Quentin Tarantino let Christoph Waltz skip rehearsals to shock ‘Inglorious Basterds’ cast

"I want you to hold a lot back"

Quentin Tarantino has revealed that he instructed Inglorious Basterds star Christoph Waltz to withhold his full potential ahead of the film’s shoot.

The writer-director spoke on The Moment podcast about Waltz’s character Hans Landa, the film’s central villain.

The 2009 film came at a time when Waltz had not yet received much international attention, and consequently many of the non-German cast were unaware of who he was.


“I got together with Christoph before we got to the big script reading with the cast,” Tarantino said, as reported by IndieWire.

“I told him, ‘I’m not doing this to be perverse game playing…everybody is so curious about who is playing Hans Landa. I don’t want you to be bad at the script reading, but I want you to hold a lot back.”

Inglourious Basterds Tarantino
Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds (Credit: Universal Pictures)

The filmmaker went on to instruct Waltz to “be good enough, just good enough.”

Additionally, he requested that the actor did not rehearse with the majority of the other actors, including Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, before filming. Instead, Waltz rehearsed his dialogue with Tarantino himself before principle photography began.

The only actor that Waltz was permitted to rehearse with was French actor Denis Ménochet, who would engage in a tense two-hander with Landa at the beginning of the film.


Waltz would go on to win the Best Actor prize at Cannes and the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Elsewhere, Tarantino has confirmed that he cut his and Leonardo DiCaprio’s favourite scene from Once Upon A Time… in Hollywood.

The filmmaker told the ReelBlend podcast about the scene in question, which involved an emotional phone call between DiCaprio’s Rick Dalton and Trudi Fraser (Julie Butters).

“I think it was probably Leo’s favourite scene that he shot. We were in tears. It was the only time … I’ve gotten misty-eyed every once in a while when I was shooting this scene versus that scene” he recalled.