Django Unchained proves that Christoph Waltz’s amazing performance as a Nazi in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds was no fluke. He is every bit as vivid, and sly in a completely different way, in Tarantino’s latest film about slavery, violence and pre-Civil War America. To say that Waltz plays Dr. King Schultz, a bounty hunter who buys and frees the slave played by Jamie Foxx, then helps him find his wife, doesn’t begin to hint at the way the character develops, or how Waltz, perfectly in sync with Tarantino once again, subtly makes his character a moral compass as well as a fast-shooting Western sidekick, sometimes funny and sometimes eloquent.
In our video chat Waltz is modest and thoughtful - almost courtly in his speech - as he talks about reading the screenplay in progress (in the movie he spins Tarantino’s droll lines for maximum effect), about what makes a character a hero, and about what filming Django Unchained revealed to him about America and race.
If you’ve seen photos from the film, you know that Schultz has a very full beard and lots of hair. Waltz today does not; that close-cut look is a legacy of his role in Terry Gilliam’s futuristic film The Zero Theorem. (You can watch my video interview with Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington here.).
Video edited by TAYLOR LEVY.