Written and directed by visionary filmmaker Quentin Tarantino, ’Django Unchained’ is lead by Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave whose brutal history with his former owners lands him face-to-face with German-born bounty hunger Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz). Schultz is on the trail of the murderous Brittle brothers, and only Django can lead him to his bounty. The unorthodox Schultz acquires Django with a promise to free him upon the capture of the Brittles – dead or alive. Success leads Schultz to free Django, though the two men chose not to go their separate ways. Instead, Schultz seeks out the South’s most wanted criminals with Django by his side. Honing vital hunting skills, Django remains focused on one goal: finding and rescuing Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), the wife he lost to the slave trade long ago. Django and Schultz’s search ultimately leads them to Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio), the proprietor of ‘Candyland’, an infamous plantation. Exploring the compound under false pretences, Django and Schultz arouse the suspicion of Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), Candy’s trusted house-slave. ‘Django Unchained’ lands in cinemas on December 25th in the US and January 18th in the UK. My other interviews for the film can be found via the following links (more to come): Quentin Tarantino, Jamie FoxxKerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson.

At the core of this movie is really Django’s willingness to travel through hell and risk his life to save his wife, Broomhilda. And that love is heightened when considering the time period….?

Jamie Foxx: Yeah man, 100%. I think that’s the most important part of the film. If we get that across, that to be in love with your woman at that time, to be married if you were black at the time was against the law – but Django was completely willing to die for his wife, his love. Django’s chances of seeing his wife again were slim to none, so to see Django walk through all of this, everything he goes through… that moved me. And as soon as he hears, “I think they have your wife at Candieland.” When he hears that, you just see what it means to Django. He’s thinking, “I’m so close!” It’s everything to him, everything.

Kerry, how was working on that dynamic for you with Jamie?

Kerry Washington: I just love working with Jamie. I love working with a real artist, a thinking artist who is compassionate and driven towards excellence at what he does. It inspires me, and particularly on a film like this where we had to go to such challenging places emotionally and psychologically. I was grateful to be working with somebody that I respect and admire. It makes all the difference. We were really lucky to have a history of working together, trusting each other, admiring each other, having already played husband and wife in a big film with a strong director. We knew how to be there for each other, whether it was having conversations on set, phones calls, texts at 3 or 4 in the morning because we can’t sleep because of what we had to do the next day (laughs). We were really there to support each other.


How did you find Quentin’s way of using the Spaghetti Western genre to tell this story; this story of love, self-love, justice and revenge, to the backdrop of pre-civil war slavery?

Kerry Washington: What I loved about it was that putting it in the context of a Western, that meant that there was going to be a hero, and that we’re going to have an African-American hero in the pre-civil war south. That was exciting, that was something that we’ve never seen before in this way. And it’s interesting that Quentin Taratino says that he made ‘Django Unchained’ for future generations, because it’s true, I feel like this film bridges our history with everywhere we’re going, you know? It’s a way to understand where we’ve been, so that we move forward differently. And it challenges our ideas about race because it’s forcing us to look back, but that’s the only way we move forward in the way that we’re supposed to.

Jamie Foxx: I think it worked out perfectly. Quentin Tarantino’s a genius, doing a Western to the backdrop of slavery in the south. And with that, you’re able to get it all in because Spaghetti Westerns have the juxtaposition of very, very brutal bad guys, and then the heroes that try to save the day. I loved that.

Kerry Washington: Quentin has become his own genre; he’s not comedy, he’s not drama, he’s not action, he’s not romance, he’s all of the above (laughs). He somehow makes it work, and you see that played out in the music, because the music also doesn’t belong to one place or one time or one sound. He’s able to throw it all in there. Part of it is I think is that he is an encyclopaedia of pop culture. Quentin, he knows every song, every TV show, every movie, and he’s not afraid to have that knowledge and use it.

And Jamie, I know you were an integral part of Rick Ross’ song for ‘Django Unchained,’ ‘100 Black Coffins’?

Jamie Foxx: Yeah, Rick Ross came to see Quentin Tarantino on the set, and Rick Ross’ album was called ‘God Forgives, I Don’t’, which is a Spaghetti Western title. So as they’re talking I’m watching them with the backdrop of the movie, and I said, “Rick, I’m not a rapper, but I think you should do a song for this movie soundtrack, and the song should be called ‘100 Black Coffins.'”

Then about an hour or two later I go to my trailer and come back and say, “I think the song should go like this: ‘I need a hundred black coffins for a hundred bad men, a hundred black graves so I can lay they ass in. I need a hundred black preachers, with a black sermon to tell. From a hundred black Bibles, while we send them all to hell. I need a hundred black coffins.'” And it’s really poetry, because I told him what we need to do is not do a hip-hop record, but take hip-hop and transport it back to that time, the question of what it would be like if Rick Ross was able to say these poetic lines with his voice, with his funk – but we whistle, make it sound like a chain gang. I think that’s what makes it unique. Because if it came from the hip-hop side and sounded too modern, it may make it sound like it doesn’t come from the work. But his words… man! His second verse, that’ll make you cry.