Saturday, December 22, 2012

Reginald Hudlin Talks About 'Django Unchained'


Django Unchained has to be one of the most talked about and highly-anticipated movies of 2012. 

Directed by Quentin Tarantino and featuring a star-studded cast that includes, Academy Award® winner Jamie Foxx (Ray) in the title role and featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Don Johnson.  There are cameos by Bruce Dern, Lee Horsley and Jonah Hill.   

Django Unchained, which recently received four Golden Globe nominations, is an enlightening, controversial and entertaining film that is not for the faint of heart when it comes to extreme amounts violence.  


Set for a Christmas (Dec. 25) release, the racially-charged Django Unchained is set in the South two years before the Civil War. Foxx plays Django (the “D” is silent), a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Academy Award®-winner Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers. He enlists the help of Django is finding the brothers, bringing them to justice and splitting the bounty. Schultz and Django form a partnership that eventually leads to them hunting down Django’s wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who has been sold to the Calvin Candie (DiCaprio), who is the owner of the infamous ‘Candyland’ plantation. The brutality of slavery is coupled with a tinge of humor – Quentin Tarantino style!


Tarantino’s direction is epic and intimate, squeezing a full range of emotions and drama from his A-list thespians.

The controversy, if there really is one, surrounds the excessive use of the word nigger. It’s been rumored to have been uttered some 110 times.

I recently caught up with Reginald Hudlin, one of the producers of the film.

DD: How and why did you become involved in Django?

RH: Well, inadvertently 15 years ago, Quentin and I have been friends for a long time. We got into a passionate conversation about slavery films and how they fall short. I said, Spartacus, until we made a movie like that, I wasn’t interested. Little did I know he carried that thought for quite some time. He called me last year and said he was ready.

DD: What is the criteria for producing a movie?

RH: Is it a movie I want to see? With Django I couldn’t wait to see it. I was super excited.  The movie is dealing with a painful part of our American history. It’s dealing with us as a hero, not a victim. Django goes to hell to save his wife. I can’t name another movie with that as a topic. 


DD: As the producer what, specifically, did you do?

RH: I did whatever needed to be done at any given time. We talked about actors. We went location scouting together. I did research on different historical aspects of the film. I was dealing with logistics, our internship program and marketing. When you’re doing a movie this big, it’s an endless task.

DD: A movie about slavery in 2012 – does it lighten the blow because there are some light-hearted moments?

RH:  Well, I think a movie can be serious and not have to be solemn. In life, you know there are all kinds of things that happen. Some things that happen are humorous in horror. The most important thing is that the movie has catharsis. We’re not victims. 

the heartless slave owner of the infamous CANDYLAND plantation
DD: The word Nigger. I stopped counting at 75. I know it’s the times, but did you have a problem with it?

RH: I know that’s become controversial. That’s an extraordinary waste of time. People get hung up on linguistic violence. This is a movie about black love. It’s a movie about the relationship between blacks and whites. I can think of 15 other important things more important.  It’s a controversy out of ignorance.

DD: So, what have you heard about the controversy?

RH: Matt Drudge, he’s a right wing guy. I presume he hasn’t seen the film. He’s trying to use a race thing as a wedge to say black folks don’t support this movie, they use the word nigga a lot. This is a movie about our people. There was a lot of pain put upon us at that time. We were denied the right to love. Django and Broomhilda loved each other. 


DD: Talk about working with Quentin and this all-star cast.

RH: It was incredible. It was the all-star team of all- star teams. Two Oscar winners and then you’ve got people who have been nominated.  Kerry Washington will clearly get an Oscar of her own one day. They all worked well together. It was wonderful.

Django Unchained is written and directed by Academy Award®-winner Quentin Tarantino, produced by Stacey Sher, Hudlin and Pilar Savone. The executive producers are Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Michael Shamberg, Shannon McIntosh and James Skotchdopole.

Running time: 165 minutes.

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