In Quentin Tarantino’s latest WWII rampage, Inglourious Basterds, Eli Roth kicks some major Nazi ass alongside Brad Pitt. Here, the Splat Pack sergeant and Hostel director exercises killer taste by revealing the soundtrack to his Third Reich smackdown.
In my big scene, I beat a Nazi soldier to death. I wanted the audience to feel the pain and anger of every Jew that was killed in the Holocaust. I had to look like an animal filled with pure rage and violence. So, we’re out at this 200-year-old fort in the middle of the woods in Berlin, and I’m in this disgusting, dirty room in the back. A pull-up bar is set up for me, along with a makeshift punching bag and a bench so that I can do triceps dips and lift weights. I’m back there, in this cave, for four days, waiting to come out. By the time Quentin is ready to shoot my scene, I’m sweating, heaving and ready to kill.
“Paper Planes,” by M.I.A. Jesse Novak, the brother of B.J. Novak, one of the actors in Inglourious Basterds, plays the guitar on this song. We’d blare it during van rides to the fort, while B.J. screamed, “That’s my brother, that’s my brother!” For whatever reason, this became the song of the shoot, with everybody bouncing along to it, thinking about killing people.
AC/DC’s “It’s a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock ’n’ Roll).” It’s all about the climb and working your ass off to get to the top. And there I am, in this cave, thinking, I’m 36 and I’ve worked so hard to get here and this is my moment. Iron Maiden’s “Drifter.” Pretty much every Maiden song is about going into battle. But this one, in particular, is about killing.
“Bullet,” by Misfits. This song is so intense. It’s about JFK getting shot and brains splattering. I’m psychotic at this point, worked into a lather to pound this guy. Keep in mind—Quentin made me wait for four days in this state.
Hannah Montana’s “Nobody’s Perfect.” Before I left home to shoot this movie, my girlfriend loaded songs onto my iPod. She put Hannah Montana on there as a joke. I’m bouncing around to it—it’s got a good beat—when I think, What if Brad Pitt comes back here and catches me listening to Hannah Montana? It’s near the beginning of shooting and I want him to think that I’m cool and I’m worried that he’d tell Quentin, and Quentin would be like, “You’re supposed to be killing guys and you’re listening to Hannah Montana—what’s wrong with you?” And then Brad would be like, “Jesus Christ, my kids don’t even listen to that crap!” I’d be ruined! Then I realize, Jesus, this stuff makes so much money—what if I was Hannah Montana? But this is fucking nuts! I’m supposed to be thinking about the Holocaust and killing Nazis, and instead, I’m imagining what it would be like to be a secret pop star. This is when Quentin comes in screaming, “Now!” And I come out and crush that guy: killing. And killing. And killing.
“Deny Everything,” by Circle Jerks. The scene is over and Quentin says, “Okay, good—we’re going to do it once more.” But where the hell am I going to find that energy again? That’s when I put on the Circle Jerks. This song is like the musical equivalent of that scene in Pulp Fiction, when Uma gets an adrenaline shot to the heart.
Crazy Frog’s “We Like To Party.” Now we’ve got to film the other guys who have been cheering me on, while I’m beating this guy to death. So I put on this song by DJ Crazy Frog—it’s always played between innings at Dodgers games. Anyway, I put it on for the cheering scene, and instead of killing the guy off-camera, which is what I’m supposed to be doing, I start having sex with a dummy. I was wondering how I was going to entertain everyone when it came to me: What if I played DJ Crazy Frog while balls-out skull-fucking a Nazi corpse?
“Everything She Wants,” by Wham! Quentin always plays music over the loudspeakers between takes and, at the end of one very long Friday, after filming in a theater with 300 extras dressed like Nazis, the sound guy puts on Wham! Everyone starts dancing. Then I start stripping. I do a full striptease—the full monty—in front of an audience of 300 Nazis.
The Who’s “The Seeker.” I’m now driving back to Berlin, in a van with all of the guys, after a full day spent killing Nazis. It’s the right beat at the right time—really relaxing.
“Grey Clouds,” by Franz Liszt. Right before bed, I put on the Eyes Wide Shut soundtrack. Even though I’m not sophisticated enough for classical music, there is something really dark and ominous about that song, like a storm is coming. It puts me in a creepy mood so, even though the day ended on this light, relaxing note, I fall asleep thinking that something very bad is going to happen.
ELI’S FAVORITE RESTAURANT: MOZZA, LOS ANGELES.
Eli Roth, behind the wheel of his own Gunmetal Blue ’77 Bronco, Los Angeles Photography by Patrick Fraser, Styling by Jenny Ricker T-Shirt by John Varvatos, Jacket by Hugo Boss, Watch Vintage Steve McQueen Rolex Grooming by Cheri Keating @ The Wall Group.