While speaking at the Jerusalem Film Festival, where he received a lifetime achievement award, Quentin Tarantino reflected on his legendary filmography by announcing that the villainous Hans Landa from Inglourious Basterds, played by Christoph Waltz, is his favorite character he has ever penned dialogue for.
“Landa is the best character I’ve written and maybe the best I ever will write,” Tarantino told the crowd. “I didn’t realize [when I was first writing him] that he was a linguistic genius. He’s probably one of the only Nazis in history who could speak perfect Yiddish.”
The very nature of the character’s construction and linguistic gymnastics actually threatened to derail Inglorious Basterds during initial pre-production because Tarantino didn’t think he would ever find an actor who could speak multiple languages and say the dialogue as the writer/director intended.
“You have to know my dialogue backwards and forwards,” he said. “Anything else and I could fire you and start again because you’re just disrespecting me. I am paying them to say my dialogue. That is their job. I like my actors, but I love my characters.”
“I was getting worried,” Tarantino added. “Unless I found the perfect Landa, I was going to pull the movie. I gave myself one more week and then I was going to pull the plug. Then Christoph Waltz came in and it was obvious that he was the guy; he could do everything. He was amazing, he gave us our movie back.”
Tarantino also doubled down on the fact that he would indeed call it a career after his tenth film, giving him two more bullets in the chamber (if you count Kill Bill 1 and Kill Bill 2 as a single film).
“I am planning to stop at 10 [films], but at 75 I might decide I have another story to do.”