After Quentino Tarantino dropped Jackie Brown in 1997, he plotted and worked for six years before he returned with Kill Bill. And then it was another four before he dropped Death Proof. There was some concern that maybe Tarantino was just going to take his time and release a new movie every so often, instead of working at a feverish pace that we’d like him too.
We may never get that feverish pace of a new movie every year or two, but on the heels of 2009’s Inglourious Basterds comes the news that Tarantino has turned in the final script version for his planned spaghetti western/southern flick.
The film, which is tentatively titled “Django Unchained,” isn’t even listed on his IMDB page, but speculation is already brewing that the movie will be ready for the festival circuit in 2012.
Here’s what we know so far from a variety of reports.
According to the Quentin Tarantino Archives, which first broke the news: “The two-word Tarantino movie title is back, and we have a deuce reference. Of course to the ever legendary spaghetti western Django of 1966 by Sergio Corbucci (click this link now if you have no idea who either of these are), and of course Sukiyaki Western Django, by the revered Takashi Miike in which Q shot a snake! Django is of course the fella with the gatling gun in his coffin… but what if QT unleashes a Django onto the screen?”
Devin Faraci picks up that thread and runs with it: “It certainly adds up with some of the stuff we’ve been hearing about his next film, including that Franco Nero is involved. For those of you who don’t know (for shame!) Nero created the character Django in the film of the same name. Throwing the Django name on unrelated films was in vogue for a while, so there are quite a few of them. Nero was only in one beyond the original.
“Is Tarantino making a sequel to Django? I could almost see him being perverse enough to make a movie in the Django title tradition and cast Franco Nero but not have it be a Django movie. Looking at the title I understand how Django fits into the plot I had previously heard about, and it could be damn intriguing.”
What we know of the plot is very little, but according to Anne Thompson, “It’s a western whose lead character is a former slave who is in league with Waltz to save his wife from an evil plantation owner.”
Waltz, of course, is actor Christoph Waltz, who won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds. He’s the only confirmed actor so far, but Franco Nero and Treat Williams are also circling the project and rumored to be heavily involved.
Further, the movie blog Shadow and Act claims to have more specific details about the plot: “Django is a freed slave, who, under the tutelage of a German bounty hunter (played by Christopher Waltz the evil Nazi officer in Inglorious Basterds) becomes a bad-ass bounty hunter himself, and after assisting Waltz in taking down some bad guys for profit, is helped by Waltz in tracking down his slave wife and liberating her from an evil plantation owner. And that doesn’t even half begin to cover it! This film deals with racism as I’ve rarely seen it handled in a Hollywood film. While it’s 100 percent pure popcorn and revenge flick, it is pure genius in the way it takes on the evil slave owning south. Think of what he did with the Nazis in Inglorious and you’ll get a sense of what he’s doing with slave owners and slave overseers in this one.”
Yowzahs. Sounds exactly like the type of movie Tarantino would make if you were to imagine how he would make a spaghetti western. The real question is who is he going to cast in the role of Django? Seems as if he could go in any number of directions and that decision alone would change the tenor of the movie. If that plot is correct, imagine how different the movie would be with say, Mos Def as Django, or Idris Elba or someone in between those two, like Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Deadline reports the project is moving very quickly now that the final script has been turned in. “Tarantino is reuniting with Pulp Fictionproducer Stacey Sher. Sher will produce with Pilar Savone. Weinstein, who distributed Pulp Fiction, will spearhead domestic distribution onDjango Unchained through TWC. Universal International has the inside track to co-finance and handle foreign distribution because of the relationship built on 2009’s Inglourious Basterds, which grossed $200 million overseas and $324 million overall. Despite the early look that Universal International will get, Tarantino’s script is also being pursued by Warner Bros, Paramount and Sony Pictures, I’m told. Django Unchained will be casting up quickly to begin production later this year; whether it starts late summer or fall depends on cast availability. Just like on Inglourious Basterds, Tarantino will be casting top-shelf on his spaghetti Western.”
What would really make this top-shelf is if Tarantino convinced Ennio Morricone or Daniele Luppi to do the score. Even without that, this is certainly welcome news.