Eli Roth in Inglorious Bastards

You’ll never guess who Quentin Tarantino has lined up to star in his epic World War II film Inglorious Bastards

Horror director Eli Roth

Roth will play the role of Sgt. Donnie Donowitz., a baseball bat-swinging Nazi hunter. Most of you probably remember that Roth also had a small part in Tarantino’s last film Death Proof. And by most of you, I mean the 4 million people that saw Grindhouse.

You can hate Roth’s movies all you want, but you have to give this guy credit as a personality. Roth can talk and out story-tell the best of them. I’ve seen him in person many times, and he has a command of almost any audience. There is no denying that he has a charismatic film geek charm. If Tarantino can exploit this, instead of having Roth spout off the normal over-wordy dialogue, it could end up being the surprise performance of the film. On the other hand, Hunter wanted me to mention that it is “the worst decision ever.” And honestly, he might very well be right. It could go easily go either way.

Tarantino is expected to announce the full cast shorty. As has already been reported, Brad Pitt is is talks to play the leader of the rogue Jewish-American soldier group. Plans to cast Leonardo DiCaprio as SS Col. Hans Landa have been scrapped in favor of casting a German actor.

Discuss: I’m sure many of you disagree with my opinion of Roth’s potential, so lets hear it – who would ahve been a better choice for the role?

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Universal Gets Inglorious Bastards

Breaking News: Universal Pictures have partnered with The Weinstein Co to produce Quentin Tarantino‘s World War II film Inglorious Bastards. Oh, and there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Southern California… According to Variety, Tarantino and Harvey Weinstein met with five studios last week, and ended up choosing Universal over Paramount. Seems like a bad decision to me since a film like this needs a strong marketing team behind it, something neither the Weinstein’s or Universal seems to have. Paramount would have been the better choice in the respect. Heck, look what they have done for DreamWorks. Principal photography is scheduled to begin this fall in Germany and France, with both Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprico in talks to star.

photo courtesy of fuenf-filmfreunde

Hopefully, I’ll have a script review of Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards in shortly. After marinating on it for a few days, I don’t feel that it’s the knock out of the park that’s been widely reported. One character vital to the script that suffers from weird incongruities is the main antagonist, Colonel Hans Landa aka “The Jew Hunter.” The trades now report that QT will be in talks this week with Leonardo DiCaprio for the role. Last week, Brad Pitt was said to be in talks for the lead role of Lieutenant Aldo Raine, an American soldier from Tennessee who is an out-and-out shitkicker and Nazi nightmare.

Below, I’m going to discuss the parts they’re up for, but it’s spoiler-free. Watch out for the comments, though.

Pitt’s casting would be spot on for the part. We’ve seen him go convincingly gruff and murderous in Fight Club, Se7en, and he can lay on a thick accent, as seen in A River Runs Through It. He’s the right age to play a leader and mythical father figure to his fellow squad of “Basterds.” But while I’m a fan of DiCaprio’s work, he’s just not right for The Jew Hunter, especially if he’s facing off with Pitt. All talent aside, this movie needs to veer away from pretty men. No offense, pretty men. Landa already borders on caricature on the page—he’s also not scary enough for the head ambitious Nazi doosh when the plot’s stakes go high—and while DiCaprio cleans up well and has the eugenics down, let’s face it: Pitt’s Aldo would squash DiCaprio’s Landa with his hands tied. Think the macho mismatch that was Bill the Butcher and DiCaprio’s Amsterdam in Gangs of New York, if Amsterdam rarely got his hands dirty.

These characters need to be equally deadly and even matched for the sake of creating nail biting, if pulpy, tension. DiCaprio would be fine (ironically enough) for the super powered world of Captain America, but anchoring the nastier side of a WWII juggernaut? Not so much. This is not a case where Brains vs Brawn will do the trick. I want to hate Landa’s guts and fear him, not wonder if my girlfriend is having a better time.

Discuss: Leonardo DiCaprio for Col. Hans Landa? Brad Pitt for Aldo? Are these guys too pretty?

Comment: /Film reader, Steve, says that DiCaprio would be better suited for the character of celebrated Nazi soldier, Fredrick Zoller. This would be ideal casting.

/Filmcast Episode 8: Hellboy 2

/FilmCast

In this week’s episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Devindra, and Adam debate whether Robert Downey Jr. would make a good Sherlock Holmes, celebrate Jon Favreau’s return to Iron Man 2, and delve deeply into the cultural phenomenon that is Step Up 2: The Streets. Also, an in-depth review of Hellboy 2. Special guest Dave3 joins us from Geeks of Doom and Peter Sciretta also makes a brief appearance.

Have any questions, comments, or suggestions? Want to advertise your movie, product, or service on the /Filmcast? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com. You can also call and leave a voicemail at (781) 583-1993. If you’d like us to play your voicemail on the air, please make your voicemails straight to the point, and let us know your hometown or website!

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Over the weekend, numerous sites reported that Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards had been sold to Miramax, the director’s old haunts. But the rumor originated between the cushions of a relatively new source on the scene: Script Girl. Slashfilm patted the rumor with a napkin and decided to go about our day. According to Jeff Wells, a spokesman for Miramax now says it’s BS, there’s no deal. Moreover, The Weinstein Co. was pegged by his source as the sole distributor and producer.

[Wells] said, “Are you sure? I didn’t think TWC had the scratch or the right kind of alliances to produce a film of this scale” and [the spokesperson] said, “All I know is that it isn’t Miramax.”

This is a small item, but considering the anticipation for the project—especially after the script (and QT’s chicken scratch) put a smile on faces all over the industry—we’re interested to see where it ends up. If it’s not parked at Miramax or TWC, as last week’s reports seemingly made clear, these will be new studio waters for QT. We’ve all seen Blind Date, just add him to the mix (Elvis glasses?).

UPDATE: According to the trades, today The Weinstein Co. and Showtime signed a seven-year “theatrical output” deal that includes Inglorious Bastards.

Discuss: If you have any, what are your thoughts on Script Girl? A friend says, “Script Girl is the reason why I want to live on the East Coast.” What’s the best home for Inglorious Bastards?


And then there were two. With Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglorious Bastards now scheduled to begin filming in October in time for Cannes 2009 (!), the script is making the studio rounds this week and the first two reviews have just hit the Web. The consensus: Holy Shit. Our pal El Mayimbe at Latino Review describes the screenplay—-which is divided into five chapters—-as a masterpiece, adding, “Hands down, the script was the most enjoyable read of the year for me so far.” And this dude is privy to a lot of scripts people.

The sentiments at Vulture are equally \m/: “If anyone is crazy enough to fund it, this movie is gonna be awesome.” Moreover, the cover sheet to their copy was seemingly handwritten by Tarantino, with the title spelled Inglorious Basterds [sic]. It even looks like one of those trendy faux-Michael Bay scripts, but an inside source tells me their descriptions, which parallel LR’s, sound legit.

So, what’s it about? You mean, besides the graphic scalping of countless Nazis circa WWII? The lead character that Brad Pitt has reportedly been offered is named Lieutenant Aldo Raine (which reminds me of of the Alpa Chino character in Tropic Thunder, but let’s move on). Raine leads a blood thirsty squadron of soldiers (neither review specified about the rumored “war criminals” aspect) called the “Bastards” for a final mission that involves ruining Nazi party plans to premiere a propaganda film in Paris. The chapters are said to form a storyline double helix of sorts, switching from the Bastards to the other main character, which Vulture describes as “a French Jewish teenager named Shosanna who survives the massacre of her family.” She is curating the premiere and has something up her sleeve for the Third Reich as well.

QT seems to have crafted an epic bugged-out Jewsploitation film, one that takes history for a loose and wild ride to hell and back. Latino Review describes one the Bastards, nicknamed The Bear Jew, as a suspected golem who skull-crushes Germans using a trusty baseball bat. Right now I am picturing Larry David and Adam Goldberg kicking Hitler’s decapitated head around as they puff Red Apple cigarettes (but it’s just my imagination). The head villain goes by “The Jew Hunter.” He’s a Nazi colonel named Hans and not to be messed with; of course, the Bastards don’t listen.

So, Tarantino is definitely going the IYFF route as he previously boasted. But how does the dialogue measure up and how does the script compare to his other works? Thankfully, the comparisons lean toward Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill rather than the absorbed homage that was Death Proof. For example, similar to the classic anime segment in KB Vol. 1, one chapter in IB will be shot in “French New Wave Black and White.” Mayimbe says the entire script is masterfully written…

“If you took the bad guy swagger of RESOVOIR DOGS, the uber coolness and structure of PULP FICTION, throw in the revenge angle of KILL BILL, set it in World War II – you get INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.”

Also…

“…it combines his love of old movies (war movies, Westerns, and even prewar German cinema), his attraction to powerful female protagonists, his love of chatter, and his willingness to embrace the extreme — visually and in his storytelling.” – Vulture

Awesome. Though I haven’t been too stunned by various dialogue excerpts so far, these are veddy promising reactions. Once again, millions of geek eyes look on Tarantino, and this time he seems more fired up than ever. More on Inglorious Bastards as it develops…

Discuss: Are you ready? What do you make of the early reviews for Inglorious Bastards?

UPDATED 07/09/08: QT is still keeping his sights on an opening at Cannes next May!!!! Inglorious Bastards begins shooting in October. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the Weinsteins are co-producing the film and looking to team with another studio due to the film’s “accelerated production schedule.” Dude!

UPDATED 07/08/08: Tarantino is reportedly now in talks with Brad Pitt to star in his WWII-Spaghetti Western blowout, Inglorious Bastards, according to Nikki Finke. Pitt previously starred as the stoner Floyd in True Romance, a QT script.

Before the update a few /Film readers speculated in the comments that Tarantino was going outside The Weinstein Co. to other studios in order to land a pricey cast of A-listers, the kind of Dream Team that’s been rumored for years. Pitt is one step in that direction.

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SLASHFILM DEBATE: If you could only see one of the two during your lifetime and you would have the option to view the entire film RIGHT NOW: would you choose Inglorious Bastards or The Dark Knight? (Peter chose TDK and he’s already seen it! Whoa. I choose Inglorious Bastards. And if TDK is better than Kill Bill, I’ll eat a shoe on /filmcast. Stay tuned.)

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With a sea of Internetters joining the bring-it-on parade that is Inglorious Bastards IRL, Quentin Tarantino is now shopping his finished script around town to Warner Bros., Universal, Paramount and Sony. The news arrives today via Nikki Finke, and she’s quick to point out that one studio is missing from the list: The Weinstein Co.

Before anyone signals a hungry death knell, Harvey Weinstein is reportedly producing the film(s) with Lawrence Bender (cool), but if true, TWC loses its blue-chip auteur to the competition, the iconic talent who was a money-luring cornerstone in the company’s aggressive formation. All of QT’s films dating back to Reservoir Dogs (and Four Rooms even) on through Death Proof have carried the TWC/Miramax bumper. Sniffle. With other mavericks of a generation like Robert Rodriguez (Barbarella) and Kevin Smith (Red State) taking their projects elsewhere as of late—albeit amicably—QT’s departure will be seen as yet another sign of money troubles and newly restrained creative risk at TWC. As Finke speculates, Grindhouse‘s financial blunder aside, the company’s investors are probably not psyched.

The exclusion of TWC as a financial backer worries me a bit. The Weinsteins offered QT all the room he needed to put his vision on screen time and time again, down to obsessive minutiae. A new studio could  prove problematic after filming on IB has started, given the expected epic scope of the project and, well,  QT. I mean, it’s QT. On the flip-side, some feel that Inglorious Bastards is a hard sell and a risk, but I disagree, especially after Pitt’s possible involvement leaked today. Kill Bill relied on Uma Thurman, not the biggest box office draw then or now, to carry two films back to back, and each grossed over $65 million domestically. IB will most likely have a recognizable and buzzing ensemble cast, possibly making for one of the most macho effing movies ever created; this automatically puts it a notch above in terms of accessibility compared to KB‘s cultish brew of chopsocky homage. Also: the “war films aren’t popular” theory doesn’t fly here I feel.

/Filmcast Episode 6: Wanted and Wall-E

/FilmCast

In this episode of the /Filmcast, Dave, Adam, and Devindra geek out about some brand new trailers, speculate on the future of The Office, and try to find some meaningful criticisms of Wall-E. Special Guests Kevin Buist from Filmcouch and Eric Vespe (AKA “Quint”) from Aint it Cool News join us today. Have any questions/comments/suggestions? Want to advertise with us or sponsor us? Feel free to e-mail us at slashfilmcast@gmail.com.

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