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Saturday is famously the biggest day of the San Diego Comic Con. While the rest of the week is packed with stuff that makes the fans go nuts, this is the day when the movie studios pull out the big guns and the biggest blockbusters go up on display. Later today we’ll have all of the newest updates and footage descriptions from movies like Iron Man 3, Man of Steel, The Hobbit and Pacific Rim, but even this morning we are starting things off with a bang. How are they doing that? By giving us a big heaping dose of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
I have just arrived in the absolutely packed convention center and I am now just waiting for the panel to begin. We still don’t know who exactly will be on hand to answer questions and show off footage, but if you refresh this page and follow our live blog below I will guide you through every minute. And come back later to read full descriptions of all the Django Unchained we get to see!
11:30: Hall H is absolutely packed to the gills. The line has to get in is the longest I've ever seen in three years of being at Comic Con, but can you really blame them for being excited? Panel should start up any minute!
11:38: We’re about to get underway! It’s Django Unchained time!
11:39: Moderator says that he has read the script and sees it as a twisted, bloody fairy tale with a great story of revenge and a fast-beating heart.
11:43: Jamie Foxx! Walton Goggins! Don Johnson! Christoph Waltz! Kerry Washington! Quentin Tarantino! All on stage!
11:44: Quentin says that this idea has been with him for 13 years. He’s always wanted to do a western, particularly a spaghetti western with the violence and the surrealism. The initial germ of the idea was a slave who becomes a bounty hunter who goes after white men. It then became a love story, and the rest fell into place.
11:45: The director says that the movie can’t be as fucked up as pre-Civil War America really was. It allowed him to show the historical accuracy while putting it on a large scale.
11:46: Jamie Foxx says that we expect Tarantino to blow the doors off. He tells a story about another actor he calls Mr. No, a guy who always says no to scripts, who really wanted to be a part of the project. I wonder who it was…
11:47: The star says it was a real journey to get into this character. Tarantino was actually worried Foxx wouldn’t be able to get his mindset into the one of a slave. How do you go from celebrity to slave? You have to let it all go so that you can get to the work.
11:48: Tarantino says that we first meet Django when he is on a chain gang with a bunch of other slaves. Django is sixth in the line of seven slaves. He becomes a hero, but he has to start as sixth out of seventh on the left.
11:50: Foxx says that he was talking with Tarantino about his challenging time growing up in Texas being called the N-word. By having that past, he says he helped him get a better idea of the character. At some points you create parallels to your life and the character’s.
11:52: So what about Christoph Waltz? Tarantino calls Dr. King Schultz (Waltz’s character) Django’s Yoda. Waltz says Schultz needs Django to get the story going, but won’t give away details because he wants us to see the movie. It’s a different story than someone rescuing a slave. “It’s a unique and fabulous relationship.”
11:53: Waltz comments on how Italian directors took the western and made it their own, and now an American filmmaker is taking it back and putting his own new spin on it.
11:54: Django and King are a team. Is he a father figure or a teacher? Waltz doesn’t know. Waltz adds that he doesn’t care about Django’s race because he doesn’t care about other white men.
11:55: Tarantino says that he might make a slave story someday, but this one is him taking the western genre and adding the south and a black character. He wanted to deal with slavery. King is the gunfighter who teaches the know-nothing kid how to be a gunslinger – a classic trope from the genre.
11:56: Being a stranger in a strange land is part of why Schultz accepts Django. For the first part King Schultz is teaching Django, but when they actually get to Mississippi it’s actually Schultz who is shocked by the cruelly and it’s Django who is the enlightened one.
11:59: So why is King a dentist? Tarantino was aware of Doc Holliday, but he just wanted to make the character a doctor so that he could hide in plain sight.
12:00: It’s footage time! Quentin has apparently brought a full 8-minute sizzle reel for the crowd. Stay tuned for my full description in a bit! UPDATE: Here is the full footage description!
Approximately eight minutes in length, the footage begins with Django (Jamie Foxx) on a chain gang being led through the desert with two men on horses (one of which is James Remar) with guns alongside them. Cutting to night time, the two white men see something in the distance and call out for the person in the distance to show himself. It’s Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), who proceeds to introduce himself along with his horse Fritz. The two men ask him what kind of doctor he is and King looks up at a bobbing tooth on top of his wagon and says, “…a dentist.” He tells the two armed white men that he is looking for a particular slave to acquire and starts going down the row of the chain gang. Towards the end of the line he holds his lantern up to Django’s face and realizes that he is the one that he needs. Remar brings up his shotgun, pointing it at Dr. Schultz and says, “No sale.” King says, “Very well…” and promptly pulls out his own gun and blasts Remar’s head off in great bloody fashion before turning and nailing the horse of Remar’s compatriot. The man screams out to King that he is going to lose his leg, but it’s clear that Schultz couldn’t care less.
12:09: The footage is fucking great. Expanded on stuff from the trailer, but everything we’re hoping for from Tarantino. Crowd loves it.
12:09: Goggins doesn’t want to close his eyes because he’s afraid that working on this film will all be a dream. He describes his character, Billy Crash as a brutal slave trainer who is a tough cookie and a quick draw.
12:10: Stephen, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, is Calvin Candie’s (DiCaprio) house slave. Tarantino says that families created corporations on plantations. Candie Land is the fourth largest cotton maker in the south. Stephen and Billy Crash (Goggins) as the CEOS.
12:12: Stephen is a slave but not a sympathetic character. He apparently raised Calvin Candie from when he was a little boy and is the only person Calvin listens to. He’s the man whispering in the king’s ear.
12:14: Don Johnson asks to be called “Big Daddy.” Still rocking the southern accent. Calls his character the kinder, gentler slave owner. Kerry Washington says, “That’s what they all say.”
12:15: Tarantino points out that both Crocket and Tubbs are in his movie, counting both the TV and movie versions of Miami Vice.
12:16: Johnson says that he and Tarantino have been talking for a while about working together for a while now, and that this was a character he could step into and make him big and flamboyant. He’s funny and bad
12:17: Foghorn Leghorn was apparently Johnson’s inspiration for his voice in the movie. Amazing.
12:18: Kerry Washington says Broomhilda was owned by a German family, which is how she ended up with her name. She speaks some German in the movie and Washington says she had some of the greatest coaches, including Waltz.
12:19: Waltz agrees that it’s a shame he only got to speak two languages in this film. He learned that Washington was nervous about speaking German, but Waltz says he heard her sing a beautiful German lullaby and it almost made him cry. “There was nothing to coach.”
12:20: Originally the song was going to be Kerry Washington whistling, but it turns out that Washington actually can’t whistle. Hence the change.
12:21: Tarantino says that her coaches said Washington had the cutest German accent ever.
12:22: Washington takes on projects that scare her and with the German, riding a horse and more, there was plenty in this film that made her want to hide under the covers.
12:23: Quentin says that there is a link between the fairy tales of Sigfried rescuing Broomhilda. It’s even touched on in the film itself.
12:25: For Quentin the idea of returning to the pit of hell to save the woman he loves is a story he hasn’t seen before.
12:26: Jonah Hill is in a sequence with Don Johnson. They’re not the KKK, but the predecessors were a group called The Regulators who kept slaves in-line. It’s a Regulator raid being led against King and Django. It starts off very scary and intense, but Tarantino says that it ends up being the funniest thing he’s ever written (up there with the color naming scene in Reservoir Dogs)
12:27: So does this movie tie into the greater Tarantino universe? The director says that there is one character that could bring it in. Broomhilda Von Shaft and Django will eventually have a baby, and that baby will have a baby…and then John Shaft will be born! The Great Great Great Grandparents of Shut Your Mouth.
12:29: Audience question time! First girl in line has a Kill Bill Vol. 1 yellow jump suit on. Tarantino calls her hot and she says, “That’s going on the blog.”
12:31: She asks the writer/director about the strong female characters in Django Unchained. Quentin says that in genre cinema there have been plenty of female heroes. Not always in the US, but definitely in other countries. He just digs strong chicks. For this story, though, Broomhilda is the princess in exile and the strong, kick-ass female wasn’t something that worked for this idea. In the fairy tale idea, Calvin Candie is the king keeping her in the tower. She does, however, try to escape and she needs the love of her life to come and “burn this motherfucker down.”
12:33: Washington adds that this was a time when women had to be strong because the black family structure was torn down. It’s a unique strength to this time period.
12:34: Next question for the entire panel: what material did Tarantino recommend to the cast? Kerry was apparently super inquisitive about it and saw the director as a film professor. He turned her on to a few titles from the 30s and 40s that dealt with the antebellum south. One film was The Flame of New Orleans with Marlene Dietrich. He also recommended The Spoilers which also had Dietrich and had a character named Broomhilda.
12:37: During a dinner during filming Tarantino actually reminded Don Johnson of a movie that he made that Johnson totally forgot about. They even screened the movie for the cast.
12:38: Don Johnson says that he was turned on to Minnesota Clay, which was made by Sergio Corbucci who made the original Django movies with Franco Nero (who is in Django Unchained as well)
12:40: We are out of time, but Tarantino asks for one last question. Tarantino says Kill Bill Vol. 3 still may be 10 years later but he doesn’t know. And Sacha Baron Cohen is sadly not in the movie.
12:41: So what’s next for Tarantino? Tarantino says this and Kill Bill were both adventures, and he doesn’t even know who he will be by the time that this project has wrapped.
12:42: And that’s it. Tarantino calls out. “We’ll see you at Christmas!”
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