It’s hard to expect Eli Roth’s performance in Inglourious Basterds. When a dude gets a role because his mentor is the director, you can’t help but expect almost nothing from his him. Yet, Eli’s is all at once one of the subtlest and one of the most over-the-top performances of the whole film. He conveys approval with a sly smile, anger with a quick whip of a bat.
As many of the films actors have mentioned, Quentin wrote extensively for Inglourious Basterds. Roth said that there were hundreds of pages written with back-story, present story, and future story for each of the characters. “He’s got all of this figured out and a lot of it written.”
In a lot of ways, this supports the possibility of a prequel, which Quentin talked about earlier this month. Roth confirmed this. “He might do the Inglourious Basterds prequel. I think [if] people respond, and if he feels like doing it, he’ll jump in and do it. Because Brad and I are like, ‘Prequel! Prequel! Prequel!’” Speaking of the scenes cut from the movie, Roth said, “If he does it, he’s not going to put those scenes on the DVD. He said, ‘I already have 3 scenes from the prequel filmed already.’”
Of course, being a director himself, it was impossible not to talk about his day job. When asked about the Hostel franchise, he responded, “I have walked away from the Hostel franchise. After Hostel 2, it was over. But contractually, they have the right to continue it. If that’s what they want to do, they can, and I have no problem with that.” Roth even admitted to making the same movie three times. “I’ve made movies about groups of kids that are sheltered and protected that go to a foreign environment, kind of piss off the locals, act like they can buy them and sell them. Then [they] get into trouble, then need [the locals’] help, and then [they] pay for their mistakes. If everybody in my movies had behaved, there’d be no problems.”
One of the most biting scenes of the entire film is Eli’s interrogation after the introduction of his character. Eli spoke briefly about his preparation for this intense scene. “I was listening to music like Misfits, Iron Maiden and all this stuff,” he said. “Then as a joke, my girlfriend at the time had put Hannah Montana in the mix. So I was listening, ‘everybody makes mistakes. Everybody knows what I’m talking about. Everybody goes nobody’s perfect!’ Oh my gosh, I caught myself kind of rocking out to Hannah Montana.”
Among other things, Roth talked about his intentions to write a Transformers/Cloverfield-like movie with mass destruction and a PG-13 rating, as well as his experience directing the movie-within-a-movie in Inglourious, Nation’s Pride, but his most intense experience on set was a near-death one. “They had done these fire tests on the set and it’s just me and Omar up in this balcony and two guys under us with fire extinguishers,” Roth started. “Well, they never tested it with the flags, and all the shit caught fire. It burned way out of control; the flames came right up to us.” Roth was even slightly burned. “You see me wince, and that’s just me getting charred. I had never been in a fire. I had no frame of reference for that kind of pain…The next thing I woke up and I had ice on me, aloe, and people standing over me. We were getting blisters and had to go to the hospital.”