“I want you to hold a lot back”: Christoph Waltz Wasn’t Allowed to Flex His True Skills by Quentin Tarantino for a Strange Reason in Movie That Won Him an Oscar

On a scale of 1 to 10, Quentin Tarantino told Christoph Waltz to just give a 6.

Christoph Waltz Wasn’t Allowed to Flex His True Skills by Quentin Tarantino for a Strange Reason in Movie That Won Him an Oscar


  • Quentin Tarantino did not want Christoph Waltz to show all of his talent in preparation for Inglourious Basterds.
  • The director banned Waltz from rehearsing with his co-stars.
  • Waltz earned an Oscar for his role in the 2009 movie.
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Christoph Waltz’s performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds (2009) earned him both an Academy Award and a distinction for his power and versatility in acting. Not only was his portrayal of the villainous Hans Landa deemed very compelling, but the actor’s skill as a polyglot was also a major plus point.

Christoph Waltz Inglourious Basterds
Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Directors usually bring out the best in actors when filming, but for this instance, Tarantino wanted Waltz to give his “good enough” performance. This was a strategy he utilized for a bizarre yet effective reason that later became crucial to the actor’s antagonistic role.

RELATED: “On a scale of one to 10, be a six”: Quentin Tarantino Had A Weird Demand For Christoph Waltz To Ensure He Outshines Brad Pitt In $321M Movie


Quentin Tarantino Explains His Approach To Christoph Waltz’s Character In Inglourious Basterds

While speaking in The Moment podcast (via IndieWire), veteran filmmaker Quentin Tarantino revealed why he chose this specific kind of approach for Inglourious Basterds. He knew Christoph Waltz’s extent of talent, and he wanted the cast to be shocked. Tarantino explained:

I got together with Christoph before we got to the big script reading with the cast. 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. I do not want them to think that they are getting a glimpse of who you are really going to be.’

RELATED: “I play the part. If it’s boring, it’s boring”: Christoph Waltz, Who Induces Nightmares With Villain Roles, Has No Qualms About Playing the Bad Guy Everyone Hates

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino

Indeed, Tarantino entreated Waltz to give an average performance. He even gave him a pointer that if he would have to compete with someone, he should lose on purpose. The director added:


I do not want you to be in a competition with anybody, and if you are in competition then lose. I don’t want them to know what you have or for them to have a handle on Landa.”

Tarantino also forbade the Django Unchained star from rehearsing with his co-stars. He only made an exception for Denis Ménochet, a French actor. He further said:

In that same vein, with the exception of the French farmer, I don’t want you rehearsing with the other actors before filming. I don’t want Diane Kruger or Brad Pitt to know your gun-slinging abilities until the cameras are rolling.”

No one in the cast knew what was in store for them, and they were absolutely surprised once they had a glimpse of the actor’s pure talent.

RELATED: Brad Pitt’s $321M Quentin Tarantino Movie Nearly Booby-Trapped into Cancellation, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Django Unchained Co-Star Saved it


Christoph Waltz’s Polyglot Skills Helped Him Win An Oscar

Christoph Waltz Oscars
Christoph Waltz won an Oscar

Quentin Tarantino’s filming strategy aimed to keep other characters unstable and have Christoph Waltz dominate his scenes. One concrete example would be Hans Landa effortlessly switching to Italian as the Basterds impersonating the Italian crew get caught unprepared.

Waltz is a polyglot who speaks German, English, and French, and he can easily bring any dialogue to life with so much grace and conviction. The German-Austrian star later won an Oscar award for Best Supporting Actor for his iconic role in Inglourious Basterds.

The Georgetown actor’s repertoire of skills may have been held back at first, but Tarantino clearly knew how to perfectly channel them in the most ingenious way possible.


Source: The Moment via IndieWire

RELATED: “I get to f**king beat up Nazis with a bat?”: Adam Sandler Lost Out on Major Inglorious Basterds Role Due to $75M Comedy That Was a Box Office Bomb

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Articles Published: 2145

Ariane Cruz, Senior Content Writer. She has been contributing articles for FandomWire since 2021, mostly covering stories about geek pop culture. With a degree in Communication Arts, she has an in-depth knowledge of print and broadcast journalism. Her other works can also be seen on Screen Rant and CBR.