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Quentin Tarantino unveils epic WWII script

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Quentin Tarantino
Lionel Cironneau/AP

He may talk faster than the Micro Machines Man, but Quentin Tarantino sure can take his sweet time when he’s working on a script. After nearly a decade of stops and starts, he’s finally finished writing his latest passion project, the ultraviolent WWII drama Inglorious Bastards. The original story — its title comes from a 1978 Italian film directed by Enzo G. Castellari — centers on a band of Jewish American soldiers dropped into German-occupied France on a singular mission to kill as many Nazis as they can. Not only is Bastards the auteur’s first attempt at a period piece, but it also marks Tarantino’s inaugural journey into the studio system as a director. Longtime distribution partner Harvey Weinstein is still overseeing the production, but the unflagging executive is looking to major studios for cofinancing and international release. Gossip columns reported that Tarantino flew to France just two days after the birth of Brad Pitt‘s twins in hopes of courting the actor to play the lead role of Lieut. Aldo Raine —or Aldo the Apache, as he’s known to the Germans, for his signature move of scalping his victims after he kills them. (A source tells EW that Tarantino and Pitt are both interested in working together, but no deal has been made.)

EW has read the script in its current version, and it’s chock-full of vintage Tarantino moments. Inglorious Bastards focuses on his familiar theme of revenge, employs retrospect and a chapter-by-chapter format, and features the director’s now-classic use of the Mexican standoff, in which multiple characters are at an impasse pointing guns at each other. It’s been over a year since Tarantino crashed and burned with the little-seen B-movie homage Death Proof, but anticipation for this project — which Tarantino once called ”some of the best stuff I’ve ever written” — is high. The script, says one insider who’s read it, ”is a reminder that Quentin is one of the best writers working today. It’s not perfect, but it’s one you hope he gets to do exactly the way he wants. Because even the mistakes are entertaining.”

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