Sunday, July 24, 2011

Interview with Diane Kruger for Inglourious Basterds, July 23rd, 2009

Promoting: Inglourious Basterds
Venue: Claridge's Hotel, London
Interview type: Press conference

VL: Diane, when you received the script, at what point did you realise that this was not what it first seemed to be, and it was a more fictitious approach to history?

Diane Kruger (DK): Oh, I think it's pretty clear from the opening page, from 'Once Upon a Time...'. I never expected to see a World War II movie done by Quentin Tarantino that was going to be a classic, sob movie. And, the truth is, being German, as you can possibly imagine, I get offered a World War II movie once a week, which I've never wanted to do, because I never wanted to be associated, just because I was German, with that part of my country's history. And then this came along, and one of the very rare times where you read a script and go 'oh my god, he actually wrote this for me!', only it wasn't true at all. He probably didn't even know I existed at this point. But I really felt like I'd been born to play this part, and I knew it deep in my heart, that if I got the opportunity to meet with him - which took a long time and a lot of convincing - that, he couldn't hire someone else. I made sure, I just really felt like I could bring something to this character.

VL: In the course of a very short amount of screen-time, you are maimed in a shoot-out, tortured by Brad Pitt, and then throttled by a demented Christoph, so could you tell us about being put more through the physical mill than you have been before.

DK: Ah, just another day at work [laughs] Well, I loved it. It's for once, you get a director that loves women for what they can do. All the parts, especially in America, that I've been getting, have been queens or this object that's been put on a pedestal. And, Quentin loves women, they're fierce, they're a lot smarter than anyone else in the movie, quite frankly, and love treating the Basterds like they're complete morons. And so, I didn't find I was being tortured by Brad, I felt like I was taking it like a man, you know. And then the scene with Christoph, was completely terrifying, because he sits here and he looks all nice and sweet, but he has a terrifying look in his eyes at times, and it really threw me off. And a little known fact is, when I actually get strangled, it's actually Quentin, so I guess he wanted to tell me something there! I asked him if I could tell this story, because I wasn't sure if he wanted to, it just says a lot about who he is as a director, I think. [laughs]. No, he's so into it, he's just, he's on set, and he lives every character. He is Landa, and he is Bridget von Hammersmark, and he is Shosanna. More than other directors I've worked with, he's right there, you know. And when I auditioned he played Brad, with the accent and everything.

VL: How does Quentin compare as a director to other directors you've worked with?

DK: Well, I think one of the major differences is that I've never worked with a director who is basically a movie library. So he bombards you with movie references, and characters that he was inspired by, and then lets you make it his own. I must have seen 20 films that he wanted me to see. Women that he was inspired by. And then, you know, he loves to percolate. I actually would say that he was also the most precise director I've worked with, in terms of he's very attached to his writing, especially in English. He makes sure you say every word. Which is new for me, a lot of directors let you go on and, you know, approximate what's written. His writing is a challenge, especially in English, because it's very nuanced and very much between the lines. Every time you read it, you discover something else. And he doesn't let you get away with anything. He’s a director that sits next to cameras, no monitor, there's nobody on set that doesn't need to be on set, there's no video village, there's no safety net. He sits and stares at you, which is very unsettling at first, to me anyway, and he sits over his little headsets. And sometimes we had to break scenes because he was laughing too loud, and he takes such joy from hearing and seeing his characters come to life, that if he sees that you're there, and you're going his way, and you're that character that he wanted to create, he gives you wings, you can go so much further than you think you could.


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