One of the movies that is hitting Hall H this year among the big superhero/monster stomping movies is the relatively smaller budgeted, but none less hyped, Quentin Tarantino slavery epic: Django Unchained.
Tarantino was joined at Comic-Con today by cast members Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington and Walton Goggins, who all took part in promoting the upcoming film.
One element the crowd were very keen on knowing about was the film’s controversial subject matter. I myself had some issues with the trailer, which seemed to be taking a very pastiche method of telling a tale about one of the most gruesome periods of American history. The cast and Tarantino were very aware of this and said that it will turn a few heads.
Tarantino’s way around it was exploring the film as entirely a work of genre, half jokingly saying it was a prequel of sorts to Shaft, but he also commented upon the melding of Spaghetti Western and the slave narrative (which is normally a narrative in novels):
Since spaghetti westerns have always been my favourite, I always thought it would be in the universe of spaghetti… The germ of the whole idea was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter. From that point on, it became a love story, but that initial idea was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter and hunts white men. Before the civil war. You can’t be more surrealistic than it was in real life.
It was [frick]ed. Up. It was bad and frankly it’s surrealistic – it’s unimaginable to think of the pain and the suffering that went on in this country. Hence making it perfect for a spaghetti western adaptation.
I didn’t do a movie about a slave. The character starts off as a slave. I was interested in a slave narrative. To me one of the fun things about telling the story was to take the western genre we know so well and place it in the antebellum south and place a black character in it. So take the western cliches and place them in the south.
What Tarantino is intimating here is, that like Kill Bill or indeed Jackie Brown, it becomes a narrative of revenge where someone in a weaker societal position becomes empowered. This was echoed in what Jamie Foxx had to say:
With Tarantino you expect a different ball game. The script alone was blazing through Hollywood before it even got going. You expect that from him, and actually when we started shooting it, it didn’t fall away but you watched Quentin putting together this fantastic film with fantastic people…
When you’re introduced to Django you see him on a chain gang being lead from Mississippi to Texas. When we start, he’s sixth from the seventh on the left in the chain gang. He needs to get to that point from nothing.
Tarantino also leaked a few details on the casting. Both Sacha Baron Cohen and Kurt Russell dropped out and Jonah Hill joined quite recently.
Well, contrary to popular belief, Hill will not be taking the role that Cohen vacated. That character was simply removed from the script (this has happened in the past on Tarantino films) and a new role was written, that of a pre-Ku Klux Klansman:
He’s in a sequence with Don [Johnson]. They’re not the KKK because that came about after the civil war to keep black folks in line, but the predecessors to the KKK was a group called The Regulators, who were there to keep slaves in line and terrorise them basically. It’s a regulator raid being led against Django and Schultz. It starts off like it’s going to be scary and intense, but then there’s this sequence that is the funniest thing I’ve ever written.
QT also had time to discuss the possibility of whether there would be a Kill Bill Vol. 3. The director still plans on making it, but it’s a long way off. He said it would have be a solid ten year gap, meaning the earliest we would have it or he would start working on would be 2014.
As for the 8 minutes of footage that was screened, it got a strong reaction from the crowd, elevating already high expectations for Django Unchained when it hits cinemas on Christmas Day. 2