Christoph Waltz Unchained
by Brad Balfour
When Vienna-born Christoph Waltz got the part of Nazi Colonel Hans Landa in Inglourious Basterds, few thought this Austrian actor – well known back home, but a question mark for film fans here – would so define a character and himself through this Quentin Tarantino film. Now with Django Unchained, Tarantino has done for Blacks what he did for Jews – make a film that turns a sad history on its head and offers its actors a chance to create career defining characters.
In Django Unchained, the 56-year-old Waltz plays King Schultz, a bounty hunter endowed with a fine turn of phrase and a quick gun… as well as a willingness to stand on the good side when it served him.
Set in the pre-Civil War Deep South and Old West, the film follows freed slave Django (Jamie Foxx) on a mission with Schultz, the man who liberated him, to rescue his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). This is hard, because they have to liberate her from a cruel, charismatic plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his right hand man, senior house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson). In the process, Django and Schultz take down a lot of slavers, their lackeys and racist supporters, crescendoing into the final showdown between slave and master.
Such good work by Waltz, among others in the cast, proves that lightning can strike twice. Waltz has again been rewarded with numerous nominations for Supporting Actor, including this year’s Oscar.
Culled from a roundtable and press conference, this Q&A is true to this actor’s words and retains his unique diction, while being fine tuned a bit for the better read.
This is your second time working with Quentin Tarantino having done Inglourious Basterds. Do you feel more relaxed on the set? Is it easier now?
I feel more relaxed, yes. Is it easier? Not particularly. It was a whole different set up. We were on his turf. Before we were on my turf, so to say. Everything was different. I was a little worried about repeating a great experience. Of course there’s always a tendency because it went so well and it felt so good that you want to get more, but that’s probably the first alarm bell that you should listen to. If the thing demands its own right and you should be flexible enough to realize that.
To read the rest of the interview, click here.