Eli Roth Video Interview On ‘Inglourious Basterds,’ Quentin Tarantino
He’s a killing machine in Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds, just released on DVD. Now, Eli Roth taked questions exclusively for users of Uinterview.com.
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I will never forget when we were filming in the cave. When I was in the cave ready to do my bat scene on the first day when we finally, finally got to come out of the cave we were shooting in this ravine for about six days, and Quentin kept me back in the cave. I was hitting a punching bag and I was psyching myself up for this kill and thinking of all these horrible things and then Quentin would go 'OK! That's a wrap! We're done for the day.' And when he finally let me out after about four days of working me up I was like an animal ready to spring and when I finally came out with a bat and walloped the guy it was such an incredible feeling and Quentin just goes [thumbs up sign] and whenever he does the two thumbs up you know you've done a good job.
I'm a Jewish guy from Boston but the idea I had of Germany was basically what I had from the movies. I had visited but never lived there. I was so satisfying to see that the Germans hate the Nazis as much as we do. I never really understood that. Whenever I would kill a Nazi character, the [Germans] would have the biggest smile on their face because they would feel like they too were participating in the death because you have generations and generations of Germans who grew up after World War II and the whole world is mad at them because of the Holocaust.
I wanted to help Quentin make the Cannes Film Festival and he had so much to shoot and it was taking him everything he had to make 'Inglorious Basterds' so I offered my directing services for free just as a friend and he gave me this film within the film. And I wanted it to be authentic. I knew the purpose of the film was to make Hitler and the Nazis look ridiculous and self-aggrandizing but I didn't want it to be a joke. So while we were I was going 'More swastikas! More swastikas!' And it's completely illegal. If you put up a swastika you're automatically put in prison in Germany, it's no joke over there. So it was incredible for the crew members to be filming this going 'God, normally we can't do this.' It was really strange, but it was the best thing I felt like I ever did. I brought my brother Gabriel out and in two days we got 30 shots. I felt like I gave Quentin a full battle film.
My parents are New York Jews. My grandparents got out of Poland, Russia and Austria. All my distant relatives were killed in the Holocaust, except a couple who barely made it out. My parents said, 'We will never go to Germany.' My parents came to the set and there are 200 actors dressed as Nazis with Hitler and Goebbels. And Quentin says, 'Hey, everybody it's Sheldon and Corey's birthday.' It was not their birthday. But he had Hitler and the whole Nazi high command sing "Happy Birthday." Then Quentin dressed up by Mom as a French collaborator and put her in the scene. So theres my mom in the scene with me watching a Nazi propaganda film that her son has directed. Filming on the same stages where they filmed many Nazi propaganda movies. It was surreal on top of bizarre on top of meta.