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Diane Kruger on Inglourious Basterds

Published August 19, 2009 in Movie Interviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of TWC
It might not be widely known, but modern day Germans don’t particularly like to remember World War II. They’re not happy about what their ancestors did. When a WWII movie comes around, actors like Diane Kruger don’t necessarily jump at the part. Unless Quentin Tarantino does his version with Inglourious Basterds.

Diane Kruger a Star in Inglourious Basterds

“I know it plays really well because we went to a premiere there two weeks ago," Kruger said. "It's a funny thing that you know a lot of journalists everywhere have asked the same question, and it's kind of confusing to me because we don't to hang on to go old Adolf any longer than the rest of the world. It's such a shadow in Germany, and generations after the war that had nothing to do with it. If we could, we would have liked to have gotten rid of him a long time ago. I was born in Germany and I work mostly in France and in the US so you can imagine, because of me being German, I get offered a lot of World War II movies. And I've never wanted to do them because I just felt like just because I'm German I don't need to associate myself with my country's history. And then this came along and I read it and my jaw dropped open and I thought, 'Wow, that's really gutsy, ballsy.' But I feel like I just thought it was cool. The tone was set from the beginning. I loved the idea being German but of my generation, I loved the idea that I through Bridget von Hammersmark is going to bring down the Third Reich. It's like, 'Let's get real!'"

Von Hammersmark is Tarantino’s version of a ‘40s movie star. She gets involved with an Allied mission to infiltrate a Nazi movie premiere. “He made me watch so many movies from the '40s, not necessarily German. But when you watched them, acting was a lot more formal. People really talked [differently], especially the women. And he really wanted to make it really clear from the first time you see her on screen that when she speaks, nobody else speaks. She had to be a commanding presence in the way she spoke from the beginning on. That allowed me then later on, you see the real Bridget. She's this Mata Hari. I like that she's not a James Bond-kind of personality. She's not this cold killing machine."

Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds

Inglourious Basterds Inglourious Basterds

When von Hammersmark gets injured, Tarantino uses it as an excuse for one of his trademark foot fetish shots. She takes a bullet in the leg and has to act out the pain. “It's so fun and it kind of takes so much energy. I didn't realize you had to play like you're in extreme pain. It was tough. I have to say I was exhausted after this movie. I've never been allowed to be this tough. I really wanted to go above and beyond, because most people when they look at me they go, 'Oh, she's this dainty thin little Twiggy girl.' Yet I'm not like that personally at all. I see myself as much more of a tomboy, and I think that's what Quentin saw in me. I had to step up. I had to be tough and one of the guys. There's no complaining from my side.”

She even walks away with a cool battle scar. “My foot gets stuck to the thing. The movie blood is so sticky when it gets hot and Quentin's like, 'More blood, blood, blood, blood...!' So at the end of the night, it was like a 12, 13 hour day and I swear to you I could not physically lift my leg up from that table. It took them 20 minutes to water it down. It's like a full on wax. No hair will ever grow on that side of my leg! It's a good thing, I guess, a funny strip."

Inglourious Basterds opens to theaters on August 21st.

For the posters, trailer, photos and more movie info, go to the Inglourious Basterds Movie Page.

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Fred Topel
Sources: Image property of TWC

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