Samuel L. Jackson and Anne Hathaway have a “Sad Off” about which film is sadder: Django Unchained or Les Miserables.
“Well, it’s just ridiculous,” the director said, referring to the provocative headline. “I can’t really take it seriously. Again, consider the source, the Drudge Report. They’re going to say anything that’s going to offend me, bother me. They are who they are.”
When approaching the sensitive topic of slavery and invoking such a racially charged word as often as he does, Tarantino had one major factor on his side of the argument: history. “I think it’s kind of ridiculous, because no one can actually say with a straight face that we use the word more than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi. So since they can’t say that, what they’re basically [saying] is I should lie,” he argued. “I should pretty it up. I should lie, and I don’t lie when it comes to my characters and the stories I tell.”
As if Django Unchained wasn’t courting enough controversy, Quentin Tarantino recently compared the modern-day drug war to slavery on Canadian show George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight.
George Stroumboulopoulos: So you know this film is gonna deal with the conversation about race in America today, people will talk about it. What do you feel about where it’s at?
Quentin Tarantino: Uh… It’s… You know, there is… On a day-to-day, day-in, day-out basis for most people in America, it’s okay. Things have gotten a lot better. People are a little too sensitive to talk about stuff, and that’s a drag, but you know that’s, that’s how it is.
But on a bigger level, it’s very depressing. This whole thing of the, this “war on drugs,” and the mass incarcerations that have happened pretty much for the last 40 years has just decimated the black male population.
It’s slavery, it is just, it’s just slavery through and through, and it’s just the same fear of the black male that existed back in the 1800s. And uh, you know there’s a reason – I mean, especially having even directed a movie about slavery, and you know the scenes that we have in the slave town, the slave auction town, where they’re moving back and forth. Well that looks like standing in the top tier of a prison system and watching the things go down.
And between the private prisons and the public prisons, the way prisoners are traded back and forth. And literally all the reasons that they have for keeping this going are all the same reasons they had for keeping slavery going after the whole world had pretty much decided that it was immoral.
GS: Right. Business first.
QT: Because it’s like, because it’s an industry. And one, what are we gonna do with all these people that are let loose, you know, these black people let loose, and two, what are we gonna do about all of the people that make money off of this industry?
The Hollywood Reporter published a great article about Django Unchained’s production. Among the facts included about the film was that the total production budget was $83 million after tax credits, and that the film was officially completed on November 28th (less than month ago!). Oh, and I found this part interesting:
Yet the ordeal helped him find his narrative, and oddly, many bad breaks improved the film. When Waltz couldn’t ride horses for two and a half months [due to an injury], production designer J. Michael Riva created a dentist’s wagon with a giant wobbling molar on top for him to ride in on to meet Django. “It changes the character and provides some interesting non-corny levity at the beginning of the movie, right when you need it,” says Tarantino.
Yes, that memorable wagon from the trailer wasn’t originally supposed to be in the film.
The Hollywood Reporters also posted an insightful article about sound production in Django Unchained:
If the gunshots and whipcracks in Django Unchained sound strange, it’s because director Quentin Tarantino ordered his team to make everything about the film feel “analog and spirited.”
“Analog means he wants it to have a vintage feel, and spirited means he wants a hyper-real perspective in places, like Charley One-Eye, Once Upon a Time in the West or For a Few Dollars More,” says supervising sound editor Wylie Stateman. “Those films really inspired Django.”
So instead of using audio library sounds, Stateman says, “We have redefined what a whipcrack sounds like, and the sound of the gunshot.”
Make sure you listen for this when you see the film!
Entertainment Weekly published an in-depth interview with Samuel L. Jackson. Here’s what he had to say about his character, Stephen:
EW: Stephen is a thoroughly contemptible villain, and — to me — even worse than DiCaprio’s Candie because of the hypocrisy of his character. Do you feel that way?
SLJ: Calvin is a reflection of Stephen. Stephen raised him. So Calvin is a total reflection of who he is. I like to think of him as the Dick Cheney of Candie Land. He’s the power behind the throne. Calvin is not the brightest candle in the room.
Speaking of Samuel L. Jackson, he also had a recent interview with Vanity Fair.
The New York Times published an excellent interview with Quentin Tarantino. Definitely worth reading and highly recommended.
I was happy to see Walton Goggins get an interview about Django Unchained. Sadly, it contains a lot of spoilers.
Jamie Foxx recently gave an interview with Vanity Fair. It has spoilers, so I don’t recommend reading this until after you’ve seen the film. Something new I learned from this interview was that Jamie Foxx’s family was on the Django Unchained set.
VF: Because of the importance of the role, was it also important to talk to your family before signing on?
JF: Well, my family came to the set. My daughters came to the set; my sister worked on the set. My sister is from South Dallas, dark skin, little bundle of love, but she’s very sensitive as a black woman, so she was like, “It has to land right.” So we all took this journey together. The first time she saw me up on the horse, she was like, “I didn’t know there’d be horses!” Because when you read the script, you don’t think that these people would be on horses, so she watched the movie and I watched her watch the movie and she enjoyed it.
Finally, a huge thank you to all of my readers who have emailed me links over the past few days. I’m sorry that I wasn’t able to post them all, but I’m still trying to catch up after being away for a few days. Thank you all for your support. It gives me motivation to keep this blog going!