Some of the most famous films of all time have had disastrous production experiences. Takes End of the world now (1979) by Francis Ford Coppola, for example. A war film of epic proportions, its stories of development hell are among the most iconic of all time across the film industry as a whole. In fact, an entire documentary about the disasters was made on set End of the world now.
And while this is one of the most notorious cases throughout Hollywood history, plenty of other projects have gone through development hell, so to speak. American director Quentin Tarantino experienced this ordeal while making his own war movie: Inglorious Basterds (2009), starring the likes of Brad Pitt, Melanie Laurent and Christoph Waltz.
And while it’s now considered among the director’s finest features, the current film has gone through several rough patches in terms of overall production. The screenplay for Inglorious Basterds Of course, this was the beginning of the film’s production stages. But it also fell flat when Tarantino had to snag the first hurdle.
The script took nearly a decade to complete
It took Tarantino nearly a decade to write the script for the movie War at Hand. In fact, the process was very long. He finished writing enough external content to make two Kill Bill movies along with death proof (2007). The script started for Inglorious Basterds Shortly after his release Jackie Brown (1997), in other words.
And when it was finished, the script was leaked onto the Internet. Of course, the product that was released online ended up being a far cry from the final movie thanks to the ongoing edits. But it’s also worth noting that several scenes were cut from Tarantino’s original piece to shorten the final product.
For example: letter from Inglorious Basterds Named Donny Donowitz, aka The Bear Jew, he had a flashback scene featured in the script that never made the actual cut. In the sequence, he can be seen buying his trademark baseball bat at a NYC thrift store – it provided great context for the character and his quirks, but he never saw the true light of the day due to the production company’s request to ramp up the film’s overall running time.
The cast almost looked completely different
Many of the characters from Inglourious Basterds have been played by almost every different artist. For example: the famous American actor and comedian Adam Sandler almost played the role of Donny Donowitz, the aforementioned Jew Bear. And considering this character’s tough demeanor, it might be best to finally find Eli Roth. There’s certainly no telling how Sandler really fared – it would have been as impressive an outing as his recent efforts in films like Uncut gemstones (2019) and Accelerates (2022), for all we know.
But there is no denying that Inglorious Basterds It would have been an entirely different project had the crew not found the perfect person to play the primary antagonist, SS Colonel Hans Landa. Of course, the character primarily speaks German. But he is actually a polyglot, and is also fluent in languages such as English, Italian, and French. Thus, finding an actor capable of delivering Landa’s cold lines of dialogue in multiple languages proved to be quite a challenge.
Leonardo DiCaprio was originally considered for the role, but eventually, Christoph Waltz was found. His role was so massive, Tarantino credits him with saving the movie as a whole. The director was ready to pull the plug on the entire production before finding Waltz to fill the dynamic shoes of the character.
And of course, the actor nailed the role from the film’s tense opening scene to its poetic conclusion. Waltz won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his work on Hans Landa. It was the first acting award ever won for a role in a Tarantino film at the celebrated ceremony, and undoubtedly stands out as a highlight of the film as a whole. Consider yourselves lucky that everything worked out in this regard.
Filming the ending was almost fatal
Plot course Inglorious Basterds After two separate assassination attempts on Adolf Hitler. One of them was executed by Shosanna Dreyfuss, a Jewish woman aiming for revenge who lost her family to the Nazi regime. In fact, the final scene of the movie takes place in her movie theatre, where German officials were attending the premiere of a highly anticipated fictional film called The nation’s pride.
The titular group of American soldiers also plotted to carry out their own assassinations in the cinema, on the idea that they could reach out to Hitler and shoot him before anyone else could stop them, no matter the consequences. They got to the infamous boss first, but Shosanna’s plan paid off nonetheless – her movie theater was lit up with the Germans trapped inside.
Regarding sequence production: It was predicted that the fire would burn at 400 °C (752 °F), but it instead rose to 1,200 °C (2,190 °F). Actor Eli Roth once stated that he and his crew “nearly got burned” while filming the scene. What’s more is that the swastika flag that fell when it was lit was supposed to remain hanging there, alert and unscathed across the scene.
The flag was held by steel cables said to be strong enough to do the job. But alas, the steel eventually softened in the heat and snapped. Thankfully, no one was hurt in the process of filming, but it was an unexpected close call, nonetheless. It only added to the disastrous production events of Inglorious Basterds. It is a miracle that this film saw the legitimate light of day.