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Cannes Film Festival 2009 – For Basterds, Pitt Sealed Deal With Tarantino Over Five Bottles of Wine

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Immediately after Wednesday’s 8:30AM press screening of Quentin Tarantino’s 2-hour-and-31-minute World War II epic Inglourious Basterds, the director and his cast, including Brad Pitt, Eli Roth and Mike Myers as well as Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender and Christoph Waltz (pictured), met the press to talk about the movie. During the session, more than a few laughs offered welcome comic relief after the movie’s big, bold action sequences.

Tarantino explained how Basterds seemed like the right film for him and Pitt to finally work together: “Artistically, me and Brad have been sniffing around each other for a while. Longing looks across the room.” Pitt broke in: “Sending each other text messages…”

But, as the writer-director noted, while the part of Sgt. Aldo Raine seemed perfect for Pitt, that didn’t mean the actor would sign on: “I thought ‘If he doesn’t do it, what am I gonna do?'” Pitt cut in to explain how that wasn’t a worry: “He had me at ‘Hello.'” Laughing, Tarantino volleyed back: “I had him at ‘Bonjour.'”

Pitt’s account of how he came to be a Basterd won the crowd over: “Quentin came to visit sometime the end of last summer, and I woke up the next morning and saw five empty bottles of wine and some kind of smoking apparatus — I don’t know what that was about — and apparently I agreed to do the movie, because six weeks later I was in the forest playing Aldo Raine.”

On a slightly more serious — but no less enthusiastic — note, Tarantino explained how thrilled he was to be debuting Inglourious Basterds at Cannes: “It’s like the cat is out of the bag for the planet Earth, and I am down with that. I am not an American filmmaker; I am a filmmaker for the planet Earth.” Tarantino explained it was always his intention, come hell or high water, to have his movie ready for Cannes: “that was always the goal, always the dream. To me, there’s no place like Cannes.”

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