If you’re watching a Tarantino movie, you know you’re in for some top-quality entertainment. This movie isn’t any different.
After his successes with “Reservoir Dogs” and “Pulp Fiction” in the early 1990s, Quinten Tarantino has made several more masterpieces.
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at one of them and present you with the ultimate list of facts about Django Unchained.
1. The story takes place in the 1850s
Quentin Tarantino is a fan of the so-called “Spaghetti Westerns,” budget Westerns that were shot in the 1960s near Almeria in Spain, many of them directed by Sergio Leone, and multiple starring Clint Eastwood.
So he came up with the idea to create a similar type of movie back in 2007 and have it set in the United States pre-Civil War Deep South. The year is 1858, the location is Texas.
2. Tarantino came up with a name for the genre
Tarantino had no intention to call Django Unchained a Spaghetti Western. He came up with his very own definition for a subcategory of the revisionist Western genre that the movie belongs to.
He defined the movie as “a Southern” and commented on this name as follows:
“I wanted to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like Spaghetti Westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it.”Quentin Tarantino on his “Southern” movie genre.
3. The story came about while writing a book
Tarantino came up with the story while he was writing a book about Sergio Corbucci (1926-1990), an Italian movie director known for his extremely violent and bloody Spaghetti Westerns.
We all know that the eccentric director isn’t shy to use a lot of violence in his movies, so it struck a chord when he discovered that the violence in Corbucci’s movies wasn’t for the sake of it, but to deal with fascism and create a surreal version of the Wild West.
4. It took over 4 years to write the script
Even though Tarantino had the general idea of the story of Django Unchained since 2007, he wasn’t able to finish the script until April 26, 2011.
Obviously, QT is a very busy man and was also working on another one of his masterpieces which effectively had Adolph Hitler killed in a suiting way, “Inglorious Bastards,” a movie that was released back in 2009.
5. Critics weren’t too positive when the script was leaked
When it was first leaked in 2011, critics and amateur critics alike were eager to share their opinion on the new Tarantino script.
Their reactions weren’t too positive and ranged from “fatally overblown” to “defiantly non-commercial.”
Either way, it’s clear that the “negative Nancys” was absolutely wrong as the movie turned out to be one of Tarantino’s best!
6. Django was written for one specific actor who eventually refused
While Tarantino was writing the script, he was thinking of one particular actor to play the role of the main character, Django.
His idea was to have Will Smith play the role. A remarkable choice since Will doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to Westerns (he even stated that “Wild Wild West was one of his biggest mistakes ever).
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that, even though his managers begged him to take the part, he eventually refused to play the role and prefers roles he’s more comfortable with such as his recent “Bad Boys for Life” movie
7. Several other actors were considered to play Django as well
With the main candidate refusing to play the role, there were several options to play the hero of the movie, Django.
Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, Michael Kenneth Williams, and Tyrese Gibson were all considered for the part, but Tarantino eventually decided that Jamie Foxx was the best choice.
He accepted and ended up giving one of his best performances ever!
8. Jamie Foxx had one big advantage over other actors
The main character, the actor playing Django, is required to be able to ride a horse. After all, this is the Wild West.
Jamie Foxx wasn’t just able to ride a horse, he actually brought his very own horse as well! He bought his horse named Cheetah 4 years earlier and it’s his very own horse that he rides in the movie.
9. A German and a slave isn’t unrealistic
The movie is set in an era when slavery still wasn’t abolished, but was already receiving a lot of resistance. A lot of this resistance came from European revolutionaries and progressives who migrated to the United States in the 1840s.
Among them were a lot of Germans, just like the other main character in the movie, Dr. King Schultz (Christopher Waltz).
In that sense, one of the most remarkable facts about Django Unchained is that the bond formed between the German and the slave isn’t as unrealistic as it initially looks.
10. Leonardo DiCaprio doesn’t like to play the villain
It’s fair to conclude that Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t play the most likable character in the movie. Calvin Candie is a slave owner who enjoys watching slaves fight each other to death in deathmatches referred to as “Mandingo fights.”
That’s clearly not Leo’s cup of tea! Even though he doesn’t play a very likable character in “Shutter Island” (2010) or “The Wolf of Wall Street” (2013) as well, he hadn’t played the villain in a movie since “The Man in the Iron Mask,” a movie that came out in 1998!
Make sure to check out our list of the top 10 movies with Leo as well!
11. Leo needed some encouragement from Sam the Man
DiCaprio doesn’t play a likable character and sometimes he had a hard time saying degenerating racial slurs.
Who else to give you a nice little motivational speech than Samuel L. Jackson who probably plays an even more hated role?
What was his solution when Leo had to take a break once again during the dinner scene?
He took Leo aside and yelled the motivational words: “M*therf*cker, this is just another Tuesday for us!”
Got Leo back into character in no time!
12. Tarantino needed to do some cutting on the Mandingo scene
One of the most horrific scenes is when Calvin Candie clearly seems to enjoy two of his slaves fighting an epic Mandingo match.
The original version of that scene was even more gruesome it seems because Tarantino acknowledged that he had to cut out a lot of bits of that scene in order not to “shock and traumatize the audience.”
The other scene that he trimmed down to avoid the same effect was the scene with the dogs and the slave that refuses to participate in his (final) Mandingo fight.
13. The music composer didn’t like Tarantino’s work
Quentin Tarantino did his homework when it came to finding a composer for the music in Django Unchained. He contacted nobody else than Ennio Morricone, the famous Italian music composer known for his dramatic music compositions for Sergio Leone’s Spaghetti Westerns, and also for his work on the epic crime movie “Once Upon a Time in America.”
Ennio didn’t like how Quentin scattered pieces of his music around in the movie, “never giving it enough time.” After they cooperated with Django Unchained, he claimed that he never wanted to work with the director again.
This makes it all the more interesting that they worked together just a few years later on “The Hateful Eight,” and the fact that his work on this movie earned him an Oscar (his first one as well)!
That’s proof of the saying “Only a fool never changes his mind.”
14. Christopher Waltz was very lucky
Riding a horse isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, especially not Christopher Waltz. He actually dislocated his pelvis during the shooting of Django Unchained after falling off his horse!
Waltz is a funny man and was able to joke about the incident by saying that “riding a horse wasn’t a big challenge, but falling off was.“
15. Waltz nearly didn’t accept the role
Christopher Waltz is one of the defining characters in the movie, that is clear. Without his excellent performance, we wouldn’t be able to define Django Unchained as a masterpiece.
Quentin Tarantino knew this and did everything in his power to convince Waltz to accept the role. That was needed because he initially declined it claiming “it’s too tailored to his character.”
After Quentin sent him a letter, Waltz just had the request that his character shouldn’t act evilly, not even once, in the entire movie.
Quentin replied: “Of Course, Mein Herr,” to which Waltz replied: “Mein Herr, Of Course!”
Quick facts about Django Unchained
16. Django Unchained was a huge box-office success. With a budget of USD 100 million, it managed to USD 425 million worldwide.
17. The movie was shot in exactly 130 days. This makes it the longest movie he ever shot at that time.
18. The name “Django” comes from a 1966 Spaghetti Western with the same name. It was directed by Sergio Corbucci, the director Tarantino was writing a book about.
19. The movie got 5 nominations and won 2 Academy Awards for “Best Original Screenplay” and for “Best Supporting Actor” (Christopher Waltz) and won several other awards including Golden Globes and BAFTA as well.
20. Sasha Baron Cohen was originally cast to play the role of a gambler named Scotty who loses Broomhilda, Django’s wife, to Calvin Candie. He passed for it because he didn’t want to leave Les Miserables and the one scene wasn’t included in the movie.
21. Django’s unusual valet outfit was inspired by a 1770 Thomas Gainsborough oil painting called the “Blue Boy.” His sunglasses were inspired by Charles Bronson’s character in The White Buffalo (1977).
22. When Leonardo DiCaprio banged his hand on the table he actually broke a little watch and got a serious cut that started bleeding. He stayed in character and the scene in which his hand was cut was actually used in the movie.
23. Dr. Schultz tries to buy Django’s wife Broomhilda for $12,000. That’s well over $300,000 today, a huge amount to buy a slave’s freedom at that time.
24. Even though Christopher Waltz won the Academy Award for “Best Supporting Actor,” his character appears in exactly 1 hour, 6 minutes, and 16 seconds on screen. That’s the longest of any winner of that particular Oscar.
25. Tarantino is a master of developing characters. This movie, however, was a first, because Calvin Candie was the first of his creations that he actually despised.
26. Django Unchained has an excellent rating. At the time of writing, it has a rating of 8.4 out of 10 on the popular movie database IMDB, making it one of the top-rated movies of all time.
This is the funniest Django Unchained scene: The Raid!
Quentin Tarantino is an extremely versatile director and always has a good mix of drama, action, and humor in his movies.
Django Unchained isn’t any different, and there’s one amazingly funny scene that really makes the mentality that the people had in this period look ridiculous.
Without further ado, here it is: