Waltz was virtually unknown to American audiences when Tarantino gambled by casting him as a sadistic Nazi "Jew hunter" in the bloody World War II fantasy Inglourious Basterds (2009). But the actor's penetrating turn, which found him shifting seamlessly between English, German, French and Italian dialogue -- and often stealing the show from co-star Brad Pitt -- proved so mesmerizing that, in retrospect, it seems tailor-made for his talents.
The performance garnered Waltz an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA win and a Best Actor award at Cannes, setting him up for higher-profile projects such as the superhero-inspired comedy The Green Hornet, in which he plays a Mafia mastermind.
Fully readapted to London society after his long sojourn in the jungle, Lord Greystoke returns to Africa as a trade emissary. But little does he know that he's being used to advance the schemes of villainous Capt. Leon Rom.