚ÄúThis sequence is running a little long.‚Äù I‚Äôd say, I don‚Äôt think I can take more than maybe one line out of there, and they‚Äôd say, that‚Äôs fine. Then you have to find that one line. It‚Äôs cosmetic surgery. Harvey wanted me to add more music, he asked me to go through my music collection again and just find a couple more pieces. So, I found four cues, and one of them is the main theme from the Jack Cardiff movie “Dark of the Sun,” which I’d always wanted to use.
If in fact Harvey Weinstein (pictured here in twin Sun Valley AP photos looking more stressed this year, right, than last year, left) is seeking debt aid from John Malone at the Allen conference, I question why the ruthlessly conservative businessman would dip his feet into troubled indie distrib waters when he already has Overture on his books. Some kind of merger of the two companies might be an interesting option, but Overture’s Chris McGurk worked with the Weinsteins at Disney. There is no love lost there.