Quentin Tarantino’s rogues gallery is already a rather wretched hive of scum and villainy, replete with ear-slicing sociopaths like Mr. Blonde and silver-tongued monsters like Hans Landa, so Django Unchained’s own malefactor, Calvin Candie, should feel right at home.
Candie isn’t just the latest in a long line of Tarantino baddies, but also the first truly villainous role for Leonardo DiCaprio. And he’s no mere well-heeled heel: the director has said Candie is the only villain he’s written in his career that he truly despises, while DiCaprio too found the Southern cotton king, whose decadent lifestyle includes pitting his slaves against each other in fights to the death, to be a truly nasty specimen. “He was one of the most deplorable, indulgent, horrendous characters I’ve ever read in my life,” says DiCaprio. He’s also the dragon that needs slaying before Jamie Foxx’s gunslinging former slave can rescue his true love.