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I remember when Brad Pitt was easily the biggest name in the Inglourious Basterds cast (despite not actually being the main character) when it first came out in 2009. Arguably, he still is, but after Christoph Waltz earned his first Oscar, Diane Kruger became a household name, and Michael Fassbender and others started doing superhero movies, Quentin Tarantino’s World War II epic (very, very loosely inspired by the 1978 B-grade period piece The Inglorious Bastards) soon became a star-studded modern classic. Those stars have had a lot of notable movies, TV shows, and more on their plates since changing history with a loud bang, so, let’s see what they are up to these days, starting with our American hero.
Brad Pitt (Lt. Aldo “The Apache” Raine)
Technically, this superstar first collaborated with his Inglourious Basterds director for 1992’s Quentin Tarantino-penned, Tony Scott-directed True Romance before playing Lt. Aldo Raine (one of Brad Pitt’s most badass characters), and his Oscar-winning Once Upon a Time in Hollywood role as Cliff Booth.
He later starred in more grounded World War II-era dramas (2014’s Fury and Allied in 2016), sort of followed X-Men movies star Michael Fassbender’s footsteps by making one of the funniest superhero movie cameos as Vanisher, and even became The Jim Jefferies Show’s Weatherman on Comedy Central. Pitt is reuniting with Deadpool 2 director David Leitch for 2022’s Bullet Train (also starring his Lost City of D co-star Sandra Bullock), is teaming up with Damien Chazelle for the first time with Babylon, and has many upcoming producer credits, such as an adaptation of the horror graphic novel, Black Hole.
Mélanie Laurent (Shosanna Dreyfus)
I believe Inglourious Basterds’ true hero is Shosanna, played by Mélanie Laurent - who was previously known best for having Pierre Laurent, voice actor for the French-language version of The Simpsons, as a father. Playing the resilient Jewish refugee led to roles in more American films, such as the Academy Award-winning Beginners in 2010, the 2013 magic show/heist thriller combo Now You See Me, Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy the same year, a true Nazi-hunting story called Operation Finale, and two Netflix movies - including 6 Underground with Ryan Reynolds and Oxygen in 2021.
Laurent still stars in and even helms French-language films to this day, including The Mad Women’s Ball (premiering exclusively on Amazon Prime September 17, 2021), but also a new English-language directorial feature in the works, called The Nightingale, starring sisters Elle Fanning and Dakota Fanning.
Christoph Waltz (Col. Hans “The Jew Hunter” Landa)
Other than Hitler, of course, the biggest thorn in Aldo and Shosanna’s sides is Col. Hans Landa - played to Academy Award-winning perfection by Austrian-born Christoph Waltz, who also worked almost exclusively in Europe before Inglourious Basterds. Quentin Tarantino directed him in a second (and more heroic) Oscar-winning performance from 2012’s Django Unchained, before Waltz revisited his villainous talent in comedies like Horrible Bosses 2 or even series like Quibi’s Most Dangerous Game, to name a few, in addition to another kindly mentor role in Alita: Battle Angel from 2019.
Next, Waltz is starring in Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, reprising his Bond villain role in No Time to Die, playing Mikhail Gorbachev opposite Michael Douglas’ Ronald Regan in a miniseries about their 1986 meeting, and is voicing a fox for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, most notably.
Diane Kruger (Bridget Von Hammersmark)
Secretly working against Landa and the Third Reich is German actress Bridget von Hammersmark - played by German actress Diane Kruger, who actually broke into American cinema pretty early before landing starring roles in films like Troy (opposite Inglourious Basterds' Brad Pitt) and the National Treasure movies with Nicolas Cage. She would then go back and forth between playing more heroes (such as a Texas detective on FX’s The Bridge), more antagonists (like in the 2013 Stephenie Meyer movie The Host), and another World War II-inspired femme fatale in Robert Zemeckis’ Welcome to Marwen from 2018.
Netflix’s The 355 was originally set to be next of Kruger’s 2021 movies before it was postponed to the 2022 movies schedule and, unless Quibi’s serialized Swimming with Sharks remake does not find a new home soon, you will likely see her next in the romantic drama, First Love.
Eli Roth (Sgt. Donny “The Bear Jew” Donowitz)
While better known for directing and cameoing in horror movies, Eli Roth was appointed by friend and collaborator Quentin Tarantino (who helped produced the Hostel movies) to star in Inglourious Basterds as Sgt. Donny Donowitz and direct Nation’s Pride - the film-within-a-film where its premiere is the setting of the explosive third act. The director has since branched out slightly beyond his typical gore fests to dabble in the action genre (his 2018 Death Wish remake with Bruce Willis), and even family films (The House with a Clock in its Walls) and documentaries (Fin - his upcoming investigation of shark deaths). Speaking of, his AMC docuseries History of Horror has been renewed for a third season you can expect in 2021, and his adaptation of the popular video game Borderlands is expected to hit theaters the following year.
Michael Fassbender (Lt. Archie Hicox)
Appearing as British Army officer and Basterds ally Lt. Archie Hicox for less than 20 minutes in Inglourious Basterds was enough to pave the way for Michael Fassbender to become one of the most acclaimed and busiest actors of his time. Soon after, he would be cast in the Marvel movies (not the MCU, however) as Magneto, earn two Oscar nominations (for the Brad Pitt-produced 12 Years a Slave, and the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs), tried his hand at video game movies with Assassin’s Creed, and joined the Alien movies franchise as two different android characters.
Fassbender will next star in Taika Waititi’s Next Goal Wins, appear in a feature-length sequel to the hit Kung Fury short, work with director David Fincher on The Killer, and rumors suggest Mel Gibson’s The Wild Bunch remake may be his latest western.
Daniel Brühl (Fredrick Zoller)
Playing Nazi turned film star Fredrick Zoller in Inglourious Basterds also proved to be a star-making turn for Daniel Brühl, whose biggest role in the American mainstream had been a small part in The Bourne Ultimatum in 2007. His next antagonistic role in a period piece was Formula One racer Niki Lauda (opposite Chris Hemsworth) in Rush before later playing a respectable 19th-Century psychiatrist on the TNT series The Alienist, for which he earned a Golden Globe nomination.
Brühl recently played Baron Zemo a second time in Disney+’s Falcon and the Winter Soldier cast, will star in a different sort of comic book flick with Matthew Vaughn’s Kingsman: The Secret Service prequel The King’s Man, and is re-enlisting into the German Army for the First World War with a new adaptation of All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque.
Til Schweiger (Sgt. Hugo Stiglitz)
While a fair share of American audiences might not have known Til Schweiger before Inglourious Basterds burned the name Hugo Stiglitz into their brains, he has been acting in English-language releases since the late 1990s, including 2003’s Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life opposite Angelina Jolie, and the raunchy Rob Schneider comedy Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo in 2005.
Despite his subsequent fame from films like 2011’s The Three Musketeers or Muppets Most Wanted in 2014 (both also starring Christoph Waltz), the German actor and filmmaker’s most recent American film appearance was in Atomic Blonde from 2018. However, he is still working steadily in front of and behind the camera and will soon appear alongside the likes of Ben Foster and Michael Caine in Medieval - a retelling of Jan Ziska’s defeat of the Teutonic Order and the Holy Roman Empire in the 14th Century.
B.J. Novak (Smithson "The Little Man" Utivich)
Also known for his work in front of and behind the camera is B.J. Novak, who was best known as a writer, director, and star of The Office cast before playing the unfortunately nicknamed Smithson Utivich in Inglourious Basterds. He would later follow-up his tenure as Ryan Howard by trying his hand at comic book movies (The Amazing Spider-Man 2), biopics directed by John Lee Hancock (Disney’s Saving Mister Banks in 2013 and 2016’s The Founder), and other TV shows like HBO’s The Newsroom or The Mindy Project, which his friend Mindy Kaling created and starred on.
Novak created an anthology series called The Premise (formerly known as Platform) that is premiering to FX in September 2021 and is working on his feature-length debut as a writer and director with the horror film Vengeance, which is currently set for a 2021 release as well.
Mike Myers (Gen. Ed Fenech)
Another Inglourious Basterds star who broke out on a popular comedy series is Saturday Night Live cast veteran Mike Myers, who became one of the most famous comedians in the world thanks to characters like Wayne from Wayne’s World as well as lending his voice to the Shrek movies as the titular Ogre. Thus, it was quite surprising for the almost completely unrecognizable Canadian to make a cameo in a Quentin Tarantino movie until going undercover become more of his thing, such when he hosted the Gong Show reboot as Tommy Maitland or appeared in Bohemian Rhapsody as a fictional record producer. Myers is currently working on Oscar-nominated Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell’s next film and developing a Netflix original comedy series reportedly called The Pentaverate, but whether or not we should expect Austin Powers 4 remains to be determined.
Few filmmakers know how to put a movie cast together as well as Quentin Tarantino. In terms of using each actor appropriately and to the best of their talents, and propelling a few members into extremely successful careers, the Inglourious Basterds cast just may be his masterpiece.
Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in just about any article related to Batman.
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