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Eli Roth barely survives acting in Quentin Tarantino's 'Inglourious Basterds'

The 'Hostel' writer-director costars in his friend's WWII action picture.

August 16, 2009|Chris Lee

He invited his parents to Berlin to take part in filming a scene in which 300 extras dressed in full Nazi regalia attend a screening of "Nation's Pride." Never mind that many of his relatives were killed in the Holocaust -- or that his mother and father had previously sworn never to set foot in Germany. Upon landing in Berlin, Roth's parents visited the Holocaust Museum and changed their stance on modern Germany. On set later in the day, they displayed a willingness to enter into the film's historical-revisionist fantasy, posing for photos with the actor who portrays Hitler in "Basterds."

With its shocker ending and high Nazi body count, "Inglourious Basterds" certainly helped Roth live out the stuff of so many Hebrew-school revenge fantasies. And with Tarantino's encouragement, Roth plans to earmark acting parts for himself in any future films he makes.

"Quentin really pushed me [as an actor]. He said, 'Now you can write parts for yourself because you went toe to toe with the best. You acted with Brad Pitt and for me and you held the screen. You could have another career if you want,' " Roth said with characteristic self-satisfaction, adding that "Inglourious Basterds" remains one of his personal and professional high points.

"I almost died shooting it. But it's one of the most satisfying, orgasmic things I've done in my life," he said. "It's kosher porn."

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chris.lee@latimes.com

Times staff writer Rachel Abramowitz contributed to this report

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