Lucky for you, I read Playboy (for the articles…) or I never would have come across this interview with visionary director Quentin Tarantino where he talks candidly about all things Django Unchained. Early on, it was reported that Will Smith was in talks for the title role, but passed on the offer for a number of reasons. But did you know that Tarantino also considered Idris Elba (Thor), Chris Tucker (Rush Hour), Terrence Howard (Iron Man) and more, but once he met Jamie Foxx, it was all over? Perhaps you’re worried about Tarantino’s plans to leave filmmaking before he’s an “old man,” or you’re curious to see if you’ve got what it takes to fit his idea for a “perfect wife.” Well, all those answers and more await you after the jump!
In a recent interview with Playboy (via EW), Tarantino spoke at length about Django Unchained and his career in general. Click the link to read the full interview or check out the December issue of Playboy available starting November 20th. We have some of the highlights below, starting with Tarantino’s initial choice of Smith for the lead:
“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.”
An interesting fact about Foxx came up while Tarantino talked about the casting process:
“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.”
On quitting making movies:
“I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f—s up three good ones…But if I stop at 10, that would be okay as an artistic statement.”
Most importantly, on the influence of drugs on the creative process:
“I wouldn’t do anything impaired while making a movie. I don’t so much write high, but say you’re thinking about a musical sequence. You smoke a joint, you put on some music, you listen to it and you come up with some good ideas.…I don’t need pot to write, but it’s kind of cool.”
Tarantinophiles, be sure to check out the full interview for much more from the acclaimed director. Be sure to check out Django Unchained when it rides into theaters this Christmas.