Over the course of his career, Quentin Tarantino has written plenty of iconic roles, from the Bride of Kill Bill to the Bible-quoting Jules of Pulp Fiction. Just about everyone has their personal favorite Tarantino character — even, it seems, Tarantino himself.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Film Festival, where he received a lifetime achievement award, Tarantino reflected on his career and the eclectic cast of characters he’s assembled, adding, “I like my actors, but I love my characters.” And one of his particular favorites is the villainous Hans Landa of Inglourious Basterds, the malicious Nazi baddie played by the multilingual Christoph Waltz.
“Landa is the best character I’ve written and maybe the best I ever will write,” Tarantino told the crowd, via Screen Daily. “I didn’t realize [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.”
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In fact, Tarantino thought that Landa and his linguistic prowess was such a key part of Inglourious Basterds that he almost scrapped the entire film when he couldn’t find the right actor to play the part.
“I was getting worried,” Tarantino said. “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.”
Based on the fact that Waltz won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as the deplorable Landa, it seems like most people would agree.