When I visited the set for “The Green Hornet,” Christoph Waltz was already definitely in the race for the Oscar he eventually won for Best Supporting Actor, and talking to him about his decision to follow that film up with a superhero movie, he seemed like he was still sussing out the whole Hollywood game.
Sitting down with him last weekend, with that Oscar now residing at his house permanently and with a few more films under his belt, Waltz has obviously relaxed into his place in the system now. He had a shorter press day than the rest of the cast because he had to make a flight out to Europe, where he was set to start rehearsals for Roman Polanski’s film version of “God Of Carnage.”
Waltz is interesting because he’s had a full career already before anyone in Hollywood ever saw him in “Inglorious Basterds,” so I get the distinct feeling that while he’s enjoying this new part of his career, he’s also self-aware enough to know that it is a wonderful, happy accident that it happened. He seems to be enjoying himself enormously, and my favorite part of the conversation we had was the visible enthusiasm he shows when I mention Polanski.
Chudnofsky, the character he plays in the film, is a bad guy at a moment of crisis, upset that no one finds him threatening. He begins to explore new names, new ways of handling people, determined to make people afraid of him. When you talk to Michel Gondry or Seth Rogen or Evan Goldberg about the way the villain developed, it sounds like they really dodged a bullet on this one. Nic Cage had some big crazy ideas (can you imagine him with a Jamaican accent?), and moved on when it became apparent that Gondry and Rogen had something else in mind.
Christoph Waltz is one of the great new faces in international film, and it was a pleasure to chat with him. “The Green Hornet” opens everywhere today.