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).