The Panelists: Writer/director Quentin Tarantino and stars Jamie Foxx, Walton Goggins, Don Johnson, Christoph Waltz, and Kerry Washington.
Big Revelations: Remember when Jonah Hill was suddenly cast in Django about a month ago? Tarantino teased Hill’s scene, explaining that it involves a true-life proto-Ku Klax Klan gang called the Regulators, “a group of people who kept slaves in line, found them if they escaped, and terrorized them.” The scene features a Regulator raid against Foxx and Waltz’s bounty hunters. “It starts off like it’s going to be very scary,” explained Tarantino, “And then they have this sequence that’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever written. Right up there with handing out the color names in Reservoir Dogs.”
Moderator (and EW movie reporter) Anthony Breznican asked Tarantino if Django Unchained had any links to the greater Tarantino-verse established in his earlier movies. Regarding any possible links, Tarantino teased: “There is one, but I don’t want to say it. I want you to watch it and figure it out.” However, he did claim boldly that Foxx’s Django and his wife, played by Kerry Washington, are the ancestors of a very famous cinematic icon. Washington, you see, plays a slave owned by a German family, with the very German name “Broomhilda von Schaft. Tarantino explained, “Her and Django will eventually have a baby, and then that baby will have a baby, and that baby will have a baby, and one of these days, John Shaft will be born!”
Footage Screened: Tarantino showed off an extended eight-minute sizzle reel that followed the same outline as the theatrical trailer, but with several extended scenes and a couple of brand new sequences. The longest slice of new footage showed Waltz’s Dr. King Schultz teaching Foxx’s freed slave Django how to shoot like a badass gunfighter, using an unfortunate snowman as a target. We saw lots of snowswept landscapes that recalled Sergio Corbucci’s The Great Silence, lots of Jamie Foxx in a dandy blue outfit that seems destined to be next year’s Scorpion-Jacket-from-Drive go-to Halloween costume. More importantly, we got our first extended look at Don Johnson, playing a white-suited plantation owner who prefers to be known as “Big Daddy.” Tarantino explained excitedly that the reel only represented scenes from the first half of the movie.
Snap Judgment: The extra footage cemented Tarantino’s devotion to recreating “that Sergio Corbucci universe of spaghetti surrealism,” demonstrating a western style that looks simultaneously grand and grandly silly, with a camera that awkwardly zooms and whip-pans. It looks like the movie will ultimately depend on the chemistry between Waltz and Foxx, whose unique bond forms the center of the movie. (Tarantino, at one point, described Waltz as Foxx’s “Yoda.”)
Your Tri-Annual Update on Kill Bill 3: The long-rumored sequel to Kill Bill has become the new incarnation of The Vega Brothers — a movie Tarantino discusses occasionally but will probably never get around to making. When an audience member asked about the status of KB3, Tarantino straightforwardly answered, “I’m not sure if there’s gonna be a Kill Bill 3.” Then he continued, less straightforwardly: “I was always gonna wait ten years [after the first two movies], so we’ll see what happens.”
Tarantino’s Very Tarantinoesque Explanation for the origins of Django Unchained: “I was writing a book about [brilliant Italian spaghetti western director] Sergio Corbucci, when I came up with a way to tell the story. One of the things that’s fun when you write about subtextual criticism… in subtextual film criticism, you don’t have to be right. It doesn’t have to be wha the director was thinking. It’s what you’re gathering from it. You’re making a case. I was writing about how his movies have this evil Wild West, a horrible Wild West. It was surreal, it dealt a lot with fascism. So I’m writing this whole piece on this, and I’m thinking: “I don’t really know if Sergio was thinking while he was doing this. But I know I’m thinking it now. And I can do it!”
Winner of the Panel: If you’re somebody who’s been waiting all week for someone to constantly scream the name “Sergio Corbucci!” into a microphone in Hall H, then Tarantino predictably delivered a rollicking good time. But the biggest surprise of the panel was Johnson, who walked away with the line of the day: When someone asked him how he managed such a convincing southern accent, Johnson deadpanned, “I studied a lot of Foghorn Leghorn.”
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