In 2005, Dynamite Entertainment was founded with the intent of publishing adaptations of pre-existing properties into comic-book form. Under the label, they’ve printed an eclectic number of adaptations from Terminator to Dracula to Xena: Warrior Princess.
In honor of the company’s ten-year anniversary, CEO Nick Barrucci premiered their newest comic — the first ever sequel to a Quentin Tarantino film: Django Meets Zorro. Eisner Award winning writer Matt Wagner and filmmaker Quentin Tarantino himself were on hand to discuss how this collaboration came about, what the storyline of the sequel will be and what previously thought-dead character will return for the comic. In addition, Tarantino discussed his favorite scene(s) from his entire film oeuvre, the status of Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair and his idea for a science fiction film. Also gleaned from the panel, we previously reported on Tarantino’s announcement that The Hateful Eight will be his next picture. Hit the jump, for the panel highlights.
REGINALD HUDLIN (Editor of Django/Zorro): The person to thank is [Dynamite Comics CEO] Nick Barrucci. Nick and I have been friends for a long time. As Django was about to come out, Nick called me and said ‘Reggie I got an idea — Django meets Zorro’… So I said ‘Hold on… let me call Quentin. So me and Quentin are at dinner one night and I told him ‘Django meets Zorro’. What do you think?’
TARANTINO: I loved the idea. Not only do I like western comics in general but I also really love Zorro and all the different incarnations of Zorro whether it be the Disney show or all the different movies. The thing that I thought was such a great idea was the [thought] of taking the most famous fictional Mexican Western hero and putting him with one of the newer famous Black fictional western heroes. Put them together and just have them fight oppression.
HUDLIN: Quentin plunged into [the project] and he really loved Matt Wagner’s work on Zorro.
TARANTINO: I think if we were to literally take Matt’s books just as they are right now and make a TV show of it, it would make for the best Zorro television series ever made.
HUDLIN: Matt flew into Los Angeles and we all met at Quentin’s house and the brainstorming began. One of the great pleasures was watching these two fantastic minds both steeped in history and the obscure and the fantastic, weave their love of Django and Zorro together. I knew this was going to be one of the collaborations for the ages.
MATT WAGNER: That first meeting I was a little curious how this was going to work out. I’m a singular vision creator and so is Quentin. I didn’t know how we would mesh. He might be an asshole. I might be an asshole. But we met – and it was like we’ve known each other for years.
TARANTINO: One of the things that was interesting about it was – well first we’ll take care of Django when we get to it, but it needs to work as a Zorro book first. And Matt’s [previous work] are the bibles. So I’m looking to Matt as the Zorro expert. However I have seen a lot of the Zorro films and serials over the years. When I heard of the idea of Zorro meets Django, I started to re-watch many of them just to brainstorm. So I had ideas — maybe we could start here or attack the story from this way. Matt’s going to know what’s best for Zorro – but let me show you these ideas. Literally it was one foot in front of the other.
The thing with Django – I don’t know if I’ll ever do a movie sequel to it – but if I did it would have to be something connected to the first movie in an epic way. I always loved the idea of there being Django paperbacks that further the adventures. But when we went to talk to people about making them, I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t let some guy just do it. I’d read their synopsis and I’d think ‘No — you’re fucking up the mythology.’ So this was the perfect opportunity for me.
How do Zorro and Django fit into the same world?
WAGNER: They both fight oppression. They both face it differently but they’re both fighting the same things. Django’s approach to it is a little bit more personal. A little more deadly. Zorro doesn’t blow up people quite as often… After years and years of posing as the foppish Don Diego de la Vega, he’s kind of become him. That’s his reality. He’s a little fastidious. He’s a little old. He likes everything neat and tidy.
TARANTINO: He needs his teatime.
WAGNER: That provides a new terrific aspect to Zorro’s character, some great opportunity for comedy in the midst of drama.
TARANTINO: Don’t get us wrong — he still puts on his costume and kicks ass.
How many issues will the comics run?
WAGNER: It will be six issues.
What does Jamie Foxx think of the comic series?
TARANTINO: I just bumped into him a couple months ago and mentioned it to him. He thought it was a fantastic idea. He was like ‘Can we make a movie of this? Because I’m there. Let’s get Antonio [Banderas]. Let’s make a movie.’
Will Dr. Shultz make an appearance in the comics?
TARANTINO: I wouldn’t be too surprised if in flashback form Doctor Schultz makes an appearance in the comics. I wrote this one scene I really liked for the film but I don’t think I ever put it into the script because it was too long to begin with. But I always liked it. It shows Shultz modus operandi — how he talks up everything and finds a way out. I always liked the scene. So when I was talking to Matt I was like ‘Why don’t we take this whole scene just the way I wrote it and stick it into the flashback.’ He was like ‘Oh — that’s great.’
WAGNER: Another thing we can reveal is Django is not with Broomhilda [at the start of the comic]. He’s had to separate himself from her for her own safety.
TARANTINO: He basically dropped her off in Philadelphia. She’s working with the Abolitionists. She’s on the cocktail circuit, telling her stories to raise money for the underground railroad.
TARANTINO: I actually think the two best scenes I ever wrote are the Hans Landa & the French Farmer scene from Inglorious Basterds and the first script I wrote — True Romance — the whole Sicilian scene with Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper. It’s funny because I like all the stuff I’ve done after that but True Romance was my first script and I knew I could never top that scene. I’ve come close but I haven’t topped it. And when I wrote the scene in Inglorious Basterds, I thought ‘I think I’ve finally matched it.’ The thing is though — I ended up writing that scene and couldn’t figure out the rest of the story so I put the script away. I obviously knew I was going to finish that script at some point because that scene was too good not to make.
What’s the status on Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair?
TARANTINO: What’s going on with that is originally back when Kill Bill was going to be one movie, I wrote an even longer anime sequence. So you see in the movie [O-Ren] kill her boss but then there was that long hair guy… The big sequence was her fighting that guy. I.G. [The Japanese Anime Studio] who did Ghost in the Shell said we can’t do that and finish it in time for your thing. And [plus] you can’t have a thirty-minute piece in your movie. I said – ‘ok’. It was my favorite part but it was the part you could drop. So we dropped it and then later when I.G. heard we were talking about doing Kill Bill: The Whole Bloody Affair — they still had the script so without even being commissioned, they just did it and paid for it themselves. It’s really terrific. Anyway – The Weinstein Company and myself were talking about actually coming out with it sometime, not before the year is out, but within the next year with limited theatrical engagement as well.
TARANTINO: You know — it’s funny: if you had asked me that a few years ago I would’ve said ‘I don’t know. It’s not really my genre. I’m not sure. But you never know.’ Now I have an idea. It wouldn’t be something I’m doing in the next year or so but it’s a little flower right now. A little bean sprout. But those bean sprouts can turn into beanstalks. So this would be the first time I wouldn’t say ‘No – not really.’ This is the first time I would say ‘Yeah — maybe’. It wouldn’t be a space ship type thing — travelling through space, going to other planets. It would be more of an earth bound sci-fi thing. But sci-fi nonetheless.
Django Meets Zorro hits shelves this November