By Drew Taylor | The Playlist April 18, 2013 at 1:06PM
"Death Proof" powerhouse Zoe Bell wields an axe, has the bottom half of her face covered by a scarlet bandana, and in general goes around seeming like there should be a lot more to her character than there is. And indeed, earlier this year, on the red carpet for "Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters" (of all things), Bell let slip what was originally planned, albeit briefly: "There was backstory and there was going to be a fight sequence." She later confirmed what costume designer Sharen Davis revealed earlier, that the character would "drop the bandana to reveal an absent jaw." "Yes," Bell told E! "There was going to be a sneaky secret under the mask… Part of my face was missing." Sadly, neither the fight sequence nor the missing-jaw reveal were ever filmed, due to overages in shooting the Candyland dinner table stuff.
Also, speculation has run rampant online that the photo the audience sees Bell looking at before Django shoots her dead -- of a male black child and a female white child -- is actually of her and Django as children. Where this comes from is beyond us, but it seems like a plausible Tarantino-y embellishment if there ever was one. One should note, her character isn't actually in the leaked script, so this is actually an addition to the screenplay, though even in the final movie, a hardly fleshed out one.
While the Scotty part might have been "cursed," there was another role in "Django Unchained" that might as well have been built on an ancient Indian burial ground. The character of Ace Woody was one of the most important characters in the second half of the script, serving as Calvin Candie's right hand man, resident expert on mandingo fighting and one of Django's chief torturers after the shit goes down. Candie describes him as the man "responsible for all my success" with regards to mandingo fighting. Their power dynamic is important too, at one point, Woody is so annoyed by two mandingo fighters that Candie bought that he perceives as less-than-extraordinary, that he shoots them dead in front of his boss and the DiCaprio character doesn't flinch. Throughout, Woody is seen as rather cruel and merciless.
Initially this part was to be played by Kevin Costner, who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts, and it was then taken by Kurt Russell. Supposedly Russell walked off the set, unhappy with Tarantino's ultra lax shooting schedule (things obviously moved faster on the set of their previous collaboration "Death Proof"), which left Tarantino with a very big hole to fill. Instead of attempting to do cast another actor, he combined two characters – Ace Woody and Billy Crash, who would be played in the final film by Walton Goggins.
This combination however leaves huge swaths of dialogue out of the finished film -- including the scene where Woody and Candie argue over mandingos -- and left the Billy Crash character with both too little and too much to do. When we talked to Goggins he seemed appreciative of the larger role, but also sad to see some of the material that lay on the cutting room floor. "There was a big scene between Leonardo and I that really cemented their relationship and you really saw how the inner workings of the plantation were conducted. And we had long conversations between Billy Crash and Sam Jackson's character about how they both had a vested interest in keeping the status quo because it was the only way they would retain their power."
Since so little of the Billy Crash/Ace Woody stuff remains in the final movie it would be interesting to see what was shot, with a view to how it may have impacted on the power dynamics of Candyland and what happened following the inglorious death of chief bastard Calvin Candie.
When we talked to Jamie Foxx, he said that his favorite sequence was one that Quentin cut -- a showdown between Stephen, the "house nigger" (played by Samuel L. Jackson), and Foxx that happened once Django and Schultz arrive at the Candyland compound. Stephen is showing Django to his guest room, which in the final film he pitches a huge fit about. (These Candyland scenes also feature more “Spaghetti Western Revenge” flashbacks, which were probably too much like those scenes in “Kill Bill” where that siren would blare and The Bride would remember some horrible incident.) “I still look at Quentin and go like, 'You should have kept it in the movie,' " Foxx told us. In short, Django asks Stephen to pour some water in a bowl so he can wash up. When he tries to do as he's told, Django throws the water in Stephen's face. Django then gives the older man a severe smackdown which knocks him to the ground and Stephen can't do anything in retaliation.
Foxx then delivers a brief monologue, which he recited for us when we interviewed him (you can read more about it in-depth here). Not only does this encounter instigate the increased loathing and scrutiny that Stephen shows Django and Broomhilda (ultimately leading to their whole plan going to shit), but in the script Stephen gets his revenge later on. As Foxx said to us: "There was this connective tissue that makes me being [strung up] even sweeter."
The “strung-up” bit – when Django is hogtied in the third act after Candie and Schultz have been killed -- played much differently on the page than in the film. In the final version, Billy Crash briefly threatens to cut off his balls and Stephen comes in and basically gives him the speech about how much more torturous working in the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company would be than, say, slicing his genitals off here and now. In the script, Stephen says that once Django met Stephen, he knew it was over. "I bet you an' that German thought y'all was on easy street for a while," he begins, recounting their ride up to Candyland. "And that's where you met me. And that's when you knew your goose was cooked." Stephen then burns off Django's nipple. He then taunts him some more, before burning off the other nipple. "Damn Nigger, you smell good," Stephen says.
Even Jackson was a little taken about by how extreme this scene was. As he told Movieline around the time the movie came out (which proves, at the very least, that this sequence was actually shot, unlike some of the deleted material): "I burn his nipples off with a hot poker. I do all kinds of shit to him in that scene that would have just made people go Ahhhhh!" Tarantino talked about scaling back some of the violence here.
One of the biggest differences between the script and the movie is also one of the subtler alterations. In the screenplay, once Calvin Candie is laid to rest, Stephen really comes into his own in the script. In fact, had the movie more closely resembled the script, it's fairly possible Samuel L. Jackson, and not his co-star Christoph Waltz, would have taken home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
Not only is the original scene where he has Django tied up longer and more dialogue-heavy, but Stephen is then central to a bigger, radically different climax, which involves Django squaring off against the various Candyland players in a kind of premeditated Mexican standoff, only for it to be revealed that Stephen is the true architect of Candyland. It's a massive twist to lose, and indeed, Jackson's been one of the most vocal about Tarantino making a longer cut of the movie, mostly so he can include more of his deleted material.
There is one plus to the final version, however, which is Stephen (who survives in the screenplay) calling out to Django right before Candyland is blown to smithereens – "There's always going to be a Candyland!" That wasn't in the script, and it's a terrific moment in itself.
There are a number of other differences between "Django Unchained" the finished movie and "Django Unchained" the script. The removal of Ace Woody had several knock-on effects and there's a small but pivotal character at Candyland, a slave boy named Timmy, who factors in heavily to the original climax. We're not sure if the Timmy stuff was even shot, or if it was trimmed due to schedule and/or cost overages. And there's a bunch of slave characters like Rodney, Chester, Chicken Charlie with small parts who do appear in the film, but amount to thankless cameos (Wu Tang member the 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, but it could have been one of these characters when the roles were more meaty).
For now, "Django Unchained" stands as it is, but there's a wealth of removed material that we'd love to see live again in some form. Indeed, the theatrical release may have had our curiosity, but a fully complete version would have our attention. "Django Unchained" is on home video now.