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Quentin Tarantino discusses Django Unchained

Quentin Tarrantino

In Quentin Tarantino’s latest masterpiece, Django Unchained, with the help of his mentor (Christoph Waltz, a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) sets out to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio). Madness ensues along with wonderful dialogue in the deep south during slavery with amazing costumes and locations including a real plantation to set the mood. Of course the soundtrack could be considered another key element of the film, making for one of his best movies ever. I had the chance to sit down and talk to him about the film.
Why did you want to make this film and how long did it take?

I have always wanted to do a movie that deals with America’s horrific past with slavery as opposed to doing a straight HISTORICAL MOVIE WITH CAPITALS!” I thought it would be better if it was wrapped up in a genre, it seems to me more western. America has bent over backwards to avoid the subject. The world has addressed slavery but not really America.

So tell me how you covered such a vast subject that hasn’t really been fully addressed before, the way you depict it in your film?

Well, you think about slavery and all the stories, all the different narratives that could have existed during the time of slavery. There are a zillion stories out there that are exciting, heartbreaking and triumphant that could be told. We are living in a world where you are told there are no new stories, but there’s a whole bunch and they are all American stories. There is no end in sight. All those Notherners and bleedin’ heart liberals can say anything they want. Don’t mean nothin’ down here in the South.

How long have you wanted to get this made and what’s your writing process like?

For ten years I have been writing this movie. The actors say my dialogue so well. The way I write my dialogue, I always fancy it kind of like poetry and actors are the ones that say it. The words come out of my pen like when I wrote Samuel Jackson’s character for Kill Bill. I cannot shut it off. I have wanted to do this story for a long time. I just sat down and wrote the opening scene and it came out thru my pen.

Will you put out an extended version, adding in scenes that were cut out like Franco Nero’s for example?

I always write these huge scripts that go on for hours. They are not a blueprint for a movie, they are novels (he giggles) and if I were to do this over, I would do it as a novel and then as an adaptation of that after the fact. I might do an extended version and I won’t be surprised if I did! I am going to wait till it plays around the world. Let’s get the movie out there first and if ‘everyone gets it’ then of course I’ll put other footage in like France Nero. It’s going to change the story. That’s cool. But I want to stick to the story right now for awhile.

How do you think your actors would describe working with you on Django?

I think these actors can all tell you the same story of what happens when they walk in my office and they see all these 60’s Western posters up and the blaxploitation posters and all this viscera. This does not exist anymore on movie posters. Now ALL the movie posters look like spreads from Vanity Fair! Photo shoots for every goddamn movie. The idea of drawn posters does not happen anymore.

Nostaglia thru images like illustrations is a thing of the past it’s true.

Those were the posters that were really cool. That style of viscera, those spaghetti western soundtrack album covers from the 60’s. The posters from that time period are being drawn upon. I’m trying to get back to that. Those were the posters from the blaxplotation albums. When my stuff POPS off in the big way that it does, the imagery I’m trying to evoke thru the costumes we employ always has a comic book panache. That’s always what I am trying to get, these types of illustration and life in my flicks.

What’s the most interesting underlying historical moment that unfolds in the film the slaves depicted in your movie don’t know yet?

The actors in my movie don’t know slavery is about to end. They think it’s going to go on and on.

Django Unchained is written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, and stars Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson. It opens in theaters nationwide December 25, 2012.

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About Cynthia Parsons McDaniel

Cynthia Parsons McDaniel works as an artist in the mediums of video installation, collage and illustration and diorama. She recently attended the National Academy Museum School in New York City for Drawing and Visual Story Telling and Monotype Printmaking. She had her first collage piece in a group exhibition at the museum. She has written about design, film and theater for METROPOLIS, ELLE DECOR, IN STYLE, ELLE, DAILY NEWS, FASHION JOURNAL and NEWSWEEK. She has contributed to five books on design and film related subjects. She was nominated for an emmy while a producer at NBC. She was head of pr and marketing at Cannon Films, New Line Cinema and VP Grammercy Pictures, then special projects editor at IN STYLE and Features Editor New York Daily News. McDaniel then went back to working with actors on MAD MEN, WEEDS AND 30 ROCK and doing personal publicity and creating Tony, Emmy, Grammy and Academy Award Campaigns. She has produced events and handled press including European Film Awards in Berlin, Cannes Film Festival Party at Hotel Du Cap With WME, at Sundance Film Festival and Elton John's Oscar party, re-opening of the Hall of Mirrors and the Royal Opera House at Versailles and the Bob Hope Memorial Library Ellis Island. The short she co- produced was shown at both the Tribeca Film Festival and the London Film festival. She recently did props for Boardwalk Empire including window displays using antiques from Olde Good Things. She is a member of Pen + Brush and the Art Directors Club. She has most recently written a one act play about early broadway and created the props by hand using various antiques and paper techniques. She currently writes travel pieces and continues to profile actors and directors. She is currently working on her first solo exhibition.
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