Inglourious Basterds: Tarantino's Collaboration with Brad Pitt

In the spring of 2008, Tarantino mentioned to his long-time producer Lawrence Bender that he was focusing on “Inglourious Basterds” again.  It’s been a log-gestation project for at least a decade.


On July 2, 2008, Tarantino completed the final draft of the scenario.  Bender read the script twice during the Fourth of July weekend.  The eager and enthusiastic producer met with Tarantino on Sunday, July 6, to discuss the project and the challenges that lay ahead. 


Bender recalls: “I said, ‘We would have to start pre-production tomorrow, and we would have to start shooting in fourteen weeks from tomorrow.  We’ll probably be in Germany before we close a deal with the financing.  We’ll be casting, we’ll be crewing, finding locations, doing all that work before we even have financing.”


Lloyd Phillips, the exec-producer, says: “The first 2-4 weeks were insane and everything was happening so fast.  I worked around the clock dealing with time zones, crew, accounting issues etc. Because we knew we were starting on a specific date, we needed

To focus everyone’s attention.  Without the great team we put together, we could not have hit that date.  We really had a remarkable team.”


Tarantino and the producers sent the script to Brad Pitt and strated out assembling the “Basterds.”


By the time Tarantino had arrived in Germany, production designer David Wasco had already done extensive location scouts, and he had a room filled with photographs to show Tarantino.


The frenzied, spirited pre-production schedule had begun.  Fourteen weeks after “Publishing Day,” the Basterds were ready to roll.


Casting Brad Pitt


Brad Pitt was the first actor to join the ensemble cast as Lieutenant Aldo Raine.  Tarantino flew to France during pre-production to meet with the actor.  Say Tarantino: “He’s wonderful.  We’ve wanted to work together for a long time and this was just the right one, completely.  I really didn’t consider anyone else.”


The film is a reunion between Brad Pitt and Diane Kruger, who had appeared together in the historical epic “Troy,” even though they had no scenes together in that picture.  Kruger’s first day on the set of this picture involved Pitt’s lieutenant Aldo Raine hoisting her bloodied body onto a veterinarian’s observation table,


Tarantino and Pitt enjoyed strong rapport with eac other.  “They were like two peas in a pod,” recalls producer Bender. “The thing that was great about Brad was that he always played Aldo Raine.  He was always playing that character on the set.  It was fun to watch.  He’s a terrific guy.  You could see that Quentin really respected and enjoyed directing him and working with him.  They made a great combination.”


Tarantino concurs: “I loved working with Brad.  He doesn’t really break character.  When you talk to him about other stuff, he talks in Aldo’s voice.  And because I created the character, it’s great to have the guy around all the time.”


Once casting was complete, Tarantino got the cast together for a large table read.  He explained to the room that all WWII films fall into two categories: War-as-tragedy films and men-on-the-move films. He then said: “We’d all definitely be making a men-on-the-move movie.”