Actor Daniel Brühl has been working in the business since the mid-1990s and has encountered many different directing styles, but he admits Quentin Tarantino tops them all.
When Business Insider recently spoke to Brühl about the experience of playing a top-flight maître d’ in the new movie “Burnt” (opening in theatres Friday), the actor applauded the work of the film’s director John Wells, who had to navigate extremely dramatic scenes between leads Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller around a kitchen that really had hot stoves cooking food.
But it sounds like it still didn’t compare to working with Tarantino on the 2009 film “Inglourious Basterds.”
“He’s not just a purist but he’s very peculiar in his methods,” Brühl said. “But the thing is, they are all great ideas.”
Brühl, who played Nazi solider Fredrick Zoller, will never forget these “peculiar methods,” which included Tarantino never looking at a monitor while the scene was being shot, and the banning of any phones on set.
“There was like a security check on set where you had to hand off your phone,” he said.
But it didn’t stop there.
Brühl said that between takes, loud music was played on the set, and no one was allowed to go to sleep.
A typical day on a movie set, depending on the size of the film, can take up to 12 hours. There’s usually a lot of downtime as the crew sets up a shot or a director and the key crew discuss a scene.
This leads to a lot of naps. But apparently Tarantino forbids it, and has an interesting way of enforcing it.
“There’s a wall of shame of people that are caught sleeping,” Brühl explained. Photos are pegged to a wall on the set of people found sleeping. “And these are very special pictures because the pictures are taken with a giant purple dildo in front of the sleeping face. So I made sure I didn’t fall asleep on set.”
Brühl said this wasn’t done to create intimidation, but to bring everyone together. “These sound strange but they made sense because that’s how he creates the energy that’s on set.”
A favourite ritual among the cast and crew happened every Thursday before shooting. Tarantino would project one of the original prints from his personal collection of movies that inspired “Inglourious Basterds.”
“I would cut my arm off to work with him again,” Brühl said. “It was one of the most outstanding experiences of my professional life.”
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