This is how you do it. You announce production on your epic, epic, epic film and promise a premiere less than twelve months later at the world’s greatest film festival; you cut and release a truly brilliant, if slightly misdirecting, teaser trailer while the film is still in production; and then you unveil three of the best teaser posters in living memory to further encourage the kind of fervor your film actually, truly deserves.
Empire today premiered the first three posters for Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds and, like that teaser trailer, they seem to be focusing on certain elements of the plot at the exclusion of others – others that, actually, take precedence for much of the film. I’ve got one of the images after the break as well as some extra information.
The poster most likely to become a fan favorite, I reckon, is that of the baseball bat hanging the Nazi helmet – see it above. The bat is the weapon of choice of one Sgt. Donnie Donnowitz, known as “The Bear Jew”. He’s played by Eli Roth, and you do get a brief look at him swinging away in the trailer. The interesting thing about this bat is… well, I won’t spoil it all, but it does have some significance, both narratively and subtextually. There’s even a flashback sequence in the screenplay that details Donnie’s decision to take up the bat and head off to war with it. Trust me – it makes so much more sense in context than when I just lay it out there like that.
Specific identification of the content on the other two posters is less easy, but I’m pretty sure myself that they represent particular characters. The screenplay has been fairly widely distributed so I’m sure you could find a copy if you wanted to spoil yourself.
I really want to know when the promotional materials for Inglourious Basterds are going to give away the full scope of the film and let people see the other side of what the movie entails. I hope it’s sooner rather than later because, well, the film you’re getting isn’t just the film you see in these posters and the trailer – it’s much bigger, smarter, more ambitious and less predictable – and I’d think people are possibly building up the wrong idea in their heads. Then again, that might make the finished movie all the more surprising for them and this might be why Tarantino’s happy with the marketing.
Apart from slowly stirring the script for over a decade before hand, every move Tarantino has made with his crew of Basterds has pleased me all over – and I know I shouldn’t really be complaining about his scripting schedule either, I’m just impatient. For me, not even Steven Soderbergh and Woody Allen make films often enough (and okay, Takashi Miike has the quick turnaround down, but I’m not sure his standards are always as high as they should be).
Head on over to Empire to see the other two posters.