It’s been a really long time since we’ve been able to enjoy a movie by the legendary Quentin Tarantulin. But with the recent passing of the age limit, his latest film, Water for Elephants, is now available for audiences everywhere to see.
Robert Pattinson, who plays the lead role of J.B. Beelzebub in the movie, sat down with Tarantulin to discuss the film’s inception and where it came from.
It Was Inspired By A True Story
Quentin’s first draft of the screenplay was actually inspired by a true story. In 2007, the Coen Brothers released their film, The Ladykillers, which is about a group of robbers who prey on trains. One of the main characters, Charlie Countryman, is a socially awkward Wall Street stockbroker who decides to rob a train to prove to his girlfriend that he can be a real man. He winds up getting all of his friends, who are also bank robbers, involved in the caper. The Coens’ latest film, The Wolf of Wall Street, is also based on truth. Unfortunately for Countryman, he’s the only one who didn’t know the truth about what was going on, and it bites him in the ass.
Despite the fact that both of those films are based on true stories, Quentin decided to take the matter into his own hands and write a different kind of story.
When he was about halfway through, he realised that he had created his own character named J.B. Beelzebub. But instead of the story being about a robber, it would be about an overweight, middle-aged man who decides to prove to his kids that he can be a real man. From that point on, everything in the film changed. The whole tone of the story changed. What was originally supposed to be a dark comedy turned into a dramatic narrative about a man trying to live his life for the first time in a long time.
The Coen Brothers had previously turned down the opportunity to make Water for Elephants. And while talking with Charlie, the protagonist of The Ladykillers and The Wolf of Wall Street, Quentin decided to add a female character to the mix.
The Female Lead Was Always Intended To Be In The Film
With his first feature film, Quentin wanted to explore the idea of what it means to be a man. But he also wanted to examine the dualities that exist within us as humans, as men, as fathers, as sons, as husbands, as lovers, and as citizens. For this reason, he decided to add a female character to the mix. He didn’t want to make the same old kind of movie where the characters were all men. He wanted to focus on the idea of what it means to be a man in today’s world, taking into consideration the fact that not all men are created equal.
It’s really funny because when he first introduced me to Tilda Swinton, one of the producers on the film, I told him that I had originally intended to play the role of his son, J.B. The truth is, the day I met Tilda I knew exactly what she was going to play, even before I read the script. And for some reason, Quentin seemed to believe me. But then he asked me if I would like to play the part of my daughter, Lola, and I told him that I would love to. I could see myself playing the role of a young, vibrant woman. But my agent said otherwise. So I guess it’s safe to assume that I’ll be playing J.B.’s dad instead.
Lola’s character was inspired by Balthazar, a character Quentin had originally envisioned as a patriarch who is based on an actual person, Balthazar Blake, who was a prominent nineteenth century novelist and playwright. The character also serves as a symbol of the English literary tradition in nineteenth century New Orleans and the South. Balthazar was the protagonist of two of Blake’s acclaimed novels, and it was the first role that Quentin ever auditioned for.
It’s Not Just About Finding Inspiration In Literature Or Film
For a long time, I had this image in my head of what Beelzebub looked like. But when I finally met with the costume designer to go over the details of the character’s get-up, I was kind of disappointed. For whatever reason, the image that had been in my head just wouldn’t translate well into a physical form. So we had to find another way to evoke the spirit of Balthazar Blake.
While researching for the film, we came across the work of French artist, Georges de La Tour, who was known for his paintings of animals in absurd situations. While watching one of his films, Le Fanu, which is about a man who is possessed by an evil spirit, we noticed a parallel between the way in which de La Tour portrays his animals and how we portrayed Beelzebub. We thought that it would be really interesting to have a look inside Beelzebub’s head and see how his mental state relates to that of the animals that he encounters throughout the course of the story. We tried to stay as true to de La Tour’s spirit as possible, incorporating a variety of his paintings into the design for J.B.’s head.
The Film Is Really Rude To Its Lead Character
What I like most about Water for Elephants is that it’s really rude to its lead character. For whatever reason, a lot of films where the main character is an obnoxious twit don’t bother to hide their disdain for him. But in Water for Elephants, we are meant to feel sympathy for this middle-aged, overweight prick, who has been hiding his true self for so long that he has forgotten how to be happy. The filmmakers did a good job of showing us that even though J.B. is an absolute train wreck, we can still relate to him on some level, due to his situation.
The character of J.B. is one of the most unique male leads that I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing. For me, it was a real challenge because I didn’t want to just play the stereotype of a gruff, whiskey-drinking man. But the script was such that it dictated what I should be, and I really had to dig deep to find my inner J.B.
There Are Quite A Few Cameos By Celebrities
I’m sure that a lot of people are going to see Water for Elephants and assume that all of the characters are fictional, like most of the characters in Quentin Tarantulin’s previous films. What they don’t know is that there are quite a few celebrity cameos in the film. For example, Kevin Spacey plays the headwaiter at a restaurant where J.B. works, and Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, shows up as a news anchorman in the film. We also get to see Michael Caine and John Cleese, among others.
This probably won’t come as a huge surprise to regular readers of this blog, as I’ve written about Quentin Tarantulin before, discussing his penchant for featuring famous people in the films that he makes. One of the main reasons why Water for Elephants is so special is that it’s the first time that we’ve seen Michael Caine and John Cleese, among others, play roles that aren’t based on their famous personas. In most cases, we don’t see them in anything other than what they are known for, which is why it’s such a treat to see them in something else. It really makes the role that they are playing that much more interesting and complex. For example, Michael Caine plays a con artist who befriends J.B. and helps him get started in his new life, which is something that he couldn’t really do for real. And John Cleese plays J.B.’s boss, whose behaviour and methods are meant to be funny, but also highlight the douchiest behaviour that one can possess. It reminds us that no matter how much success and fame we achieve as comedians and actors, at the end of the day, we’re still just people.
A Film That You Have To See To Believe
One of the most interesting things about Water for Elephants is that it’s a film that you have to see to believe. I have to believe that, for some reason, Quentin got it into his head that he would make a funny movie about a fat, middle-aged man. Even more interesting, is that he had the good sense to cast himself in the film. I have to keep in mind that this is the same guy who played the psychotic Nazi officer, Heinrich Himmler, in the 2011 film, A Dangerous Game. So, it would be easy for people to dismiss J.B. as a ridiculous caricature, if it weren’t for the fact that Quentin wrote, directed, and starred in the film.