Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds” almost didn’t happen. On Friday, the writer-director made an appearance at the Jerusalem Film Festival to introduce a screening of “Pulp Fiction” and told the crowd how he was one week away from pulling the plug on the 2009 war drama, The Times of Israel reports.
At issue was the character of Hans Landa, a “linguistic genius” in the film who had to be played by a German actor, according to Tarantino. “I wanted Germans, playing Germans, speaking German,” he told the Times. The tricky part was that Landa had to not only speak authentic German but also deliver a lot of lines in English, many of which required perfect comic timing and delivery due to their “poetic quality,” according to the director.
“I was getting to be kinda worried,” he said. “Unless I found the perfect Landa, I didn’t want to make the movie.” With one week left before he had to make a decision, Tarantino saw Christoph Waltz read for the part. “It was just obvious he was the guy. He could do everything we wanted. He was just amazing,” Tarantino said. “We were ecstatic when he finished. We were just vomiting all over him: ‘Oh my god, you were amazing, you were fantastic. Oh my god. Thank you, thank you, thank you.'”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences agreed, as Waltz won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the film.