Kurt Russell And Sacha Baron Cohen Drop Out Of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained

There are many actors out there that would fight tooth and nail for the opportunity to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie, but for some reason the writer/director isn't having the same kind of luck he normally has with one of his projects. It all started back in the early casting stages when it was announced that Kevin Costner, who was attached to play slave-trainer Ace Woody, had to back out of the project due to scheduling issues (he was later replaced by Kurt Russell, which fans saw as a more-than-adequate substitute). More recently, Joseph Gordon-Levitt said that he can't be in the movie because he is developing his directorial debut project with Scarlett Johansson and Julianne Moore. Today the problem continues.

While promoting his film The Dictator, Sacha Baron Cohen appeared on the Howard Stern Show (via The Film Stage) and told them that he is not going to be able to take part in Quentin Tarantino's new movie. Back in November it was announced that Cohen would be playing a gambler named Scotty Harmony who buys the titular character's wife as a prostitute. It was a small role, but Cohen says that he can't be in the movie because he is too busy with promotion of the aforementioned comedy.

That's not a great loss, as Scott Harmony is not that big a character in Django Unchained, but the other new announcement is much more devastating. Variety says that Kurt Russell has also dropped out of Tarantino's western. While no reason is given, The Film Stage points to a post on the film's IMDb message board saying that Russell was unhappy with his role and doesn't think the movie is "western enough" (then again, who the hell can trust the IMDb message boards?). Russell and Tarantino previously worked together on Death Proof, which was the director's half of the double feature known as Grindhouse. It's unknown who at this stage in the game will replace the actor as Ace Woody.

The movie is about an escaped slave named Django (Jamie Foxx) who creates a partnership with a German-born bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). The two men work together to take down the evil plantation owner known as Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and free Django's wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). Also set to star in the film are Samuel L. Jackson, Gerald McRaney, Dennis Christopher, M.C. Gainey, Don Johnson, Anthony LaPaglia, James Remar, RZA, Laura Cayouette, Tom Wopat, and James Russo. The movie arrives in theaters this Christmas and is currently in production. To learn more about the title, head over to our Blend Film Database.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.