I can track the beginning and the end of my Christoph Waltz fascination, down not only to the exact day but the time too. This is definitely one of the good autistic traits (though applied to bad memories it can obviously work in a negative way too), I can remember everything about that day, the day I saw Django Unchained. It was a Saturday and a snow day. Unusual for the fact that I don’t like going to the cinema on Saturdays because there’s too many people there. Someone was meant to be joining us but couldn’t because of the weather. My normal reaction to a change like that would be to refuse to go out at all, rather than tolerate one change I would rather the whole thing not happen. But that’s not what happened. I can remember being late to leave because I was making pictures of Sebastian who was my favourite German at the time. I remember being late and having to alter my plans, seeing Monsters Inc 3D first and Django later at 16:00. Another change dealt with and with a minimum of fuss. This Saturday also started the beginning of my book day tradition, the third Saturday in January, the cinema and books. That year I bought The Killing II, All That I Am and HHhH (it’s German for Himmlers Hirn heißt Heydrich).
Django Unchained marked only the second time in my entire life that I had gone to see a film in a crowded theatre (the first was Ratatouille). And it was awesome. For once I wasn’t worried about feeling uncomfortable, it was actually kind of fun, seeing what the audience laughed at and what they didn’t, I never paid any attention to that before.
The day after seeing Django I watched Inglourious Basterds for the first time (which I had gotten just before Christmas but hadn’t watched) and regrettably The Three Musketeers. With the former, I fell in love with CW as the sadistic Nazi Hans Landa. I think the first twenty minutes or so is the best opening of any film ever. I guess the question is, why? His charming and precise Austrian accented English, his whole manner of being, the way he reveled in being so delightfully evil. I can’t really remember much now, about why. Looking back it seems kind of baffling to me. I know why I liked the two films, Django and Inglourious and why I liked Landa and Schultz, but CW in general, I’m not really sure.
I think the main reason is that his speech and manner of speaking is perfectly suited to Quentin Tarantino’s dialogue. Or as I put it once, Christoph Waltz is to the word Jew in Inglourious Basterds what Samuel L. Jackson is to the n-word in Pulp Fiction.
The time of CW really began with the day I saw Django Unchained at the cinema twice. In my defence, the first time I saw it I was alone and it was either that or Movie 43 (know I now that’s the kind of film that you’d be better off sitting in darkness staring at the wall for two hours, really dodged a bullet with that one) and the second time I saw it was with a friend. All in all I saw Django at the cinema fourteen times (the wonders of having an unlimited card) and I also saw Epic which was released later in the year seven times.
I beat the Django record however with Rush, becuase they brought it back twice, once for take two Thursdays and again in January of this year for the Bafta tour, with that I brought my final total for Rush to seventeen. I also broke the rule I devised, that you can only see a CW film twice in one day at the cinema and I did it on CW’s birthday on the 4th October, I saw Rush twice. That was when his time came to end.
Back then I would write pages of arguments to refute the assertion that he always played the same character, that August in Water for Elephants was basically just another version of Landa and now I’m not so sure that I can do that. The more I watched and studied his films, the more I could see Landa everywhere. That was the beginning of the end. I think it may have been also because I ran out of stuff to buy. There was more I could have got, but it was in German with no English subtitles, at the time I spoke and understood no German. It’s ironic, he was one of the main reasons I wanted to learn German (Sebastian Koch was another) and now that I know some German and can watch TV and films in German and be able to follow what is going on, I no longer care about doing so. Funnily enough him and Sebastian were in a German TV production together, I think it was called “Dance with the Devil: The Kidnapping of Richard Oetker” – something close to that anyway.
I amassed a huge amount of collectibles: signed photos, magazines, clippings, posters and press-books. I also spent a ludicrous amount of money buying an action figure of Hans Landa from Australia. And followed that up by spending a slightly less ludicrous amount getting one of Dr King Schultz. Two other big purchases were the banners, both of them about six feet tall I think, of Landa and Schultz. To think, just the money spent on all those, that would have been enough for at least a week in Germany. Mind boggling, to paraphrase Sheldon “obsessions be crazy.”
A random but related thought, the person who found my TK obsession baffling because he was too normal, not as strange as my usual choices, they didn’t find my CW obsession odd. If they did, they didn’t say so. What does that say about me? A normal, more conventionally handsome kind of guy equals strange. A kind of quirky Austrian who specialises in weirdly alluring psychopaths, not strange. That will be an interesting conversation. At the same time I’ll be sure to find out where Jogi Löw comes in on this strangeness scale of theirs.
I suppose since I posted my favourite pictures of Daniel in Rush, it would only be fair to post what were my favourites of CW as well:
CW in Inspector Rex
CW in Inspector Rex
SS Colonel Hans Landa – Inglourious Basterds
Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained
Dr King Schultz – Django Unchained