By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 25, 2009 at 8:25AM
In my interview with Quentin Tarantino, he admits that he plans to go back to the editing room with Inglourious Basterds this June. He rushed the movie, getting it done in less than a year to make Cannes, and delivered a cinephile's fantasy:
It‚Äôs been a whirlwind year for the director, who has long believed in making films slowly to stand the test of time. That is, until Death Proof, which did not benefit, he says, from too much overfiddling. So he put Inglourious Basterds on a tight schedule with a Cannes deadline.
After finishing last July the 165-page script he had been writing on and off since 1999, Tarantino obtained backing for a $70 million picture from loyal patron Harvey Weinstein and Universal Pictures, landed his most megawatt star ever, Brad Pitt, almost canceled the October shoot before he finally found the multilingual Christoph Waltz to star in a pivotal role, and stayed on schedule during 10 weeks of shooting on location in Germany. And after three months of editing, he delivered a dripping-wet print to Cannes‚Äîa place he considers ‚ÄúCinema Nirvana,‚Äù where ‚Äúcinema matters, it‚Äôs important‚Äù‚Äîat a running time of two hours, 27 minutes: 13 minutes less than Pulp Fiction and 19 minutes less than he needed to retain final cut.
While the war mission movie played better to some than others, the Cannes jury liked it well enough to award the best actor prize to dazzling German linguist Christoph Waltz, who performs fluently in French, German, English and Italian.
As Tarantino goes back to the editing bay, he has some wriggle room. He'll edit together one scene that he shot but didn't assemble; it comes right before the La Louisiane sequence featuring Michael Fassbender and Diane Kruger as a British soldier under cover and a German movie star who wants to help him bring down the Third Reich. Fassbender pops in the movie, so it makes sense that the filmmakers would want to give him more screen time.
The scenes featuring Maggie Cheung as Madame Mimieux, the proprietor of a Paris cinema who takes in Shosanna Dreyfuss (Melanie Laurent), won't be restored. It doesn't add to the narrative.
Tarantino also plans to preview the movie in the States, outside of California, not with research cards but just to see how it plays with an audience. He and editor Sally Menke will then fine-tune and tweak the timing. The Weinstein Co. releases the movie August 21.
[Photo of Diane Kruger courtesy of Vanity Fair]