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Tarantino and 'Django Unchained' Gang Hit Comic-Con: How Serious is This Movie?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 16, 2012 at 1:56PM

Saturday morning Comic-Con's cavernous Hall H was packed with 6000 fans, many of whom stayed up all night to gain a seat, to get a gander at an eight-minute sizzle reel of clips from the first half of Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" (slated optimistically for release by Weinstein Co. on December 25).

Tarantino was afraid Foxx wouldn't be able to dig down below his entitled celebrity veneer to feeling like the lowly slave he is at the beginning of the film. "The most important thing was letting everything go because we all have egos," said Foxx. "That was what was unique for me, to actually do homework, to listen to what he says, strip yourself down and start all over again.” Later backstage, while much of the shooting was painful for Foxx, especially watching Washington take the whip (insisting on a real, if nylon, lashing), Foxx admitted he had a blast playing a cowboy--and talked Tarantino into letting him use his own horse.

Waltz got a kick out of the pop culture layers inherent in this project: "I find it sensational that Italian directors forge a new thing, spaghetti westerns, and then an American director takes the new thing and brings it back to America." In a later interview, Waltz said that Tarantino took longer, more deliberate care on this film than "Basterds," with a bigger budget and broader canvas. He was able to ask for that extra take. Clearly, Tarantino made changes on the fly to that 168-page script we all read. My sense: the movie is darker, more serious and less comedic. We'll see what he does in the editing room.

While Sacha Baron Cohen isn't in the film, Jonah Hill is. He had told me back during his promo duties for "Moneyball" that he wanted a role in "Django Unchained," which he just filmed, finally.

After Hall H several of us sat down with Foxx, Waltz, Washington and grateful "Justified" star Walton Goggins  (and I am not the only one who wonders if the movie won't get pushed back out of 2012).

This article is related to: Comic-Con, The Weinstein Co., Weinsteins, Django Unchained, Jamie Foxx, Quentin Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino

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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.