Quentin Tarantino's Playboy Profile Spills Intriguing 'Django' Details
"Gentlemen, you had my curiousity. But now, you have my attention." The crazy cool filmmaking madman behind it all, Quentin Tarantino, is currently finishing up his seventh feature film, the spaghetti western Django Unchained starring Jamie Foxx, due in theaters on Christmas Day. As we near that December release date, promotion has started kicking up, and Tarantino's latest appearance is in an upcoming issue of Playboy magazine. Oddly, of all places, it's EW.com that has already published a number of his interesting quotes from the piece, talking mostly about early casting for Django and his ongoing career as a filmmaker.
While we know that Oscar winning actor Jamie Foxx eventually landed the coveted role of "the D is silent" Django, once played by Franco Nero, there were quite a few other contenders. Will Smith, infamously, was one but Tarantino says it wasn't much. "We spent quite a few hours together over a weekend when he was in New York doing Men in Black III. …I think half the process was an excuse for us to hang out and spend time with one another. ...It just wasn't 100 percent right, and we didn't have time to try to make it that way." So instead, who else did he first line-up for the Django role, potentially aiming to pit them against each other?
“I met six different actors and had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all of their work,” Tarantino tells Playboy (in the issue that will be on stands Nov. 20). "Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, M.K. Williams [from HBO's Boardwalk Empire], Tyrese. They all appreciated the material, and I was going to put them through the paces, make them go off against one another and kind of put up an obstacle course. And then I met Jamie and realized I didn't need to do that." So what was it about Foxx that led Tarantino to cast him? "He was the cowboy… Forget the fact that he has his own horse — and that is actually his horse in the movie. He's from Texas; he understands. …He understood what it's like to be thought of as an 'other.'"
Now wouldn't that have been something - Chris Tucker starring in Tarantino's spaghetti western freed-slave revenge flick Django Unchained. Sounds like it would've been a Mel Brooks movie. But, Foxx got the role, and Tarantino next filled other key roles. Like slave-owner villain Calvin Candie, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who wasn't his first choice. "I don't want to say who, simply because when I finished the script, I realized they were a little older than I wanted the character to be. That's a problem I have. I'll be thinking about somebody and not take into account that I'm thinking of them from 20 years ago." DiCaprio is 38.
There are quite a few additional quotes from Tarantino about topics like living in Paris for a year, getting high while writing or working on movies, and even his thoughts on the Aurora shooter. But one other quote I felt worth mentioning here was that of his actual career, both in terms of current excitement and where it might end. "I want there to be anticipation. I was actually quite proud when I read that Django is one of the most anticipated movies coming out this year. It's a black Western. Where's the anticipation coming from? I guess a lot of it is me. That's pretty f—ing awesome." Indeed. How many more films will he make?
“I just don't want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don't get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f—s up three good ones... When directors get out-of-date, it's not pretty. I'm on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something. You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice. I've made seven. If I have a change of heart, if I come up with a new story, I could come back. But if I stop at 10, that would be okay as an artistic statement.”
Starting with Reservoir Dogs in 1992, including Kill Bill as two separate movies, his Grindhouse "Death Proof" segment, and now Django Unchained in 2012, this would be his 8th movie to date. If he ends at 10 that would mean he's got 2 more coming up after this year. Quite a diverse and acclaimed career so far, but I'm always looking forward to the next Tarantino movie, even if it is more of his same style but with a brilliant narrative twist, like Django Unchained. I'm looking forward to reading the full profile on Tarantino in Playboy when it hits, but these were rather interesting details to read about in the meantime. Django Unchained hits theaters on Christmas, so expect to hear plenty more from Tarantino over the next month.