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Tarantino Says He Didn't Cast Idris Elba In 'Django' Because He's British... And It's An American Story

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by Tambay A. Obenson
January 4, 2013 7:11 PM
144 Comments
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I know, we said no more Django Unchained posts, BUT, this isn't so much a Django Unchained item (no critique nor praise of the film here), as much as it is a nod to several conversations/debates that you folks have had in various comment sections of this blog, relating to the casting of black British actors in roles as African Americans (and vice-versa, or as Africans) whether on TV or film, as well as the, shall we say, "accent problem." 

So I thought it was worth sharing, and elaborating on, as well as connecting it to previous conversations, regardless of where you stand on the matter.

In an interview with the UK's Sun, while plugging the film across the pond, where it opens on the 18th of this month, Quentin Tarantino stated, while, as we already know, Idris Elba was one of the actors he looked at for the lead role eventually played by Jamie Foxx, "he never stood a chance of getting the part," because "he’s British," Tarantino said.

“Yeah, Idris is British and this is an American story. I think a problem with a lot of movies that deal with this issue is they cast British actors to play the Southerners and it goes a long way to distancing the movie. They put on their gargoyle masks and they do their phoney accents and you are not telling an American story any more. They are just making hay of it, whether it be James Mason in Mandingo or Michael Caine in Hurry Sundown, they get British actors to do this."

The first thing that I thought was, if he never really stood a chance of getting the part, why even look at him for the part in the first place...?

Although, I'll say that while Idris did an excellent job portraying Stringer Bell in HBO's The Wire, pulling off the accent rather well - so much that most audiences, and even many of his fellow Brits didn't even know he was British - you might recall he did have some *difficulty* with his southern accent in Ridley Scott's Prometheus last summer.

And maybe Tarantino auditioned him and caught on to that, which killed his chances - hence the comment about "phoney accents." Because, apparently, speaking in a southern accent was crucial for the key characters in Django Unchained.

As Tarantino notes in the Sun interview:

“Leo is not from the South, but pretty much every other white actor in the movie is from the South. And most of the black actors are from the South. And I’m from the South.”

The other actors Tarantino looked at for the part were Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, Michael K. Williams, and Tyrese.

I'm guessing Tarantino's words may not go over well with some - specifically, his motivations for not casting a Brit (in a nutshell, this is a quintessential American story, so I'm going to cast American actors in American roles); although I'll also guess that others will applaud them.

But this seemingly nationalistic casting conundrum, we could call it, is a conversation that extends beyond just the USA and the UK. You'll recall local blowback over the casting of Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard as Winnie Mandela and Nelson Mandela - a quintessential South African story we could argue; and also Sanaa Lathan as a Senegalese woman in Wonderful World, and Morgan Freeman also as Mandela in Invictus - in recent examples. 

I recall this quote from another UK newspaper, The Guardian a couple of years ago or so, in relation to Freeman as Mandela and Matt Damon as Francois Pienaar, which stated:

"... unless one casts Indians to play Indians (unlike Alec Guinness in 'A Passage to India,' 1984), Danes to play Danes (instead of accent-prone Meryl Streep's Karen Blixen in 'Out of Africa,' 1985), Irishmen to play Irishmen (to avoid the many begorrah horrors) etc, most accents [in movies] border on caricature..."

The suggestion from the writer there being that we should just accept that fact, instead of griping every time an actor's/actress' attempt at an unfamiliar accent fails.

Frankly, for most audiences who don't have an ear attuned to the nuances of Senegalese and South African accents (which themselves also vary within those countries) in the above 2 cases, Lathan and Freeman (and Matt Damon) will sound authentic enough.

But is "authentic enough" enough? Is the audience being deprived of a proper "education," or are our expectations too high, in expecting perfection of speech from these actors, especially when many of us here likely wouldn't even be able to recognize what's authentic and what's not, in any given situation?

The writer of that same article makes a comparison between "blacking-up" and actors in roles that require that they speak in an unfamiliar accent - essentially suggesting that just as black people are now "allowed" to play themselves on screen, instead of white people in black face, "accents should be left to native speakers."

I agree that an overall appreciation of a film can indeed be undermined by suspect accents; and what all this calls into discussion is the casting of "natives" in roles like those above I mentioned, if ensuring authenticity is crucial. But then that challenges one significant industry belief: that recognizable names and faces are needed in order to sell a picture - an idea with a lot of support that likely won't falter any time soon.

So, in short, expect more "suspect" accents, especially in Hollywood studio movies; but just not when it's a Tarantino flick though apparently - especially when he's telling a quintessential American story. 

Although Steven Spielberg clearly doesn't see it the same way, because he cast Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, in what could also be described as a quintessential American story. 

However, on the reverse, while there have most certainly been exceptions, given how ubiquitous American/Hollywood films are all over the world, as well as music, I'd say that most non-American actors do a pretty good job mimicking USA accents - which are also varied depending on location. Some are better at it than others. 

But the matter of casting actors native to a specific region in films that tell stories that are "native" to that specific region (as Tarantino said of and did with Django), is a longer conversation...

Feel free to chime in with your thoughts on all this...

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144 Comments

  • S | July 23, 2013 12:40 PMReply

    I guess Hugh Laurie being cast in House is a classic example. Auditioning with an accent and the casting director proclaiming "wow, finally a great American actor" (or something of that nature). Oh the irony.

  • Miles Ellison | July 14, 2013 5:54 PMReply

    So why was Walz cast?

  • kmn18 | January 24, 2014 7:37 AM

    Also ever since people went crazy for him as Colonel Hans Landa in 'Inglorious Bastards' Tarantino has started a love affair in which he simply has to put him in every movie made since he is such a winning formula that he often becomes the best part. However, Elba might have been a safer choice as Foxx from what I hear has just used the movie as a way of letting his more anti-white feelings be expressed.

  • M | January 20, 2014 1:08 PM

    Well his character was German. He wasn't a German playing an American. In the movie his character is supposed to be German.

  • Miles Ellison | July 14, 2013 8:39 PM

    Great Britain isn't international? If this is such an "American" story, why is there a German in it?

  • Darkan | July 14, 2013 8:10 PM

    International market, Tarantino works with a lot of the same people and Waltz is a brilliant actor who was playing a foreign character like he did in Inglorious Bastards.

  • suzann | July 14, 2013 2:57 PMReply

    that dont make sense cause hes british dick van dyke was american playing several english men in films and loads of american actors actresses palying english people renee in bridget jones only a stupid america can say that

  • yoyoma | February 25, 2013 11:25 AMReply

    we're out sourcing everything, why not out source our actors too.

  • Gus | January 10, 2013 1:27 AMReply

    I'm staying away from all the other debates for the moment.
    I think it's bad form for a director after auditioning an actor for a role and not choosing them to go on to say to the world wide press that that actor really wasn't in the running. For whatever reason Idris or any other actor wasn't cast, be respectful and don't diss them publicly. Or then it all becomes too much like politics or some other mud slinging arena, and not about the storytelling magic of film. It is also for me, a breach of faith and trust.
    Besides slavery in North and South America and the West Indies had beginnings in Europe and that includes Britain. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Grace
    That's the other thing, slavery unfortunately still exists today. I wonder whether any of the film makers mentioned will donate funds to freeing the women, children and men bonded in the various forms of 'contemporary slavery'?

  • Besi | January 15, 2013 3:32 PM

    Interesting! Daniel Day Lewis not only portrayed Lincoln (an American historical figure) but will probably win an Oscar for it and Last year Meryl Streep won an Oscar for portraying Margret Thatcher (a British historical figure). So I guess that not every director agrees with Tarantino.

  • Gus | January 10, 2013 1:16 AMReply

    I'm staying away from all the other debates for thr moment. I think it's bad form for a director after auditioning an actor for a role and not choosing them to go on to say to the world wide press that that actor really wasn't in the running. For whatever reason Idris or any other actor wasn't cast, be respectful and don't diss them publicly. Or then it all becomes too much like politics or some other mud slinging arena, and not about the storytelling magic of film. Besides slavery in the USA and the West Indies had beginnings in Europe. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_trade
    That's the other thing slavery unfortunately still exists today. I wonder whether any of the film makers mentioned will donate funds to freeing the women, children and men bonded in the various forms of 'contemporary slavery'?

  • schmoog | January 9, 2013 2:26 PMReply

    We're talking about American movies, though. Americans typically need to see American actors/actresses in lead roles - or at least established actors and actresses who are recognizable from North American movies (eg. Daniel Craig in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake) - otherwise they have no interest. So, authenticity takes a back seat to commercial appeal.

  • suzanne | July 14, 2013 3:01 PM

    your wrong princess diana was british yet in most amercian films of her they have cast american actresses and in the new diana movie its an aussie diana was an icon i would of liked her have been played by british actress but typical americans think she was american lol

  • Donella | January 9, 2013 3:43 PM

    Brits have portrayed North Americans in so many recent movies, it's impossible to keep track--The Dark Knight series, for one. All of a sudden its a problem just because Tarantino says so? Okay.

  • getthesenets | January 8, 2013 11:43 PMReply

    officially licensed action figures..wow.......blatantly insensitive ....weinstein is taking off the white hood..mfers talk all that shit about antisemitism/nazis/hitler and goebbels ----- and turn around and have been doing the same shit themselves for decades.-----brando was right...

  • Greg | January 9, 2013 6:06 AM

    ...and Black folks are still rushing to the movies to see this nonsense...too stupid to realize how much they're being insulted...all that’s missing is the free packet of kool-aid with every ticket…

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 4:17 PMReply

    @S&A: What happened to all the comments on this page? Many of the previous comments are not showing now...

  • Luce | January 8, 2013 9:30 PM

    I noticed that also. Most of the time, they are posts that have more than a 100 comments. The bug must be on indiewire's side.

  • Andy | January 8, 2013 11:32 AMReply

    Awesome film. Foxx was the only choice IMO. Only flaw in the movie was Tarantino's character with his Irish-cockney-Aussie accent. So horrendous he must've done it on purpose. It's on a par with dick van dyke in Mary poppins, don cheadle in oceans eleven and Anthony lapaglia in frasier. He sure can make films but I wish he'd stay that side of the camera.

  • Brianna | January 14, 2013 2:31 AM

    I completely agree. I can't imagine any of the actors mentioned above playing Django (except maybe Tyrese, but the character would have still been different). I think Foxx was perfect. As for Tarantino, yeah, he should have just stuck with an American accent or kept himself behind the scenes. I couldn't even tell he was trying to be Australian until the third time he spoke (I didn't WHAT that was supposed to be). At the very least, he should have had fewer lines.

  • Bessie | January 8, 2013 9:05 AMReply

    Isn't Tim Roth AKA Mr Orange a British actor. I 'm howling with laughter when you have actors perpertrating accents . My top three of actors who's accent coach failed them are:
    No. 1 Robert De Niro - Cape Fear
    No.2 Forrest Wittiker - Crying Game
    No 3Denzil Washington - Queen and Country

  • Agent K | January 7, 2013 6:48 PMReply

    Why is this even an issue? It ain't like Jamie Foxx's accent was authentic.

  • Kenyon long | January 7, 2013 6:45 PMReply

    As an actor from the south I hate seeing other actors use terrible southern accents. Its funny hollywood tells me to change my accent for certain roles but when they have a role that requires it,they get someone from ny who has studied the accent. Its not hard to find the good actor with the accent you need.

  • Jani | January 7, 2013 3:35 PMReply

    Django Unchained': Selling Slaves as Action Figures

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/django-unchained-selling-slaves-as-action-figures_n_2425296.html

  • Charles Judson | January 10, 2013 10:29 AM

    Minor Spoiler: Stephen isn't suffering from PTSD. He's a self serving race traitor who enjoys wielding the power he has. When he calls Candie into the parlor after dinner, the man has poured himself a brandy and is already sitting. When Candie speaks to Stephen, Candie's body language, leaning in, his ear cocked so he can hear better, is of a mentee being schooled by his straight back mentor who sees what he can't. Even Stephen's cadence and octave changes while Candie becomes much more restrained, less theatrical in private, than he his when he is in the public eye. What Stephen does is for show so few see that he helps run that plantation like he's got shares in it, not just manage it. What Candie does is also for show. He is never not the master and Stephen his slave, however he is not the sole mastermind of Candyland. The irony of the phrenology scene is it likely serves as a hint that Candyland has had "loyal" servants because they were smart enough to game the system and blend in. Candie misreads manipulation and collaboration as loyalty. Stephen loses nothing if Hildie and Dnjango take off. He does gain further power over Candyland and Candie by pointing that out though. Especially as the con is so elaborate and his ability to see it demonstrates, subtly his superiority over Candie and how much Candie heeds and needs his "guidance." That's not PTSD, that's being an ass@&$!.

  • starry118 | January 9, 2013 9:03 PM

    @Charles Judson: Stephen, in this movie, experienced and observed racism daily ... his method of dealing with it was to align himself with the mentality, attitude, and behavior of those in power and become an extension of them, thereby "protecting" and "empowering" himself. It seems many people of color have developed this same defense mechanism/PTSD/Stockholm Syndrome to varying degrees of severity.

  • Charles Judson | January 9, 2013 9:00 AM

    @Starry118 You are right to your opinion. I don't agree with your take that these figurines are insulting and offensive. I do understand it though and even though I'm arguing against it, I respect that. And I'm not saying that to be condescending. That being said, some of us are just as versed in history as the rest of you. Some of us actually went to school to study it and teach it. To say folks are too dumbed down to recognize some perceived universal truths just because they don't draw the same conclusions, or have the same intellectual or emotional reaction as you is incredibly insulting. I live in Atlanta. I'm surrounded by daily reminders of the Civil War everyday. I live 4 miles from the Cyclorama and I'm 20 minutes from Stone Mountain, which can be seen from almost any hilltop in the city. On the way to work I drive by at least 12 plaques denoting some site as a place where a Civil War battle has occurred. My parents took me and my sister to the sites of plantations and slave quarters still standing. I've visited near Baton Rouge the plantation that my father's family came from. The original house still stands, the slave homes have long since been torn down but you can see them. I've had to sit in classes at my high school, then at GA Tech, and had to be the lone black person having to school 25 white people on a history that happened just 100 feet from where they lay their heads. My mother was the first black baby born in the white hospital at a little town in Georgia in 1952, and they promptly put her in the basement because they wouldn't put her in the ward with the other newborns. I program a film festival and we get maybe 5 submissions celebrating the accomplishments of someone white who participated in the Civil Rights movement, and 98% of the time lived well into their 60s and 70s, to every one film I get that's about someone black who was lynched, killed or disappeared (seriously, I just checked our submissions). And my first 25 years of life (as I approach 40 that's radically changed) in Atlanta is filled with subtle and not so subtle reminders that I'm a black man in the South. Including an incident with the n-word and an angry white father that happened in front of 80 people on a hot Summer day at Six Flags. Let's have a discussion, let's debate, let's fight yes. It does us no good however when we act as if one black experience is more authentic or insightful than another, or to assume that experience is universally shared--if you remember the Six Flags incident, or being put in the back of squad car, or being asked for directions at GA Tech because the parents think you're on the janitorial staff and are shocked to learn you're a student, let me know. Most of the folks who comment on this board don't forget we're black, or our history, when we walk out the door, or jump online.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 11:24 PM

    @Mawon: Just because you don't see the offense doesn't mean there is none. Slavery is not something that Tarantino made up for a movie. It was a REAL historical atrocity that occurred during which REAL people were treated inhumanely & killed in brutal, horrific ways. Intentionally or not, these figurines are disrespectful to those who endured slavery and their descendants - even if some of the latter are too dumbed-down to recognize it.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 10:56 PM

    *extreme violence and adult content showcased*

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 10:55 PM

    @Charles Judson: You're right: In all seriousness, it doesn't make a lick of difference. I doubt the figures would be marketed for kids due to the extreme violence showcased in the movie, but the fact is that they are still toys that essentially trivialize the horrors of slavery.

  • mawon | January 8, 2013 10:15 PM

    Yeah, anyone that knows anything about cult culture knows that there are action figures made for every cult movie for adult fans to collect. Giving that pretty much all Tarantino films are considered cult classics, it would only make sense for Django to have its own line of collectibles as well. Again.... not seeing the offense here.

  • QBN | January 8, 2013 10:14 PM

    They're not intended for kids, but hell I would have loved to have a Black action hero that kills evil slave masters when I was a youngster!

  • mawon | January 8, 2013 10:07 PM

    Google says yes. There were indeed action figures for Inglourious Basterds. So is the Addy doll also offensive?

  • Charles Judson | January 8, 2013 10:06 PM

    In all seriousness, these would not be considered playtoys. They're collectibles. May not make a lick of difference, but these are not aimed at kids.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 4:08 PM

    Slavery was not a joke and slaves were not playtoys. The experience was a horrific tragedy, and is nothing to make light of. Were there any action figures made of Jews from Inglourious Basterds?

  • mawon | January 8, 2013 9:20 AM

    How is this offensive? Can someone please break down to me how it is offensive to sell action figures for an action movie? Please. I'm dying to know.

  • Bee | January 7, 2013 5:00 PM

    Which just confirms my initial observation about this whole film: it is just a mockery of the history of African-Americans in this country. People can try to characterize it any other way they want, but there's nothing respectful or right about this film. Selling action figures from the film (slavery action figures!) is just the icing on the very ugly cake that is Django.

  • Jani | January 7, 2013 4:56 PM

    @ Justin W
    Yes it is....but no one is going to say anything about it.

  • Justin W | January 7, 2013 4:52 PM

    Ahh that's just too much...

  • Adam Scott Thompson | January 7, 2013 11:51 AMReply

    It may be hindsight bias, but Jamie Foxx was the right choice -- period.

  • anon | January 7, 2013 9:23 AMReply

    i didnt think of it it that way but you guys are right it is a dig at steve mqueens infinately better and more dignified and most importantly RESPECTFUL take on the slave trade.
    btw, yes idris is british but half sierre-leonian that has ties to the transatlatic slave trade as it is where the freed slaved went to.

  • mawon | January 7, 2013 10:05 AM

    How do you know it's infinitely better? Are you from the future?

  • Winston | January 6, 2013 7:54 PMReply

    I still can't believe Tyrese was considered for the role. #JodyUnchained

  • Donella | January 7, 2013 4:12 PM

    I saw the Uncle Stephen House N*gger action figure and just SMH.

  • Jani | January 7, 2013 3:36 PM

    Django Unchained': Selling Slaves as Action Figures







    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/07/django-unchained-selling-slaves-as-action-figures_n_2425296.html

  • Adam Scott Thompson | January 7, 2013 11:50 AM

    X_X

  • Alyssa | January 6, 2013 4:01 PMReply

    Frankly, there's not a thing wrong with that. When casting Harry Potter, Rowling said she wanted British actors... no Americans. People applauded that decision as an attempt at authenticity.

    Why can't Tarantino want American actors in a film about slavery in America?

  • Gentry | January 7, 2013 5:17 PM

    I agree with you Alyssa. I am a fan of Idris, and not so much Jamie Foxx (I do like him though, but not as much in comparison) and I feel that Tarantino is valid in his saying that. The Harry Potter reference is perfect. As an actor myself, they hardly EVER let us come over there and make British film and use our "well trained" British accents.

  • Sharon | January 7, 2013 11:06 AM

    You are right Alyssa, and we all know why this is such an issue with Django that it needs mentioning. Ugh!

    There is work in Britain I happen to think America should employ American Actors wherever possible as long as the talent is there and they fit the role and get the heck off the popular at the moment band wagon. In fact I like Kerry but I think her role was weak. Other American actresses coulda rocked it but they were looking at she's popular right now but he stuck to his guns on his idea of casting one of the main roles and I happen to think there should not have been any discussion on it. Idris Elba gets enough work and no one took anything from him. So he didn't get a role he auditioned for. There are a lot of folks who need work and don't get the audition even that can run circles around the one who got a role.

    Get OMG Tarantino! I'm happy to hear his decision!

  • Motown boy | January 6, 2013 12:26 PMReply

    Let's be honest, this is a straight shot at Steve McQueen and his 12 Years a Slave. That film is full of non-Anerican Blacks and non-American Whites. Tarantino and Samuel L. Jackson have been throwing side-eyes at Steve McQueen's film during their Django press tour. Sam Jackson straight out made fun of McQueen and his "arty" films in one interview.

  • starry118 | January 8, 2013 4:33 PM

    @Bondgirl: "All this conjecture from others is mired in hatred for him, and you just embarrass yourself by believing them." That's your opinion...perhaps they're recognizing some truth you're unwilling to acknowledge/accept because you're enjoying the taste of Tarantino's kool-aid too much. I think you should be embarrassed for that, but I guess we'll have to agree to disagree.

  • Charles Judson | January 7, 2013 10:35 PM

    Again, Google is your friend. It appears that when Kurt Russell dropped out in May, Fassbender was rumored to be in the film. Harvey Weinstein was teasing that there would be some surprise casting and Fassbender was rumored to be on set so folks made that leap. This was probably bolstered by tweets sent from various accounts in which Fassbender "leaked" that Tarantino asked him to be in the film back in June of 2011. Those accounts were verified as being fake by Fassbender's manager. What's funny is that when it was reported that Russell and Cohen had dropped out, it already had been reported by Beaks at Ain't It Cool News that Tarantino had rewritten Goggin's role to absorb Russell's character and dialogue and to elevate the character. Sacha Baron Cohen's cameo had also been eliminated by that point. Add to that, Fassbender was close to shooting 12 Years in New Orleans at that time. With the reports of Tarantino constantly rewriting as they went along, I can't see how (or why) they would have had time to create a new role with the vacant ones already eliminated. Not impossible, but improbable for a project that in June was two months away from wrapping up (and trying to have footage ready for Cannes) and to bring in Fassbender for anything less more than a likely cameo. If Fassbender was in the film, we would have likely been cast long before 12 Years, which was announced around October of 2011, four months after the fake DJANGO news. If any DJANGO casting news would have happened, it would have likely been between June and October. Even in May of 2012, Fassbender was talking about 12 YEARS and PROMETHEUS, but not a mention of DJANGO (http://collider.com/michael-fassbender-prometheus-2-sequel-interview/170245/). The surprise Weinstein was probably teasing last Spring was that the original Django would be meeting the new Django in the film. It had been announced that Franco Nero had been cast, but even some of the cast didn't know--or wouldn't reveal--in which role. Zoe Bell's answer on an Italian website to will Nero be in the film from the Spring. "Oh yes, [he] will be. They told me that before I was on set for two or three weeks, I do not know what kind of role [Nero] does, but it sure will be in the film. Besides, it was fairly obvious that Quentin wanted in the film the original Django!" Some folks had speculated that Nero would even play the role of Candie. Speculation which now seems to contradict Tarantino's wish to cast Americans as Americans. The Weinstein tease makes sense as a bit of marketing ballyhoo as it's a few weeks later the teaser trailer was released and it was talked about as an "Easter egg" that Nero was in the film. (Django Unchained': Five Secrets From The Trailer http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1686872/django-unchained-trailer-five-secrets.jhtml) So here we are, trying to take what was a series of rumors and speculation, basically nothing, and turn it into evidence of something. Why did Fassbender not do DJANGO, because it appears he was never asked. Why did he shoot with McQueen, because after two critically acclaimed team ups, why the hell not roll with the guy who absolutely helped your career (after SHAME, some folks even labeled Fassbender as McQueen's DeNiro). Why didn't Brad Pitt do the film, maybe because he was promoting KILLING THEM SOFTLY in the Spring and was producing TWELVE YEARS shooting in the Summer. Add to that, he was prepping for seven weeks of reshoots for WORLD WAR Z in August, a film that had it's December 2012 release date pushed back. With filming for WWZ finished and the reshoots announced around June, it's probable they knew they had problems as far back as the Winter. It's near impossible to schedule seven weeks of reshoots on a big budget film in only a few weeks. Again, if you think DJANGO UNCHAINED is insulting and demeaning, by all means rip it a part. That's what healthy criticism is for. That's what any decently informed criticism can do, even if others disagree with it. It undermines an argument (which time could prove as legitimate...time has a way of being unkind to critical and box office darlings that can't hold up over time..doubtful in this case, but not impossible) by manufacturing disagreements, clues and battles that don't exist. This isn't Kool Moe Dee vs. LL Cool J. You won't find hidden digs in either film--at least I hope not, "Please McQueen, Don't Hurt 'Em."* So can we move on to the business of building up a stronger Black Filmmaking Community and stop creating paper dragons to slay? Outside of helping exercise my Google skills to avoid atrophy, and jacking up S&A's hit count--which actually is a good thing when it comes to demonstrating S&A's drawing power--not sure what good this exercise in futility is. *I know that's a Hammer reference = mixed hip hop metaphor.

  • Bondgirl | January 7, 2013 8:20 PM

    @Starry: Michael Fassbender did not turn Tarantino down for Django (I could be mistaken, but I'm 90% positive it was the other way around actually), and Brad Pitt was NEVER asked. Now if you'd like to speak with Misty Oka at Plan B Productions, instead of speculating, I'll be happy to give you her number. All this conjecture from others is mired in hatred for him, and you just embarrass yourself by believing them.

  • Agent K | January 7, 2013 6:45 PM

    @Motown Boy I just watched the clip and he just seems butt-hurt for whatever reason. I guess what Stephen was to Candie Sam is to Quentin.

  • Donell | January 7, 2013 4:11 PM

    "I highly doubt he's thinking that much about it since as Jackson points out, McQueens films are arty, which means not blockbusters. Which means a completely different market that Tarantino's playing in. They won't even be in the same award season. Why the hell should he be checking for him like that? He doesn't have a track record of being upset at other people's work like some other filmmakers y'all love so much." Uh Oh. Someone's a little defensive and protesting a little too much. LOL @ Jackson's sideways arty burn.

  • mawon | January 7, 2013 10:12 AM

    You know what's funny to me about this. Y'all are the same mo fos saying "Spike Lee's entitled to his opinion" when he made a blatant attack at Django. But Tarantino says one thing about casting American actors (with no mention of any other movie let alone another slave movie) and suddenly it's perfectly clear he's butt-hurt about 12 Years a Slave. I highly doubt he's thinking that much about it since as Jackson points out, McQueens films are arty, which means not blockbusters. Which means a completely different market that Tarantino's playing in. They won't even be in the same award season. Why the hell should he be checking for him like that? He doesn't have a track record of being upset at other people's work like some other filmmakers y'all love so much.

  • starry118 | January 6, 2013 7:23 PM

    @Donella: Now that's telling...not only did these actors say NO to Tarantino's vision, but they said Yes to McQueen's...now that's gotta smart. Makes sense that Tarantino's butt-hurt and trying to discredit McQueen & 12 Years.

  • Donella | January 6, 2013 3:25 PM

    "I feel like Tarantino et al ain't thinking about no Steve McQueen..." Maybe Tarantino's thinking about two of his best players from Inglorious Basterds [Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt] who said no to Django Unchained and yes to Twelve Years a Slave. Or... maybe Tarantino's thinking about Michael K. Williams who was considered for Django Unchained but said no, then yes to Twelve Years a Slave. Maybe he's thinking Django Unchained's authenticity and relevance will be held up for scrutiny upon growing awareness of Twelve Years a Slave.

  • Motown boy | January 6, 2013 2:16 PM

    Akimbo,
    Of course Taratino is thinking about Steve McQueen. McQueen, Spielberg and Taratino all made movies this year dealing with slavery. All three movies get brought up in articles all the time. Taratino in the past has said there is room for all of them but I think he is now more defensive about competing with McQueen. At the Django Q&A press conference he admitted that some of the 'slave' extras in his film also later on did 12 Years a Slave. Here is the Samuel L. Jackson interview where he makes fun of Steve McQueen's up coming "arty" 12 Years a slave. Fast forward to 20:00 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMyjYCuYKEM

  • Akimbo | January 6, 2013 1:16 PM

    You have a link to that interview? I feel like Tarantino et al ain't thinking about no Steve McQueen, but if there's evidence otherwise, okay.

  • bashe | January 6, 2013 11:15 AMReply

    Just came from imdb---had to laugh when I saw that it's CHIWETEL EJIOFOR who plays Solomon Northup, the central character who is "12 Years a Slave" in McQueen's upcoming film. A British director, a Nigerian-British star---both black---telling an "American" story? The horror, the horror!

  • Boomslang | January 6, 2013 2:56 PM

    Um... Gloria Reuben played Elizabeth Keckley and Reuben is Canadian . Daniel day lewis played Lincoln , nobody bats an eye and he's the one who'll end up taking another oscar for his less than stellar performance.

  • bashe | January 6, 2013 2:01 PM

    Er, no---I wasn't horrified. I just want to see excellent performances. I disagree with Tarantino... The "horror, horror" was ironic.

  • GG | January 6, 2013 1:26 PM

    And Daniel Day Lewis played Lincoln were you horrified?

  • Janet | January 6, 2013 8:58 AMReply

    Check out the Terry Gross/Fresh Air interview with Q.T. from January 2nd. Great interview... she asks great questions, including how violent films affect society (Sandy Hook) which pisses him off. He also mentions getting Mr. Sidney Poitier's blessing to do "Django" his way.
    http://www.npr.org/player/v2/mediaPlayer.html?action=1&t=1&islist=false&id=168200139&m=168460506

  • AccidentalVisitor | January 6, 2013 10:23 AM

    I listened to that interview last night. Those two normally have such great conversations but this interview was definitely on the uncomfortable side. While I fault Terry for her pausing and slow-walking up to the points she wanted to address, QT comes across as almost as tone-deaf in regards to how the nation is grasping with violence both on the screen and the real world. So he didn't come across too great either. That being said I give the film itself a thumbs off. The last twenty minutes was the main drag IMO.

  • yemi | January 6, 2013 6:35 AMReply

    hold it. David Oyelowo's U.S. accent was perfect in "Middle of Nowhere," even though he is British. And Jamie Foxx's accent in "Django" was all over the place-- slavery Southern, modern Jamie, urban ghetto. Come on.

  • Agent K | January 7, 2013 6:49 PM

    @Yemi I agree.

  • AriesP | January 6, 2013 5:32 PM

    Lmao... I said the same thing. Jamie need to work on his accent it was most def all o we the place. Soon after I saw the movie I said Jsmie's slave dialect was WACK especially knowing he was portrayed as a field Nigero he sounded like he was sneaking in the library and time capsule to perfect his intelligent/ millennium slang dialect. Lmao

  • deecreative | January 5, 2013 10:40 PMReply

    I know there are a lot of comments but does anyone see the irony of Tarantino downing Idris Elba who is British while going on a press campaign for the opening of his movie in the UK!? I saw the movie I like it but what Tarantino said about Idris is B.S. and I don't support it. Also sorry for the spoiler but Tarantino played an Australian character in a brief cameo!! I'm thinking it had historical significance with maybe a small Australian immigrant population in Mississippi during that time but still Tarantino is not Australian! What difference does it make the region? If you casted an actor from Boston it wouldn't matter! The 'South' is NOT it's own country. Tarantino's whole argument is stupid and while I don't feel Idris would have fit and Jamie was right for the part, Tarantino is wrong for his comments.

  • starry118 | January 5, 2013 11:51 PM

    @Deecreative: Noticed that too...the whole thing is very odd...I'm going with Donella's theory.

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