We also learned a little more about Quentin while answering a question about all the external memorabilia he owns and buys right before filming and how he uses external sources for inspiration, jesting that his office is filled with old-school blaxploitation posters and “viscera” from better years, slamming new-age posters for being “Vanity Fair photo shoots.” That same type of visceral “panache” is exactly what Quentin tries to recreate in his films, admitting he strives for a more “comic-book” visual that pops off the screen, be it settings or costumes. Jamie Foxx’s vibrant suit while playing Django, anyone? Christoph was sure to drop another intelligent bomb before the next question though, saying “external source is contradictory,” and that “the source is the script, and the script has a source, and I can point it out to you,” pointing directly at Mr. Tarantino.
We then returned to Leo and his deviant role as Calvin Candie, asking him how he sunk so deep into madness, and he brought up a great point. “[In reaction to DiCaprio bringing up if the film was going too far] Sam and Jamie told me ‘look man, if you sugarcoat this people are going to resent the hell out of you. You’ve got to push this guy to the utter extremes because not only is this all historically accurate but it went even further than that.'” DiCaprio of course is speaking to the fact that while Django Unchained is very pulpy and overboard in delivery, all the subject matter being dealt with is straight from American history and treatment of slaves. Most the cast admitted it could become uncomfortable at times, but there was truth behind it all, and this was no time to play safe. “Daring” was the only word DiCaprio could keep repeating about Tarantino’s work.
There is one part of Django Unchained that’s been taking many people by surprise, and that’s the lack of Tarantino’s typical fractured timeline. Django’s path is straight A to B, and that’s exactly how Quentin intended it this time. “This had to be Django’s journey from beginning to end. It had to be an odyssey, and it was an odyssey, as Django and Schultz traverse America to get to Broomhilda. At one point Harvey was talking about splitting it up [into two films]. And I said, ‘No, it won’t work here.’ You have to follow Django’s journey to the end. There are so many emotions – there’s the action adventure, the gallows humor comedy that runs through it, there’s the pain of the story, there’s the catharsis, there’s the suspense, and hopefully at the end there’s cheering, if the audience isn’t cheering then I haven’t done my job. That I got that cheer at the end was the biggest issue as far as editing was concerned As far of the pain of the story I could have gone further, I have that tolerance. I wanted to show more, to show how bad it was. But I also don’t want to traumatize the audience to the point that they aren’t where I need them to be in the last reel.”
And hey, since Django is a western story, all the actors had to work with horses, some better than others. “I worked very hard and succeeded gloriously in falling off a horse very quickly” Christoph Waltz told us, hampering his movement for a period of shooting, but he eventually did “get back on the horse.” Jamie had his own interesting experience, being a rider himself, but not a bareback rider. Quentin informed him he’d have to ride bareback for a few shots, showing Django raising a gun and gripping the horse’s mane, but it wasn’t all that easy. “On the outside I looked like Django, on the inside, I was Little Richard. ‘Oh lawd Jesus, please stop this horse,'” and that was only the first time. The second take saw Jamie hanging off the horse’s side, recalling the advice from his stunt man, hearing “if you feel like you’re about to come off the horse, just let go of the son of a bitch, just get off.” Jamie’s reaction in the moment, clinging for safety? “He’s a damn fool if he think’s I’m gettin’ off this horse.” Luckily, he could bounce back when it slowed on a turn. Hearing Quentin saying the footage that came from the fiasco turned out to be one of his “top three Django shots” has to help though, showing Jaime in his badass glory.
Django is gory, in your face filmmaking that address social issues of our past, yet is receiving phenomenal reviews so far. When asked why, Quentin objectively retorted “because I think it’s a good movie, and that’s not a smartass answer.” Samuel L. Jackson chimed in saying how Quentin makes films he wants to see, and he believes the director understands what many moviegoers want. Kerry Washington also brought up the love story behind it all, but Jackson was quick to retort with “Oh that’s some girly shit! Girly love shit.” But hell, that’s just what a good movie does, panders to every demographic, no? “But honey, it’s a love story!”
Oh, and just how popular is Mr. Tarantino around Hollywood? Sure, all the actors talked how intriguing and dangerously attractive QT’s story is, but just the fact that it was a Tarantino production was enough for some.”Obviously Mr. Tarantino here was a big factor,” Leo said. “I don’t care what it is, it’s Quentin Tarantino and all these people on this stage,” said another actor. But Jonah Hill’s reaction was probably the best, saying “I got in this business to work with great filmmakers, I don’t care if he wants me to be an extra in one of his films.” Yeah, I’d say that sums up Mr. Tarantino pretty well.
Be sure to catch Django Unchained when it opens December 25th, 2012!