I saw a Hollywood round-table with Will Smith and he said he turned down the role of Django because he and Quentin Tarantino had a different vision. He wanted it to be a love story over a revenge story. To be honest, I think the love story comes across pretty clear.
Django is a free man who is married to a slave. They were sold separately out of vindictiveness. His whole purpose in life is to find her, rescue her, and to be with her once again.
Christoph Waltz plays Dr. King Schultz, a German bounty hunter who befriends Django and ends up supporting his mission. I loved Dr. Schultz and Waltz very much earned his Best Supporting Actor award.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays “Monsieur” Calvin J. Candie, a wealthy slave-owner who fights his strongest slaves to the death in a brutal wrestling sport called “Mandingo.” Django’s wife, Broomhilda, is owned by Candie. He and Dr. Schultz infiltrate Candyland, but of course, things go very wrong.
Candie, while a despicable character, seems like a fun role for an actor and DiCaprio takes the part by the reins and owns it.
This is very much a Tarantino film. There are brief, but memorable small roles for actors like Don Johnson and Tom Wopat. Samuel L. Jackson plays the top “house slave” who has Stockholm Syndrome so bad that he helps his master mistreat other slaves and turns them in for various minor mistakes like breaking eggs.
I always enjoy Tarantino films, but they aren’t usually movies I would re-watch over and over, usually because of the violence. I can’t picture anyone but Jamie Foxx as Django. Overall, I’m glad I finally watched Django Unchained.
Django Unchained, released in late 2012, was stylized as a tribute to spaghetti westerns.
Here is the round-table where Will Smith mentions Django:
“Five Months of Oscars” is a new series I am starting because I wanted to finally watch all those Oscar movies I have never seen (which is almost all of them! shame on me).