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From Script To Screen: The 12 Biggest Deleted/Unfilmed Scenes From 'Django Unchained'

Features
by Drew Taylor
April 18, 2013 1:06 PM
9 Comments
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4. The Opening Sequence and Greenville
The opening sequence is close to what was in the script but with one key difference – it was originally interspersed with footage of Django on the auction block, as he watched his beloved wife being sold. This would have given the opening some emotional weight, instead of just being cool. In the words of the script: "…as the THEME SONG wails its tragic crescendo, Django is brought up on the auction block. He looks down at all the WHITE PEOPLE who want to buy niggers, who look up to him. His heart fills with poison."

Moments later, when Schultz asks which slave is Django, the audience would already have had that little bit of identification and characterization, instead of him being an anonymous slave. Also, that sequence has a lot of great dialogue that was removed (Schultz to Django: "I'm sure to you, all unshaven white men look alike. So Django, in a crowd of unshaven white men, can you honestly and positively point out The Brittle Brothers?"), but that's true of virtually every scene that didn't made the final cut.

Similar in tone, sandwiched in between the Scotty Harmony and Broomhilda story is a now-omitted introduction to Greenville, the storied slave trading outpost where Broomhilda is sold. Django and Schultz do briefly arrive in the town to find out where Broomhilda was sold off to, but the scene is way tamed down. "It's something out of Dante," Schultz says unnerved at watching black men, women and children covered in filth, line up in chains walking through mud and horse shit. Django doesn't flinch, he's seen worse. The Greenville introduction also includes one of those "Spaghetti Western Flashbacks" in the script that aren't in the movie -- aside from maybe the one of Broomhilda getting whipped when the look of the film briefly changes. In it, Django recalls being a dirty slave in chains and there's even a few slave handlers with names and dialogue, but it's not at all crucial -- other than setting up how Greenville is supposed to be -- so it's easy to understand why it got lopped off.

5. The Brittle Brothers (and more "Big Daddy" Bennett)
The Brittle Brothers, the plantation workers who abuse Django and Broomhilda (and the characters bounty hunter King Schultz is after when he enlists in Django's assistance), are only seen briefly in the final movie. But in the original script, their nastiness is elaborated on early, and often. When Schultz initially asks if Django can remember them, we get a brief, graphic flashback to Broomhilda and Django making love, only to be interrupted by the Brittle Brothers. First: they just watch. Then they start whipping him to "make him fuck faster." Then they join in, touching his ass and squeezing her breast. Then Big John takes him off her and rapes Broomhilda while the others whip Django as he watches.

And later, when Django finally confronts the Brittle Brothers at "Big Daddy" Bennett's plantation, there's a lengthier flashback to a "peelin,' " in which the skin of the back is peeled away by a whip, which Big John Brittle does to Broomhilda in front of Django. What's more: Little Raj, one of the Brittle Brothers, recognizes Django on the Bennett plantation. (The whole Bible-pages-stapled-to-his-shirt thing with Big John isn't anywhere in the script.) And there was a mess of French bulldog puppies that surrounded the Brittle Brothers as they died, which was a nice little bit of embroidery for the scene that was also sadly cut.

And finally, when Django and Schultz are about to leave the Bennett plantation, "Big Daddy" issues him a warning that isn't in the final movie (making the big sequence with the bag-headed raiders more of a surprise) in which he threatens the retaliation that's about to occur. Schultz shoots back: "... mark my words Big Daddy, if you make a move towards Django or myself, you better be prepared to die for it."

6. Naming Django’s Horse
Not all of the deleted/unshot scenes from "Django Unchained" are as germane to the plot or characterization -- one of the most pointless scenes that didn’t make it was an exchange between Schultz and Django about what Django will call his horse. In the exchange, the dynamic between Schultz and Django is clearly established – with Schultz's eloquence undercut by Django's monosyllabic delivery, but it's mostly Tarantino trying to be cute with dialogue (but it's not particularly funny). Even on the page, it's an unnecessary flourish, so in the final film we learn the horse's name (Tony), but not how he came by it.

7. The Australian Slavers
One of the more awkward moments in "Django Unchained" is when Tarantino shows up as an Australian sent to collect Django and a couple of the other slaves to work in a nearby mine. Tarantino stepped into the part after Anthony LaPaglia, an actual Australian, dropped out (and the actor has some candid things to say about the arrogance of the production that he described as “out of control”), but it still nags – why Australian? (Besides Tarantino's noted love of Australian exploitation cinema, as explored in the terrific documentary "Not Quite Hollywood" and cemented by his desire to make a movie in the country.) It turns out there actually was a reason for the Australian accent. It's just not in the movie.

Django starts chatting with a miner named Jano (the part Tarantino would eventually play), about the power dynamics of the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company. Django establishes that he is a slave while Jano is an employee. "Well, I know how much I'm getting' paid, how much you getting' paid? I mean like for instance, how much you getting paid for today?" Jano shoots back: "Look black, it don't work like that. Dickey paid for our passage from Australia to here. We get a little money to send back home, and we pay him back for the boat trip." After Jano tells Django that he's been here for two years and he isn't done paying Dickey back, Django laughs and says: "You a slave too, peckawood. They just bought your ass for the price of a boat ride. At least they didn't charge us for our boat ride…"

The sequence does a few things – makes a parallel between indentured servitude and slavery, adds some humor to a scene that otherwise plays much more shoe-leathery, and most importantly, it allows Django makes a connection with his jailers (since they're both "slaves") adding some much-needed plausibility to a scene that drifts dangerously close to "convenient." Of course some of this is in the final film, but it's not as layered or textured and it comes right out of nowhere (the Mining Company is referenced a few times earlier on in the screenplay). However, if you really want to see Tarantino embarrass himself you can watch him recounting the scene backstage right after he picked up his Best Original Screenplay Oscar.

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9 Comments

  • jt | April 23, 2013 8:08 PMReply

    I finally saw this movie on DVD. Talk about overrated and mediocre and forgettable. Samuel L. Jackson was the only highlight.

  • Les grossman | April 19, 2013 2:21 PMReply

    What i missed from script to film is 1)Leo's Calvin candie's more villanous introduction of killing scotty harmony in piano cue shoot-out and chasing broomhilda and saying the line "welcome to Candyland" to her.Leo dicaprio would have nailed those scenes 2)Django's extended action scenes that happen on his way to candyland before climax 3)Django's Mexican stand out with stephen and other candyland people in the climax 4)scenes of Auctioning of Django and Broomhilda and their seperation,shown in flashbacks at the beginning of the movie 5)Django knocking down stephen in his room

  • Les grossman | April 19, 2013 1:54 PMReply

    What i missed from script to film is 1)Leo's Calvin candie's more villanous introduction of killing scotty harmony in piano cue shoot-out and chasing broomhilda and saying the line "welcome to Candyland" to her.Leo dicaprio would have nailed those scenes 2)Django's extended action scenes that happen on his way to candyland before climax 3)Django's Mexican stand out with stephen and other candyland people in the climax 4)scenes of Auctioning of Django and Broomhilda and their seperation,shown in flashbacks at the beginning of the movie

  • William D. Lee | April 19, 2013 2:00 AMReply

    "RZA was originally cast too, but he too had to drop out due to the editing of "The Man With The Iron Fists" and it's unclear who he would have played"

    He actually would have played the Blacksmith character from The Man with the Iron Fists to tie both films into the same universe. RZA and Django would have been on the same chain gang.

  • David Jaffe | April 18, 2013 5:51 PMReply

    Some of the dialogue from number 11 is actually on the soundtrack as track 20

  • Dryer | April 18, 2013 5:06 PMReply

    Great article-it doesn't excuse the final product, but at least can now be looked at more as a work print than a finished film, which is a real shame . I won't buy the bluray simply due to the poor final forty minutes after DiCaprios dinner table scene, the film just falls apart.

  • Chaws | April 18, 2013 4:52 PMReply

    All this and still not a single deleted scene on the 3-disc blu-ray set? Shame.

  • Noel | April 18, 2013 3:23 PMReply

    Great feature guys, thanks

  • James | April 18, 2013 3:22 PMReply

    Fascinating article. Always amazes me to see how a film can be the result of last minute changes and unintended revisions and the like and still turn out brilliant.

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