As Cannes wound down, writer-director Quentin Tarantino sat down for an interview about his long-awaited World War II opus, Inglourious Basterds. We talked about issues of structure, length and purpose:
It’s been a whirlwind year for the director, who has long believed in making films slowly to stand the test of time. That is, until Death Proof, which did not benefit, he says, from too much overfiddling. So he put Inglourious Basterds on a tight schedule with a Cannes deadline.
After finishing last July the 165-page script he had been writing on and off since 1999, Tarantino obtained backing for a $70 million picture from loyal patron Harvey Weinstein and Universal Pictures, landed his most megawatt star ever, Brad Pitt, almost canceled the October shoot before he finally found the multilingual Christoph Waltz to star in a pivotal role, and stayed on schedule during 10 weeks of shooting on location in Germany. And after three months of editing, he delivered a dripping-wet print to Cannes—a place he considers “Cinema Nirvana,” where “cinema matters, it’s important”—at a running time of two hours, 27 minutes: 13 minutes less than Pulp Fiction and 19 minutes less than he needed to retain final cut.