Django Unchained: Final Preview

Posted by Grey Tuesday, December 25, 2012

It truly is a joyous day this Christmas with the release of  Django Unchained, the much-anticipated Spaghetti Western film by auteur film-maker Quentin Tarantino. The Daily Zombies takes a final look at the Old Wild West like no other.

In our Final Preview for Les Misérables, Academy Award-winning director Tom Hooper's motion picture adaptation of the world-renowned musical based on Victor Hugo's 1862 novel of the same name, we mentioned how the respective releases of two films on Christmas Day threaten to change the landscape of conventional family-friendly box office during the joyous season. 

With Django Unchained, we have quite possibly the best Christmas present any self-respecting movie buffs can ask for in a cinematic Christmas release. While you might have more than a handful of reasons to be interested in the film, all it takes is one for the feverish anticipation behind the film: Quentin Tarantino. 

For those unfamiliar with the Spaghetti Western genre, the namesake "Django" is perhaps synonymous with the film genre, as a result of the influence of Sergio Corbucci's 1966 Italian film, Django. A continuation of Tarantino's controversial revisionist take on major historical events starting with his exhilarating World War II epic, Inglourious Basterds (Incidentally The Daily Zombies's choice for the Top Film of 2009), Django Unchained is set in the Antebellum Era and follows the adventures of the eponymous character played by Jamie Foxx in a homage to the Spaghetti Western films. A freed slave teaming up with bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (played by the impeccable Christoph Waltz) on a quest to rescue his wife, Broomhilda Von Shaft (played by Kerry Washington), Django has to take on an intriguing collection of vile enemies from Calvin Candie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), a sadistic yet charismatic plantation owner that held Broomhilda captive, Stephen (played by Samuel L. Jackson), Candie's racist head slave, Billy Crash (played by Walton Goggins), Spencer 'Big Daddy' Bennett (played by Don Johnson), among numerous others.

With the controversial subject of race and slavery, the film has garnered criticisms that are notably not against the violence scenes from the film. In an interview with Vibe magazine, film-maker Spike Lee has stated that he would not be watching film, explaining that "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors. That's just me...I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody else." Lee also later tweeted that "American Slavery Was Not A Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. It Was A Holocaust. My Ancestors Are Slaves. Stolen From Africa. I Will Honor Them."

Nevertheless, with Jamie Foxx settling flawlessly into the role of Django, it is interesting to note that Tarantino has met with six different individuals ranging from top box office draw to the lesser-known actors prior to finalizing Foxx in the role. In an interview with Playboy (via Entertainment Weekly), Tarantino elaborated on meeting Will SMith for the role, the casting process for Django, and commented on how the much-coveted role of Calvin Candie isn't written for Leonardo DiCaprio from the start:

“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.” 

“I met six different actors and had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all of their work. 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.'"

“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.” 

All controversy aside, any film releases by Quentin Tarantino is a cinematic event by itself, and Django Unchained is shaping up to be worthy of the hype it has be garnering thus far. For those fans of Tarantino's revisionist historical films, it appear that the alternate history trilogy is set to be continued with Killer Crow, a film that brings to mind the World War II film Red Tails. Set in the same timeline of Inglourious Basterds, Killer Crow follows the tale of a group of black soldiers who went AWOL after the Invasion of Normandy on a quest to kill every white people. 

Check out what Tarantino has to say on the project in a recent interview conducted with The Root (via Empire):

“My original idea for Inglourious Basterds way back when was that this [would be] a huge story that included the [smaller] story that you saw in the film, but also followed a bunch of black troops, and they had been f–ked over by the American military and kind of go apes–t. They basically — the way Lt. Aldo Raines (Brad Pitt) and the Basterds are having an “Apache resistance” — [the] black troops go on an Apache warpath and kill a bunch of white soldiers and white officers on a military base and are just making a warpath to Switzerland. 

So that was always going to be part of it. And I was going to do it as a miniseries, and that was going to be one of the big storylines. When I decided to try to turn it into a movie, that was a section I had to take out to help tame my material. I have most of that written. It’s ready to go; I just have to write the second half of it…That would be the third of the trilogy. It would be [connected to] Inglourious Basterds, too, because Inglourious Basterds are in it, but it is about the soldiers. It would be called Killer Crow or something like that.” 

And now, hit the jump to check out the trailers, featurettes, posters, and official set images from the film.


The International Trailer, incidentally the best yet.

The third trailer.

The second trailer.

The first International trailer.

The first trailer.

TV Spot

BET TV spot.

60-second TV spot.


Cast Commentary clip.

The posters released thus far.

The Character Poster set.


Wallpapers from the film's official page.

Official set images released thus far.

Here’s the official synopsis for the film:

Set in the South two years before the Civil War, “Django Unchained” stars Academy Award®-winner Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive.

Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men choose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago.

Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Academy Award®-nominee Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of “Candyland,” an infamous plantation where slaves are groomed by trainer Ace Woody (Kurt Russell) to battle each other for sport. Exploring the compound under false pretenses, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Academy Award®-nominee Samuel L. Jackson), Candie’s trusted house slave. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organization closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they must choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival…

Written and directed by Academy Award®-winner Quentin Tarantino, DJANGO UNCHAINED is produced by Stacey Sher, Pilar Savone and Reginald Hudlin. The executive producers are Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Michael Shamberg, Shannon McIntosh, and James Skotchdopole. DJANGO UNCHAINED will be released in the U.S. on December 25, 2012, and internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International.


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