Walton Goggins Interview For Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’
Set in the South two years before the Civil War, Quentin Tarantino’s ’Django Unchained’ stars 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. Their moves are marked, and a treacherous organisation closes in on them. If Django and Schultz are to escape with Broomhilda, they are to choose between independence and solidarity, between sacrifice and survival. ‘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 Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Jamie Foxx/Kerry Washington, Samuel L. Jackson #1 and Samuel L. Jackson #2.
For me, there’s many elements to ‘Django Unchained’; there’s the slavery element, the spaghetti western element, there’s blaxploitation-style shoot-‘em-ups, there’s socio-political commentary, there’s the love story. How important do you think the love story is at the heart of the film…?
Walton Goggins: Yeah. ‘Django Unchained,’ I think it’s epic in nature and I think it’s as violent as it should be; considering the subject matter. And Quentin, he strikes a real balance between the horrific and the absurd. On film, have there ever been harder obstacles for love to be reunited? I don’t think so. I think that really heightens everything else. Ultimately slavery denied human beings the capability of being human. I mean, when I hear that come out of my mouth I get emotional, you know? It’s extraordinary when you really let that kind of sink down in you.
How was it working under Quentin Tarantino’s direction, communicating with him about your character Billy Crash?
Walton Goggins: He’s one of the only directors I’ve ever worked with where I just gave it over to him. I was like, “Just tell me how you see it?” I really wanted his opinion. And he would then just drop a word to do with the way that Billy walks, the way that he picks up a cup, the way that he sits in a chair – it would make you go, “Ah, OK, now I’ll interpret that in my own way.” And I’d aim to get exactly what he wants. Quentin, he’s an unbelievable communicator with his ideas. He’s probably the most passionate person I’ve ever met, and that’s infectious, you know?
In the film, your character is an overseer and malevolent fight trainer at Calvin Candie’s Candyland. How did you find it working opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as Candie?
Walton Goggins: When I saw what he was doing the first day I got there, I couldn’t believe it. I think he’s done some extraordinary work over the course of his career, but I think this might be the best thing he’s ever done. It is so specific and so heightened. He’s a master of his instrument and it all came together with his interpretation of Calvin Candie. He’s a little flamboyant, he’s a spoiled brat, he’s an aristocrat, he’s vile, and he’s a perverted, indulgent dude. Leo, he kills it! He nailed it. Man, is he good (laughs). Him and Samuel L. Jackson, who I worked a lot with, they’re so good it’s mind-blowing.
Alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Leonardo DiCaprio, the cast is stacked with amazing actors….
Walton Goggins: Yeah. The line-up on this film: Samuel L. Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson… and pretty much every fantastic character actor that’s been working for 20 years (laughs), it was unbelievable that all of these people were in one movie. I’ve worked with a lot of my heroes, and working on this movie I was able to cross off like five other names. In ‘Django Unchained, they’re as good as they’ve always been and they make it look so easy. When you’re watching the process of someone like Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, or Kerry Washington up close and personal, you realise that these people have a true gift.
The very first day I got there and the camera was on me and I was looking at all of those guys, I was just kind of counting all of the statues (laughs) – including Robert Richardson the DP. There was one point on my second day of working where it just became overwhelming for me, I just kind of stopped after Quentin yelled “Action!” and looked up and thought, “Oh my God, I’m in a Quentin Tarantino movie!” And all of those dudes were there.
And then watching the finished movie, how did you find Quentin’s way of using music….?
Walton Goggins: Oh man, I think the music Quentin Tarantino uses in his movies is an extension or a reflection of the movies that he makes, in that he’s a non-conformist, you know? Quentin is one of the few people that can walk between classic cinema and cinema vérité, and use music from all different genres – no matter what story he’s telling.
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