Writer/director Quentin Tarantino has made quiet a few memorable features in his past 14 years in the movie business. Ever since the release of his debut theatrical effort Reservoir Dogs in 1992, Tarantino has steadily made a name for himself on the back of scripts filled to the brim with instantly recognizable characters whose witty banter and repartee has established their creator as a masterful voice in filmmaking the world over.
Following the success of his 1994 Palm d’Or winning sophomore effort, Pulp Fiction, Tarantino has continued to build a legacy that has become synonymous with his own name and inherently recognizable characters, and each subsequent film has been a step forward within a largely insular and tangentially continuous narrative filmography. Tarantino has always been one for crafting original and well-drawn characters, but it would appear as though the celebrated filmmaker believes one of his many creations shines above all the others.
According to EW, Tarantino believes that Hans Landa (as portrayed by Oscar winning supporting actor Christoph Waltz) from Inglourious Basterds is the best character that he has ever created. Well known by Tarantino’s fans as the multi-lingual, Nazi antagonist from the infamous World War II drama of 2009, Tarantino said of the character:
“Landa is the best character I’ve written and maybe the best I ever will write. I didn’t realize [when I was first writing him] that he was a linguistic genius. He’s probably one of the only Nazis in history who could speak perfect Yiddish.”
In fact, Tarantino held Landa in such high regard while writing the script for Inglourious Basterds that he began to despair ever finding an actor capable of bringing the character’s particular effusive menace to life. Thankfully for everyone, Waltz proved to be more than capable for the role. Tarantino explained:
“I was getting worried. Unless I found the perfect Landa, I was going to pull the movie. I gave myself one more week and then I was going to pull the plug. Then Christoph Waltz came in and it was obvious that he was the guy; he could do everything. He was amazing, he gave us our movie back.”
Waltz was no doubt equally pleased with the Landa character as Tarantino had written him, and the Austrian-German actor might very well state that the role was among his most important and well regarded to this day. There might be a few other characters from Tarantino’s earlier works who could outrank him, but for fans of Waltz, Hans Landa is a pretty indispensable movie villain.
Inglourious Basterds is currently available on DVD and Blu-ray.