Inglourious Basterds (sic) is an upcoming ensemble war film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. The director has repeatedly stressed that despite it being a war film, the movie will be a "spaghetti-western but with World War II iconography". It has the largest cast of characters (with speaking roles) of any Tarantino film to date and was filmed in several locations, among them Germany and France. Tarantino plans to complete production of Inglourious Basterds in time for release at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2009. Filming began in October 2008. The title (and partial premise) of the upcoming film is inspired by Italian director Enzo Castellari's 1978 movie Inglorious Bastards. The Weinstein Company has slated August 21, 2009, as the tentative U.S. release date. In addition to spaghetti-westerns, the film also pays homage to the WWII "macaroni-combat" sub-genre as well as films by Jean-Luc Godard.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, "two story lines converge: One follows a group of Jewish-American soldiers whose mission is to take down a group of Nazis, and the other follows a young Jewish woman who seeks to avenge the death of her parents by this Nazi group."
The film will be divided into five chapters:
- Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied France
- Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds
- Chapter Three: German Night in Paris (filmed in "French New Wave Black and White")
- Chapter Four: Operation Kino
- Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face
In German-occupied France, Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the execution of her family at the hand of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa. Shosanna narrowly escapes and flees to Paris, where she forges a new identity as the owner and operator of a cinema.
Elsewhere in Europe, Lieutenant Aldo Raine organizes a group of Jewish soldiers to engage in targeted acts of retribution. Known to their enemy as "The Basterds," Raine's squad eventually joins German actress and undercover agent Bridget Von Hammersmark on a mission to take down the leaders of The Third Reich. Fates converge under a cinema marquee, where Shosanna is poised to carry out a revenge plan of her own.
Entering the 21st century, director Quentin Tarantino had been writing several scripts, including one for the World War II adventure film that would eventually become Inglourious Basterds. Tarantino described the premise in October 2001, "[It's] my bunch-of-guys-on-a-mission film. It's my Dirty Dozen or Where Eagles Dare or Guns of Navarone kind of thing." The premise had begun as a Western and evolved into a World War II version of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly set in Nazi-occupied France. The story changed to be about two maverick units from the United States Army that had "a habit of scalping Germans" before changing again.
Actor Michael Madsen, who appeared in Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, was originally reported to star in the movie, then called Inglorious Bastards, which had been scheduled for release in 2004. By 2002, Tarantino found Inglorious Bastards to be a bigger film than planned and saw that other directors were working on World War II films. Tarantino had produced three nearly finished scripts, saying, "It was some of the best writing I've ever done. But I couldn't come up with an ending." The director held off his planned film and moved on to direct the two-part film Kill Bill (2003-2004) with Uma Thurman in the lead role. After the completion of Kill Bill, Tarantino trimmed the length of the script, which was reportedly three films long, to 222 pages. The director eventually planned to begin production of Inglorious Bastards late in 2005. The revised premise focused on a group of soldiers who escape from their executions and embark on a mission to help the Allies. The director described the men as "not your normal hero types that are thrown into a big deal in the Second World War".
Tarantino also sought to present the film as a Spaghetti Western set in Nazi-occupied France. He explained his intent, "I'm going to find a place that actually resembles, in one way or another, the Spanish locales they had in spaghetti westerns—a no man's land. With American soldiers and French peasants and the French resistance and Nazi occupiers, it was kind of a no man's land. That will really be my spaghetti Western but with World War II iconography. But the thing is, I won't be period specific about the movie. I'm not just gonna play a lot of Édith Piaf and Andrews Sisters. I can have rap, and I can do whatever I want. It's about filling in the viscera." The director described the scale of the project, "It'll be epic and have my take of the sociological battlefield at that time with the racism and barbarism on all sides—the Nazi side, the American side, the black and Jewish soldiers and the French, because it all takes place in France." Tarantino planned to set the film around the time of D-Day (June 6, 1944) and afterward.
In November 2004, the director decided to hold off production of Inglourious Bastards and instead film a kung fu movie entirely in Mandarin. Tarantino ultimately directed a part of the 2007 Grindhouse instead, returning to work on Inglorious Bastards after finishing promotion for Grindhouse. The director teamed with The Weinstein Company to prepare Inglorious Bastards for production. In September 2007, The Irish Times reported the film's scheduled release for 2008, writing, "Inglorious Bastards, a war movie that may eventually resemble The Dirty Dozen merged with Cross of Iron, has been predicted more often than the second coming of the Lord."
Several Tarantino fan sites have already begun posting reviews and excerpts from the film's script. Principal photography started mid-October 2008 on location in Germany.
The first trailer for the film, a teaser, premiered on Entertainment Tonight on the 10th February, and will be in American theaters the following week attached to Friday the 13th. The trailer features excerpts of Lt. Aldo Raine talking to the rest of 'the basterds', informing them of the plan to kill, torture, and scalp Nazis. It also features the spaghetti-westernesque kickers Once Upon A Time In Nazi Occupied France and A Basterd's Work is Never Done, a line spoken in the film.
The film will be released on August 19 in France, two days earlier than the US release.
In July 2008, Tarantino and the Weinsteins set up an accelerated production schedule to be completed for release at the Cannes Film Festival in 2009. The Weinstein Company plans to co-finance the film and distribute it in the United States. The company signed a deal with Universal Pictures to finance the rest of the film and distribute it internationally. Germany and France were scheduled as filming locations. Filming was scheduled to begin on October 13, 2008, and shooting started that week. Special Effects were handled by K.N.B. EFX Group with Greg Nicotero. Much of the film will be shot and edited in the famous Babelsberg Studios in Berlin, Germany, the oldest large-scale film studio in the world.
* Brad Pitt as Lt. Aldo Raine aka "Aldo the Apache": A fast-talking, vengance-driven hillbilly from the mountains of Tennessee, who puts together a team of eight Jewish-American soldiers. He bears a rope burn on his neck, which will never be mentioned in the film (the script hints that somewhere, once, he might have survived a lynching). One of the film's main protagonists: the character has been described as "a voluble, freewheeling outlaw" similar to Jules Winnfield from Tarantino's Pulp Fiction. His first appearance in the film is a subtle homage to George Carlin's The Indian Sergeant routine. * Eli Roth as Sgt. Donny Donowitz: "A baseball bat-swinging Nazi hunter" who is known as "The Bear Jew" among Nazis. Some of them seem to believe that Donowitz is in fact, a vengeful golem, summoned by an angry rabbi. The role was originally conceived for Adam Sandler, who was in talks with Tarantino before declining due to schedule conflicts with the film Funny People. * B. J. Novak as PFC Smithson Utivich aka "The Little One" * Til Schweiger as Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz: A strange, German-born psychopath recruited by Aldo Raine to kill Nazis. * Samm Levine as PFC Gerold Hirschberg * Omar Doom as PFC Ulmer * Michael Bacall as Zimmerman, a nod to Bob Dylan. * Gedeon Burkhard as CPL Wilhelm Wicki: An Austro-German Jew who "became American."
* Michael Fassbender as Lt. Archie Hicox: A "snappy and handsome British Lieutenant" and movie buff. He is described in the script as a "young George Sanders type". One of the film's main protagonists, albeit introduced later in the movie. * Mike Myers as Gen. Ed Fenech: A British "military mastermind" who provides a plot to kill Nazi leadership. Based on the older George Sanders. * Rod Taylor as Winston Churchill: The then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Jews (Occupied French)
* Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna Dreyfus: A young Jewish girl on the run. One of the film's main protagonists, the closest to being the film's lead character. Tarantino states that Shosanna was "always a main character." * Léa Seydoux as Young Shosanna * Cloris Leachman as Mrs. Himmelstein
The Axis Powers
* Christoph Waltz as Col. Hans Landa aka "The Jew Hunter": A charming yet sinister pipe-smoking Nazi officer so nicknamed in reference to his keen ability to locate Jews hiding throughout France. The primary antagonist of the film. * Daniel Brühl as Frederick Zoller: A young German war hero starring in Joseph Goebbels newest Propaganda Film (entitled "Stolz der Nation") which is actually directed by Eli Roth. * August Diehl as Major Deiter Hellstrom * Sönke Möhring as Private Butz * Richard Sammel as Sgt. Werner Rachtman * Sylvester Groth as Joseph Goebbels * Martin Wuttke as Adolf Hitler
* Samuel L. Jackson as The Narrator * Diane Kruger as Bridget von Hammersmark: A popular film star in Nazi Germany and a spy for the Allies. * Julie Dreyfus as Francesca Mondino: Joseph Goebbel's mistress, French interpreter and favourite actress to appear in his films. * Maggie Cheung as Madame Mimeux: A beautiful French woman who owns a cinema in Paris. * Ludger Pistor as Wolfgang, a role Tarantino added specifically for him * Christian Berkel as Eric: The Barkeeper * Jacky Ido as Marcel: Shosanna's beloved and a projectionist at Mimeux's cinema * Denis Menochet as Perrier LaPadite * Jana Pallaske as an unconfirmed character * Enzo G. Castellari as a nameless Nazi General. He said that Tarantino "wrote him a small part in the script." He has been seen walking around the set wearing a Nazi costume.
Tarantino originally talked to Simon Pegg about portraying Lt. Archie Hicox, but the actor had to drop out due to scheduling difficulties having already agreed to appear in Spielberg's Tintin adaptation. However, Pegg did make Tarantino promise to cast him in his next film. Also, Tarantino originally sought for Leonardo DiCaprio to be cast as Hans Landa, a poetic Nazi colonel targeted by the resistance. The director then decided to instead have the character played by a German actor. The role ultimately went to Christoph Waltz, an actor of Austrian descent.