Quentin Tarantino, unchained
Hours before he went on stage to collect the Oscars for the best original screenplay, Sunday MiD DAY cornered the multi-talented Quentin Tarantino for a quick interview. And while he did not want to (understandably) answer any questions about the Academy Awards, he spoke freely on his experience of shooting Django Unchained. Excerpts:
How was the experience of shooting Django Unchained?
We shot mostly in New Orleans which is a great place to shoot. It was just fun to be there. You can’t beat the locations there. We shot in real plantations for Don Johnson and Leonardo DiCaprio’s characters. You could point the camera in any direction to get a great shot.
Your love for genre films, and especially Westerns, is evident in this movie.
I have been evoking Westerns in quite a few of my films including Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglorious Bastards in particular. I remember how my script supervisor Martin Kitrosser, (who has worked on every movie I have ever made), said when we did the opening sequence of Inglorious Bastards: “Quentin, this is your first Western!”
Kerry Washington plays Django’s wife Broomhilda — whom he is trying to rescue from the clutches of a ruthless plantation owner — in the movie…
Kerry Washington is absolutely wonderful in the film. She is a beautiful actress and working with her is a dream come true. What’s funny is that while I was writing the character I already had the name of Broomhilda, and then during that time period Christoph (Waltz) invited me to a wonderful staging of Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Los Angeles. But, as I missed the first one, he took me out to dinner and explained the plot to me so I would know what I was stepping into. And as he was describing the story I started realising the parallels between Django and Siegfried’s adventures with Broomhilda! So, I didn’t go to see the third one because I didn’t want to know how it ended; but it seemed to have influenced me somehow by osmosis…
And what can you say of the importance of the supporting cast in this film?
In a lot of my movies supporting characters will come in and become stars for that time they are on. They kind of take it over for a moment. I am as happy with this ensemble as with any I have ever come up with. And, because of the genre and the film, they are just really out there!
What does the name Django evoke for you?
It’s the ultimate Spaghetti Western hero character name. I immediately go to the Franco Nero’s Django, but I also loved a lot of the rip-offs.
And Nero is in this movie!
Yes, and initially his character didn’t really seem like much on the page; but then we built it up, and he is terrific in it. There is a really great moment in which the two Djangos meet each other! A little improvising has gone on during the shoot, but not much.
Have you ever considered becoming a novelist?
Maybe I’ll do that when I’m 60 and just be a ‘man of letters’.
Do you enjoy shooting the action sequences?
I love shooting action scenes. It’s always the most invigorating part about a shoot for me. Just piecing them together is fun.
What is the music of Django Unchained like?
There is a lot of Spaghetti Western sound. And, as usual, I have used stuff from my record collection.