Quentin Tarantino has written dozens of memorable movie characters, from John Travolta’s Vincent Vega to Uma Thurman’s The Bride, but there’s only one character the Oscar winner says was the most fun to write: Christoph Waltz’s villainous Hans Landa from “Inglourious Basterds.” Waltz won the Best Actor prize at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor thanks to his role, which Tarantino told Empire magazine presented a unique challenge that he’s rarely faced when writing other characters.
“The minute he enters a scene, he dominates it,” Tarantino said of Hans. “All the things that he was supposed to be good at, he was that good at them. I found I had a really interesting situation with him that has been hard to have with any other character. It was the fact he was not only a bad guy, not only a Nazi, but a Nazi known as the Jew Hunter, who is finding Jews and sending them to the concentration camp, so when he shows up towards the end of the movie, kinda figuring out what the Basterds are doing, the audience wants him to.”
“They’re not rooting for him, but it’s a fucking movie, and if he figures it out it’s going to be a more exciting movie!” Tarantino continued. “You know, you don’t want him to let you down. We’ve set up that he knows everybody’s secrets, so he’s got to know theirs. And it will make a more exciting climax if he does.”
Writing a character that inspires moviegoers to want him to do bad things proved special for Tarantino, and that’s what sets Hans Landa apart from other Tarantino villains such as Bill (David Carradine) from “Kill Bill” and Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) from “Django Unchained.” DiCaprio’s Calvin is such a volatile and despicable character that it’s painful to see him get the upper hand. With Hans it’s the opposite, as the character getting the upper hand makes for a lot of the exhilaration at the center of Tarantino’s script.
Tarantino is coming off the Oscar-winning success of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” earlier this year. The director has said he is sticking with his plan to retire from filmmaking after his tenth feature, which means he only has one project left to direct. Tarantino has not yet announced his tenth and final feature.