'Basterds' actors on pins and needles

Quentin Tarantino cut it close for Cannes premiere

CANNES -- Everyone is on tenterhooks ahead of Wednesday's premiere of "Inglourious Basterds," not least the stars of Quentin Tarantino's Nazi-slaying epic.

The director's mad rush to finish the film in time for Cannes has meant that virtually no one, including "Basterds" headliners, has seen the movie.

"When I arrived in Cannes and saw the posters on the Carlton Hotel and I wasn't on them I thought, 'Oh no, they've cut me out,' " German star Daniel Bruhl, one of the film's leads, told The Hollywood Reporter. "I saw Quentin, and he said he hasn't cut a minute. But I won't know what's in or out until the premiere."

The version of "Basterds" that bows in Cannes, however, is unlikely to match the one that Universal and the Weinstein Co. roll out at a multiplex near you. Wednesday's screening clocks in at 2 hours and 40 minutes -- reassuringly long for cast members worried about ending up as cutting-room dross -- but a programming challenge for distributors.

So "Basterds" in Cannes could resemble a test screening, with a leaner, perhaps meaner cut going up in August.