It was strange being in New York this weekend doing back to back to back junkets and talking about fictional bloodbaths and violence while everyone at the event was also trying to absorb the real-life news about Newtown and the elementary school shootings. And I’ll be clear… it wasn’t uncomfortable because I think there is a correlation between violence in art and violence in real life. I don’t. It was uncomfortable because we were all processing something real, and that makes it hard to be invested in the pretend.
I’ve chatted with Christoph Waltz a few times now, and I think he’s a really sharp, well-spoken performer who doesn’t really like digging too deep into his own process or going over projects other than the one that he’s currently discussing. I think he had a long professional career before “Inglourious Basterds,” and he got used to doing things a certain way, and just because more people are paying attention to the work on an international scale, that doesn’t mean Waltz has any obligation to change the way he works.
What I find interesting about him is how human he is in interviews. While he is undeniably bright and articulate, he does not seem rehearsed or guarded. Indeed, tree was a pointed reminder of that during our conversation, when I asked him about the way Dr. King Schultz (his character in “Django Unchained”) uses words as weapons. He started to talk about the “real” violence in the film, and then stopped. Without making a big show of it, he made it clear that he wasn’t comfortable pursuing the thought all the way to the point he was about to make. He didn’t feel right about it. He stopped, then went back to the words. It was one of rare moments in an interview where you see past all the defenses most actors have when promoting things, and I appreciated the way he handled it.
I cannot say enough good things about “Django Unchained,” and I can’t wait until you all get a chance to see it so we can start discussing it in more depth.
“Django Unchained” arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.