By Ruben V. Nepales
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:28:00 12/04/2009
Filed Under: Cinema
LOS ANGELES—Eli Roth, who plays “The Bear Jew” in Quentin Tarantino’s “Inglourious Basterds,” was scheduled to attend and represent the film in the Cinemanila International Film Festival last October, but canceled when storm Ondoy hit the country.
“Tease the hell out of Eli,” a grinning Tarantino told us at the DVD release party of “Inglourious Basterds” last Tuesday evening at the Holmby Hills house of Lawrence Bender, who produced virtually all of the filmmaker’s movies, from “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” to “Inglourious…” Eli was somewhere in Lawrence’s backyard, which was jammed with popular faces.
Quentin, a great raconteur who tells stories as good as he shows them on film, added, “I asked Eli, ‘Are you scared of a little rain?’” We know that the director braved “a little rain” in Manila in 2007, when flooded streets forced him and his companion, Cinemanila founding festival director, Tikoy Aguiluz, to take a pedicab to Malacañang. He made it in time to change from his wet sandals to formal shoes before he accepted a Cinemanila Lifetime Achievement Award from President Macapagal-Arroyo.
We asked Quentin if we’ll get to hear in the “Inglourious” DVD a line with the words, “Tagalog” and “Filipino,” that was in his original script (but wasn’t in the film’s theatrical version). The director, who was holding court among several guests, including our friends, Fil-Am Alan del Rosario (an “Oscars Designer Challenge” finalist) and actor Josh Winot, said no, because he did away with that line during the filming. Our Italian colleague got curious about the Tagalog mention and asked Quentin to elaborate. With a smile, he gamely obliged and proceeded to explain that the line would have been spoken by Nazi Colonel Landa (Christoph Waltz, in a performance that makes him the leading Best Supporting Actor contender in the current awards season) as he interrogated the captured Lieutenant Aldo (Brad Pitt), a Nazi hunter.
Quentin has already elaborated on that line in our previous interview, but we enjoyed listening to him again, because he told the story with the same enthusiasm. What we also find fascinating was that he remembered the exact dialogue and recited it, after setting up the scene in which Lieutenant Aldo, an American, gave himself away when he tried to pass himself off as an Italian:
“Colonel Landa: Italian? Really? What could you have possibly been thinking?
Lieutenant Aldo: Well, I speak a little Italian…
Colonel Landa: I speak a little Tagalog, but I wouldn’t begin to presume I could pass for Filipino.”
Quentin’s audience at the party especially enjoyed the story because of the way he relished narrating it. Told that moviegoers shouldn’t have to wait for a long time again before they get to see another Tarantino film, he said that he was going to do a new film soon, before he shoots “Kill Bill, Vol. 3.”
Aside from Quentin, easily among the most popular in the crowd of notables was Sacha Baron Cohen, who came with his fiancée, Isla Fisher. We all laughed when Sacha bumped into our male colleague, who was the lucky recipient of a lap dance by the actor, in character as the flamboyant Austrian fashion journalist, Bruno, during an interview. As himself at the bash, wearing a cap over his curly hair, Sacha engaged in amusing banter with our friend, who’ll probably remember and chuckle over the lap dance for the rest of his life.
Sacha revealed to us that when he filmed those naughty “Bruno” scenes with Fil-Am actor, Clifford Bañagale, who plays Diesel, his lover, there was a little “accident”: Sacha inadvertently inserted something somewhere, but Clifford, a trouper even though he was experiencing discomfort, finished the scenes.
The “Borat” actor warmed up to the idea of a film tapping one of his funny guises, Ali G, a British wannabe gangsta rapper. He said Olive, his daughter with Isla, the “Confessions of a Shopaholic” star who has a busy career of her own, is now 2. Isla said she has just finished filming “Rango,” her movie with Johnny Depp.
Later, we saw Sacha and Judd Apatow chatting. The two have worked together in “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.” Judd will reportedly produce a Sherlock Holmes spoof, with Sacha as the famous detective and Will Ferrell as Watson.
We came face to face with Quentin’s Colonel Landa, Christoph himself, who is simply brilliant in “Inglourious.” Pointing at his beard, he said he grew the facial hair to play the villain in “The Green Hornet.” Christoph is fluent in “three and a half languages” (his words)—German, French, English and some Italian—which, coupled with his acting talent, made him perfect for Colonel Landa. Quentin was reportedly ready to shelve “Inglourious” because they couldn’t find the right actor to play the Nazi officer—until Christoph came to audition.
The tented yard was teeming with directors: Ridley Scott got us excited about his “Robin Hood,” with Russell Crowe in the title role and Cate Blanchett as Maid Marian. Ron Howard said he was taking a break during the holidays. Michael Bay disclosed that it’s all systems go for the filming of “Transformers 3” next year, with Shia LaBeouf and, yes, the controversial Megan Fox, who uttered some headline-grabbing quotes about the director when “Transformers 2” was released.
Speaking of directors, Josh Brolin happily reported to us that he made it possible for Woody Allen and the Coen brothers, Ethan and Joel, to finally meet, sit down and converse. The Coens, taciturn at interviews, were talkative in their meeting with Woody, according to Josh. “They’re talkative in real life,” Josh said of the siblings who directed him to acclaim in “No Country for Old Men.”
Josh finished filming Woody’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.” We shared a laugh recounting how Woody, who likes to shoot in overcast weather, had to resort to fake rain in, of all places, London. “That was surreal, wasn’t it?” Josh described the day we visited the set in Notting Hill as he shot a scene with Freida Pinto (“Slumdog Millionaire”). It was a beautiful sunny day, but Woody wanted a rainy look, so a crane dropped lots of fake raindrops outside a restaurant where Josh and Freida did a scene.
Josh’s wife, Diane Lane, reported that she’s filming “Secretariat.” Also at the party was Elliott Gould, the ex-husband of Josh’s stepmom, Barbra Streisand.
Another Diane—Kruger—said that she plays an illegal immigrant from Serbia in “Unknown White Male,” so she’s busy learning how to speak with a Serbian accent. Liam Neeson and January Jones (“Mad Men”) are her costars.
Another classic beauty, Jacqueline Bisset, reminisced about “The Deep,” her horror-thriller film set in Bermuda waters. She talked about how, after filming that movie, she stayed away from the water for a long time.
Heart and soul
Other guests included Chanel-clad Melanie Laurent, who is the heart and soul of “Inglourious”—she was excited about recently buying a house in France; Sharon Stone; the legendary music producer
and composer, Quincy Jones, conversing with Fil-Am actress and producer, Cassandra Gava; Richard Chamberlain; Vincent Price; Jonah Hill and Don Rickles.
When we finally bumped into Eli, who’s also a director, we ribbed him about backing out of the Cinemanila film fest. He said he hoped the Philippines is coping after Ondoy.