In a recent conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, Diane reflected on the 10th anniversary of Quentin Tarantino’s sixth film, Inglourious Basterds, her memories from set and securing the coveted role.
It’s the 10th anniversary of Inglourious Basterds, and Universal marked the occasion with the release of a 10th Anniversary Blu-ray. As far as your downtime on set, what moments come to mind?
On Inglourious, I was always studying. Quentin was one of those directors who’s really precise about his writing. He would break a scene if you forgot or changed a word. I just remember always studying my lines in between setups. There’s kind of a melody — a very specific rhythm to his writing. I was always on; I don’t remember having downtime. I was never in my trailer just having a cup of coffee and waiting for them to be ready. I feel like I was always alert because he really demands that. He loves actors, and he loves his writing and characters so much that you never want to let him down.
What was the vibe like on set?
It’s not relaxed. (Laughs.) When he’s happy with a take or scene, it feels euphoric at times. He’s like a kid in a candy store. He gets so excited. I can only speak for myself, but I always felt tension. He sits right next to camera; he’s not removed in video village. So, he watches you like a hawk. He’s like a spectator. So, I always felt like I had to give 110 percent all the time. I would be really exhausted at night because you really felt like you worked your butt off.
You’ve said before that he didn’t want to audition you at first. How did you get into the audition room, ultimately?
Truly, I got into that room because he couldn’t find anyone. The actor that he had in mind didn’t work out. He auditioned every single actress in Germany that he thought was right for the part before he agreed to see me. That’s really how I got the job. (Laughs.)
Tarantino is known for providing his actors with a ton of backstory on their characters. Did he also provide you with plenty of information on Bridget von Hammersmark?
In his head, he had an entire movie that could have just been my character. How I got to be Bridget von Hammersmark…where I was from…how I became a movie star on that film…why she decided to become a spy. All these things that, as an actor, you usually make up for yourself, he just laid them out to me. He told me my story. I just thought that was so great, and I could feel how much he loved that character. He didn’t write a single line without thinking where Bridget came from. It just felt like a complete character — whether you see that on film or not. There was never a doubt in my performance or in my mind of where he was coming from and where my actions as Bridget were coming from.