There is little doubt that writer/director Quentin Tarantino has created some compelling characters in his career. From PULP FICTION'sJules Winnfield, the Bible-quoting hitman in search of his greater purpose, to DEATH PROOF's Mike McKay, a murderer who kills his victims by locking them in the backseat of his car before crashing his car, there is no shortage of interesting folks to choose from. Love or hate his films, there is something interesting about most of the characters that populate his worlds.
Last Friday, the filmmaker spoke at Jerusalem Cinematheque to a sold out audience about his favorite character:
“[Hansa] Landa is the best character I’ve ever written and maybe the best I ever will write,” he said. “I didn’t realise [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."
Hans Landa was a character that was perfectly immortalized by Austrian-German actor Christoph Waltz, who has gone on to win two Academy Awards -- both of which for Tarantino characters. Tarantino went on to discuss how INGLORIOUS BASTERDS almost didn't happen, and how Waltz essentially saved the production.
“I was getting worried. 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 is definitely not your average filmmaker. No matter the film, it's easy to see his fingerprint on it, be it in the writing, music cues, or rough visual style, and on the whole, he is a director who is more concerned with the integrity of his filmography than most directors. He's also said repeatedly that he believes directing is a young man's game, and that he plans to direct ten films before going into retirement.
Based on what he said at this event, it sounds like he's already leaving a backdoor open for himself.
“I am planning to stop at 10 [films], but at 75 I might decide I have another story to do.”
So I guess the lesson here is never take a retirement plan seriously from a creative person, as they can never truly stop being creative. There's also a bit of narcissism that is inherent in all writers and filmmakers, and as long as he can't stop being creative, he won't be able to stop showing his creations to a mass audience.
What's your favorite Tarantino character and do you think the man will ever retire? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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