Why Quentin Tarantino Isn't Concerned With Violence in 'Django Unchained'
This story first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Quentin Tarantino never has bowed to Hollywood convention. In fact, his unorthodox cocktail of cross-genre storytelling, garish bloodshed and overall lack of traditional reverence has made him one of the industry's most adored -- if not feared -- filmmakers.
"Not one word of social criticism that's been leveled my way has ever changed one word of any script or any story I tell," says the 49-year-old Oscar winner (for his original screenplay for 1994's Pulp Fiction), whose latest offering, The Weinstein Co.'s Django Unchained, has ruffled more than a few feathers with its brazen use of the N-word (more than 100 utterances) and extreme violence (particularly in a post-Connecticut-school-shooting America).
Pressed about some of the harsher criticisms of his filmmaking philosophy, Tarantino doesn't flinch: "I believe in what I'm doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It's my job to ignore that."
Says Foxx, who stars as Django, a slave-turned-bounty hunter, in the spaghetti Western/blaxploitation drama: "When was the last time a movie made you talk? He exposed wounds but with entertainment value. When you watch Don Johnson say the N-word with that Tarantino vibe, you can't help but laugh. I've watched it with a white crowd, a white/black crowd and an all-black crowd. Every single time, people laughed."
For his part, Foxx, 45, never has fit neatly into one box. The multihyphenate (comedian, pianist, actor, R&B artist, music producer and radio host) earned an Oscar in 2005 for his lead turn in Taylor Hackford's Ray but experienced a career downturn shortly after. Now, like many actors before him (read: John Travolta), he is enjoying the Tarantino halo effect by which old stars are made new -- he even finds himself again in the awards race for his critically celebrated performance.
Up next in Roland Emmerich's White House Down and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Foxx credits Tarantino's atypical Hollywood influence for the upswing in his career: "If he were to do the remake of Yentl, you'd be like, 'What's wrong with this dude?' His fans want to see that envelope pushed."
Jordan Zakarin contributed to this report.