Pitt falls in as leader of Tarantino's 'Bastards'

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Brad Pitt officially has gone inglorious.

The actor has joined the cast of Quentin Tarantino's "Inglorious Bastards," signing on to play Lt. Aldo Raine, the head of the Jewish resistance in the auteur's World War II film.

Additionally, Simon Pegg is in discussions to join the cast. David Krumholtz has an offer but might have a scheduling problem. Nastassja Kinski is meeting with Tarantino for the part of a German actress.

Pitt's character is a Southern rebel who leads a band of eight Jewish American soldiers as they exact vengeance on Nazis in German-occupied France.

Pegg would play a British lieutenant. Krumholtz's part would be that of a member of Pitt's team.

Producer Lawrence Bender said the alchemy of Pitt and Tarantino, who have never worked together as actor and director, will yield unique results. "They're going to push each other and really help make something special," he said.

Pitt's character is a voluble, freewheeling outlaw in the manner of Samuel L. Jackson's Jules Winnfield in "Pulp Fiction," prone to saying things like "we're gonna be doing one thing, and one thing only, and that's killing Nazis," according to those familiar with the script.

The signing of Pitt, who first saw the script in early July, means that the production has locked down a key role as it moves forward on an accelerated schedule.

The Weinstein Co./Universal co-production starts shooting Oct. 13 in Germany, with the plan to debut at the 2009 Festival de Cannes. "It's going to be a nine-month sprint marathon," Bender said.

Pitt has a relatively clear schedule for the fall, though he is set to start shooting the boxing drama "The Fighter" for Paramount late this year or early next year.

Bender, in Berlin scouting locations, said casting is under way for a German actor to play Hans Landa, the Nazi leader targeted by the resistance. B.J. Novak and Eli Roth are in talks to play soldiers in Pitt's rogue army, with the pair playing PFC Utivich and PFC Danowitz, respectively.

The Weinstein Co. and Universal are co-financing and co-presenting the film, with Bender producing and Erica Steinberg, Bob Weinstein and Harvey Weinstein exec producing.

Steven Zeitchik reported from New York; Borys Kit reported from Los Angeles.
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