Django Unchained: Unconventional Western

DJANGO UNCHAINED, written/directed by Quentin Tarantino and starring Jamie Foxx & Leonardo DiCaprio, is being released by The Weinstein Company on December 25th.

Although DJANGO UNCHAINED takes place in the Antebellum South, Tarantino found that Django’s story might best be represented as a Western. “I’ve always wanted to do a Western. I like all kinds of Westerns, but since Spaghetti Westerns have always been my favorite, I thought that the day I do one, it would be in that Sergio Corbucci universe,” Tarantino says.

For Tarantino, Westerns represented grand, masterful depictions of good and evil. He found that the genre’s scope and structure were fitting for this particular story of one man’s struggle to infiltrate a notorious plantation in order to rescue his wife. “It can’t be more nightmarish than it was in real life. It can’t be more surrealistic than it was in real life. It can’t be more outrageous than it was in real life,” Tarantino explains. “It’s unimaginable to think of the pain and the suffering that went on in this country, making it perfect for a Spaghetti Western interpretation. The reality fits into the biggest canvas that you could think of for this story.”

Producer Reginald Hudlin agrees that the genre was an unconventional but appropriate fit. “The shifting moral tone, the dark corners, the moral complexity of both A FISTFUL OF DOLLARS and the Corbucci films was a huge influence on Quentin’s storytelling. Quentin’s intense study of the genre led to the inspired idea of mashing up the slave narrative with the Spaghetti Western which creates a movie we have never seen before.”

The name “Django” is familiar to fans of Spaghetti Westerns: Franco Nero first portrayed the character in 1966 in DJANGO. Nero joined the production to make a cameo appearance in DJANGO UNCHAINED. “For us in Austria, ‘Django’ was a household name. Not necessarily Franco Nero, but ‘Django.’” Waltz says. “Every Spaghetti Western that came out, even the obscurest ones, in the German version had ‘Django’ in their titles, even though there was no Django in the plot or in the story. They just put ‘Django’ in because Django really was the distilled key word, so to say, to name the genre. If it had ‘Django’ in it, you knew it was a Spaghetti Western.”

“I like evoking the Django title for what it means to Spaghetti Westerns and that mythology,” Tarantino says. “At the same time, there’s a 40-film series of nonrelated DJANGO rip-off sequels that are their own spot of Spaghetti Western history. I’m proud to say that we are a new edition to the unrelated DJANGO rip-off sequels.”

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