Quentin Tarantino fired 'Inglourious Basterds' extra for not knowing his character's backstory

Gregory Wakeman
Contributor
Eli Roth talks Quentin Tarantino and Inglorious Basterds

Eli Roth has revealed just how prepared Quentin Tarantino demands his actors to be on set.

During production on Inglourious Basterds, the Oscar-winning filmmaker apparently fired an extra as he did not know the backstory of his character.

Roth, who starred in Inglourious Basterds as the baseball bat-wielding Sgt. Donny Donowitz, recalled the incident for new documentary QT8: The First Eight, which takes a look at Tarantino’s career.

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According to Indiewire, Roth reveals that Tarantino wants his actors to be able to answer questions about their characters’ history when called upon. During the first rehearsal for Inglourious Basterds one extra was called upon, and when he failed to do so he wasn’t seen on set again.

Film director Quentin Tarantino poses for a picture during a photocall for his new movie "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" ahead of its Russian premiere in central Moscow, Russia August 7, 2019. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

“We all sat around and everybody had their scripts and lines. Quentin said to close our scripts and asked us who we were. You had to go on and on and on about your backstory. [Quentin asked], ‘How did you feel when he joined the Bastards?’ There was one person who didn’t know, and he wasn’t there the next day. That guy was an extra. I was really training for it.”

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Roth also revealed that ahead of the scene where he emerges to kill a Nazi with a baseball bat he worked out right up until the moment he walked out so he could seem as “muscular and brooding as possible.”

Tarantino even had his own plan for how to make Roth reach the required level of intensity, as he repeatedly delayed shooting the scene because he knew it would increasingly annoy the actor. Roth admits it had the desired impact, as he grew so furious with Tarantino that he ultimately took all of this frustration out when on camera.