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INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS Interview Part 4: Diane Kruger

by Eli Reyes

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Here is part 4 of our roundtable interviews with the cast of Quentin Tarantino's WWII epic, Inglourious Basterds.

Diane Kruger(Troy/National Treasure) plays Bridget Von Hammersmark, German actress turned double agent for the British government. Like I said in my review, Kruger is superb, perfectly counterbalancing the larger than life and sometimes over the top behavior of the Basterds.

So read on as the beautiful Diane Kruger opens up about working with the boys in the Basterds, her character, her favorite Tarantino films, how the cast nearly gave a bar owner a heart attack and much much more.

(The one question that is a spoiler I put at the very end, with fair warning.)

Enjoy, and let us know what you think.

What was it like working with the boys club? (in reference to the predominately male cast)

It's fun being one of the boys. To have a character that's rough and gets down and dirty. And to not be this precious piece that sits in the corner and stands by the action.


Before you signed on to the film. Were you a fan of Quentin Tarantino?

I was incredibly star struck.


Aside from Inglourious Basterds, can you rank your in order your 5 favorite Tarantino films?

I love Pulp Fiction. I must've been 13 or 14 when it came out. There are so many movies you watch over the years, but of the top 5 I can remember, Pulp Fiction! It's so iconic.

As a young girl when I watched Pam Grier in Jackie Brown, I was like, 'That's who I wanna be!' She is so cool! I always thought that for women, he was the guy. His movies empower women, and I've always like that about him.


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Taratinino is well known for matching the characters he creates with the actors that portray them. How did it work for you?

It's tough. He's so infamous for only hiring the people he thinks are 100% right for the job. And he's really one of the last directors in Hollywood who gets away with that. He would not have hired Brad Pitt if he thought he was not Aldo Raine.

It was hard for me to get the job, he had someone else in mind. He didn't believe I was German. (laughs) He saw every actress in Germany, everyone. So you gotta deliver in the room.


Did that create more stress after you received the role?

Once I got hired, it was a walk in the park. There were obviously days that were stressful. I mean it was definitely a very  challenging part for me. I've never been allowed, in America at least, to ever play such a strong, fierce [character].

His dialogue is great but it's not easy. You have to read it a couple times. it's between the lines. It's not your typical Hollywood sha-bang. It was a challenge definitely.


What starlet did you identify with? Or base your character on?

It's not one person in particular. It was really more of a style that was important to [Quentin]. When you watch films from the 40's, acting was quite different. It was more formal, a little "put on."

When you first see Bridget on screen, you have to immediately know she's the movie star. When she speaks nobody else does. You have to feel this sense of fierce, cold intelligence. Because if you don't believe she's the brains behind Operation Kino, and that she'd actually be able to pull this off, then that whole plot falls flat.


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All of his characters are a little larger than life. Especially me doing that German accent. Ya know, 'Vat are yu talkeeng abowt?!' I had to be careful not to go full on.


What sort of bonding did you have with Quentin and the cast?

Every Friday night, the crew drinks, and everybody goes. He really like the people who work for him.

There was a bar we would go to all the time called Tarantino's. [The bar owner] was Quentin's biggest fan, it's full of memorabilia of his movies. Of course he's never met Quentin. [And in] walks in Brad Pitt, Quentin Tarantino and the entire cast. We didn't call before or anything. The guy nearly had a heart attack. Can you imagine???


What was your reaction to some of the horrific things in the movie?

We didn't see it before Cannes. There's moments that I didn't realize would be quite as intense. When in the first scene Landa drinks that big cup of milk. I was like (heavy breathing) 'What's gonna happen?!' And I read the script!


Are there any types of movies or characters you are dying to play?

I'd love to make a full on comedy! I've really been looking actively to do something funnier.


With your co-star B.J Novak being from The Office, are there any American television shows that you like?

Madmen. I like Fringe of course. I'm a little biased, because of Josh[ua Jackson](Diane's fiancee and star of Fringe.)


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Quentin's reputation is knowing exactly what he wants. Is there any room for back and forth? Or do you just trust his direction?

You can't not. It's so prepared, and he bombards you with backstories. it's nearly impossible to fail. If he like something [you add], then he'll go in that direction. If not, then he'll step in.

You have to be true to the lines. That was really difficult at first. You have to say every word. That's new for me.


You've with some big leading men, what have you learned from them?

You take something from everyone, big actor or not. What I really admire in someone like Brad who's a such big huge movie star, he's truly all about the work still. It's not about being Brad Pitt on set. He takes direction. Quentin was just as strict with him as everybody else. He's dedicated.


What is next for you?

A movie called Mr Nobody that will be in competition at the Venice Film Festival. And then a French movie, my little love project that I've been trying to get made for years, Two Sisters. A full on art house movie. Five people are going to go out and see it... You ALL have to come.

I've always tried to make one French movie a year.


Seeing as how the film is a foreign film, made by an American director. Who do you think will embrace this film?

All of his movie ride a really fine line. Arthouse movies love his movies, because they're so geeky and reference all these movies. They're very violent, yet they're funny. He always rides in between genres. You don't really know where to put his movies. Then he makes a movie like Grindhouse. Who responds to that on paper? It's hot chicks in hot pants. Who goes to se that?

And then you see this. I think it has a large audience. First of all, the subject matter. Everyone's so familiar with the subject matter. It's Brad Pitt, he's a big commercial movie star, and has the street cred.

 

This one could be a breakout one... I don't know. That's what you hope for anyway.

Whether or not this movie will be a box-office success? I've one the lottery. I'm in Quentin Tarantino movie! I'll be cool for my kids forever.


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***************************************************WARNING*******************************************************

**********************************************SPOILER QUESTION************************************************

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Describe the scene when Christoph Waltz character is strangling you.

It's actually Quentin who's strangling me. It was my last day, and I was kinda sad to leave. And knock knock, Quentin's at my trailer.He comes in and he's like, 'Ya know, Christoph is just an actor. And he's probably gonna squeeze too hard or not enough. I just know exactly what I want so think I should do it.'

Christoph is not a very tall guy, and as you know Quentin is very tall. So none of his costumes fit. So they had to do strap on SS sleeves that sort of tied around his neck.

So he's over me chocking me, and he's so sweet. He didn't want to hurt me, obviously. He was a lot less tough than Christoph was in the large shots. But I couldn't tell him. (with hands around he neck nodding approval)Cough Cough.Very sweet.


What did you do to prepare for that scene?

His sets are loud and rowdy. Guys running around, it's testosterone galore.
I'm one of those people, if I have to do a scene like that, I have to be quiet and isolate myself.So he immediately sent everybody out. It was just me Quentin, Christoph and the camera operator. That was the most incredible day on set. I felt cuh a connection with Quentin.

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