Samm Levine Interview - Starring with Brad Pitt in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Inglorious Basterds’

Samm Levine co-stars in Inglorious Basterds opening this Friday, August 21 in theaters everywhere.  Playing one of the “basterds” opposite Oscar nominee Brad Pitt and written and directed by Oscar-winner Quentin Tarantino.

Meeting Samm Levine is a lot like stumbling upon lightning in a bottle just as it gets unleashed.  That is, if that bottle (or maybe the lightning) was funny and entertaining to a self-effacing degree.  We meet for a snack at Santa Monica’s Sonny McLean’s Irish Pub where regardless of the heat Levine is cucumber cool.

One might say he’s animated.  And that’s true and more.  Literally, as he’s been a cartoon, a small screen hero, and a silver screen magnet.  Let’s face it, he’s done just about everything. And he can keep you laughing as he tells you all the stories.  Yup, he’s even a comedian.  But not just that, he’s the youngest member of the New York Friar’s Club.

Being a Basterd

But when Quentin comes calling, you come-a running.  “It wasn’t so much intimidating as it was exciting.  You don’t want to mess this up.  You don’t want to be the weakest link and end up on the editing room floor.  Everyone's working hard and we want it to be the best it can”, Levine says with a huge grin.  

Samm Levine plays PFC Gerold Hirschberg.  During World War II a group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" are chosen specifically to spread fear throughout the Third Reich by scalping and brutally killing Nazis. The Basterds soon cross paths with a French-Jewish teenage girl who runs a movie theater in Paris which is targeted by the soldiers.

So, let’s see: big-budget, high profile film and you’re on location for months together. “Don’t get me wrong, we had fun.  But it was intense.  Every moment of it.  I can tell you right now, there’s a reason Quentin gets amazing performances out of actors.  He brings you to places you didn’t know you had.”

Levine mentions one scene.  I won’t spoil it, but his character must intimidate another.  “The scene was evolving, but we needed more.  Quentin whispered to my co-star, then he came over and whispered to me.  He challenges you in a way that demands you rise up.  When he called action, I looked in [co-star’s] eyes, we were there.  Quentin got the scene.”

Inglourious Basterds is a talkative war film that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival (co-star Christoph Waltz won Best Actor) and of course Levine was there.  “It was a great time.  By the end of filming we were like brothers and so it was a reunion.  The fact that is was well-received made it all the sweeter.”

On his co-stars, “ Brad [ Pitt]’s the coolest guy.  Calm, casual, he handles the ridiculous fame well and he’s enjoying life.  Everyone gave great performances.  Christoph Walz, Michael Fassbender, Daniel Bruhl, Eli Roth (better known as director of Cabin Fever and Hostel, he is later revealed to be ‘Ernie Tarantino’).  It’s hard to mention any one person without the other.  It was such a team effort and we all supported each other.”

The Natural

Levine’s origin story has been told before but it’s too much fun not to take it for a spin one more time for latecomers to the party.  Being a young Jewish man, he attended many Bar Mitzvahs and often found a down moment between the ceremony and reception.  That’s when he’d grab the mike and deliver a few minutes of laughs.  A consistent crowd-pleaser, he’d get the room howling and hold them until food was served.  One ceremony, as he finished his set, a woman walked over.  Lisa Kudrow during the first season of Friends.  “She was really nice.  She just said she enjoyed the show and was really encouraging.  I absolutely appreciated it.”


A guy like Samm Levine deserves every good note he hits.  Come out and support his film Inglourious Basterds playing at a theater new you August 21.

Find Samm Levine on Facebook, or follow him on Twitter.

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