In the star-studded world of Hollywood, there are villains and then there is Christoph Waltz! Austria's best export to the flashy blaze of Hollywood, Los Angeles, it seems the real life baddies have been living vicariously through Waltz' brilliant on-screen dark avatars. He's dashing, handsome and when enduring the bout of tipsy anger on screen, he is loathsome. There isn't a movie yet where Christoph Waltz hasn't made an impact despite starring alongside actors with lengthier Hollywood resume'.
As the Austrian born star turns 60 today, we look at some qualities that make him the quintessential dapper badass on the big screen!
Cajoling the good guys into believing that he's there for them, intending to cause no harm, what has stood apart in most of Christoph Waltz' characters is the polished Viennese accent. He can be polite and cherubic albeit with a devilish charm and can conceal his cunningness behind polite throw-ins of well-worded niceties.
Whether you picture Quentin Tarantino's Jewish revenge epic Inglorious Basterds (2009) or Spectre (2015), it was the cunning and daring of Christoph that made his characters pack the extra punch, thus enabling movies to punch above their weight.
Critics mauled it and cloak-and-dagger lovers dissected James Bond's last outing in Spectre, by all measure of imagination, a Sam Mendes epic. But what even the critics refrained from touching was the hellish turnout of evil played with resplendent misery by Christoph Waltz as Franz Oberhauser. Truth is, Waltz was so big and epic as the antithesis to James Bond that he made the British superspy seem a diminutive figure in front of his maniacal evil.
Hollywood has unfurled all kinds of villains- those with a dreaded baritone and those with a penchant for doing the gory crimes in a slick manner. But with Christoph Waltz, the very body language and its hyper-energetic roll out churns a peculiar kind of evil- one that causes more inner torment than physical harm and what better example than Inglorious Basterds to prove the point.
As Colonel Hans Landa of Hitler's dreaded SS, there's a bit where Waltz is eating a creamy dessert in a quaint French bistro, seated alongside a hapless looking Jewish figure. Waltz eats the dessert with the comforting touch as if provoking you to try it. How good is he an actor to make audiences want to have what he is having?
If we were to pretend, only for a while that Heath Ledger was around still and he had picked his best villain in the last decade, barring The Dark Knight obviously, then it had to be Waltz in Spectre.
No one has dared yet in a Bond flick to take the Mickey out of James Bond himself. Appearing from the ghastly shadows in that huge ballroom in Rome, is Franz Oberhauser who surprises 007 stating, 'welcome James. Here we are. What took you so long?' and Daniel Craig is left utterly stunned.
You no longer need beefy men with ripping curls and cuddly biceps to unleash havoc over the good guys. You just need to be a walking terror quite like Christoph Waltz with manically disturbing eyes to cause furor. Reference to context being Spectre, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained.
He's a two time Oscar winner and remains utterly humble and down on earth. Waltz' greatest asset is his humility and ability to be witty whilst still putting himself as a 'learner' despite being around for a decade and a half in Hollywood. To this day, he respects and regards Quentin Tarantino for mentoring him and opening the big door to Hollywood glory.
For all this and more, take a bow Christoph Waltz.
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