Quentin Tarantino’s filmography is absolutely lousy with interesting, witty characters who get to deliver the kind of dialogue that nerds will quote at each other for decades to come. That’s why so many actors want to work with him. But, although he presumably loves all of his characters very much and is proud of all of them—except for maybe Budd from Kill Bill: Vol. 2, that guy was a disappointment to everyone—Tarantino does have a favorite: Colonel Hans Landa, the terrifyingly chipper SS officer from his 2009 film Inglourious Basterds.
Speaking at the Jerusalem Film Festival, Tarantino said, “Landa is the best character I’ve ever written and maybe the best I ever will write. I didn’t realize [at first] that he was a linguistic genius. He’s probably one of the only Nazis in history who could speak perfect Yiddish.” (Esquire adds that, when he was first casting the part, Tarantino required any potential Landas to be fluent in German, French, and English, until he realized, “I might have written an unplayable part.”)
Of course, Christoph Waltz won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as Landa, the first time an actor actually won an Academy Award for his performance in a Tarantino movie. (John Travolta and Robert Forster were both nominated, but didn’t win.) So that might color Tarantino’s perception of the character a little bit. Landa also seemed to have a certain appreciation of an elegantly shaped female foot, but that’s probably just a funny coincidence.
At the same festival, Tarantino also backed up earlier statements saying he would retire after making his tenth film. (He’s of the opinion that directors tend to get worse, rather than better, with age.) Although he could still change his mind: “I am planning to stop at 10, but at 75 I might decide I have another story to do,” Tarantino said. So, basically, there might be an 11th Quentin Tarantino movie after all. But don’t blame him if it sucks.