By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 21, 2009 at 2:36AM
Quentin Tarantino is rushing production on his World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, which has been described as The Dirty Dozen meets Cross of Iron, not only because his mentor Harvey Weinstein could use a big hit sooner rather than later--and Tarantino is deeply loyal--but because the director is trying to finish it in time for Cannes in May.
A notorious dawdler, Tarantino takes years between projects, laboring on his scripts--a practice he defends in the name of quality over quantity. He finished this one at 165 pages on July 2 (here's New York Mag's description of the script and Cineobscure's script PDFs) and plans a Pulp Fiction-length film with five chapters:
Chapter One: Once Upon a Time in Nazi Occupied France
Chapter Two: Inglourious Basterds
Chapter Three: German Night in Paris (filmed in "French New Wave Black and White")
Chapter Four: Operation Kino
Chapter Five: Revenge of the Giant Face
Tarantino was up and running and shooting by October, after pacting with Weinstein Co. for domestic and Universal/Focus Features International for foreign.
Tarantino puts his all into shooting and editing. The ensemble cast is led by Brad Pitt and Michael Fassbender, star of Steve McQueen's Cannes breakout Hunger. Pitt leads a team of Jewish-American Nazi-hunters (The Basterds) who get caught in a No-Man's Land much like Sergio Leone's The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. (He wanted to use Ennio Morricone, but it didn't work out.)
While Tarantino went over-sked and budget on Death Proof, fussing and tinkering, this time he's on track and almost finished with the movie, which began production in Germany in October, and will soon get into the editing room to prep for his Inglourious Cannes preem. Can't wait.
[Photo: Getty Images]
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]