Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprio Cover VIBE Magazine
The cast of Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Django Unchained is on the cover of the December 2012/January 2013 issue of VIBE Magazine. Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jamie Foxx discussed how they mastered the art of telling this historically story, working with Tarantino, and how they supported each other while filming. Read excepts below.
With Django Unchained, Tarantino adapts his familiar revenge themes (Kill Bill, Inglourious Basterds) to the story of a slave gone rogue in the name of love. In this flick, the genre-splicing director tracks Django (Jamie Foxx), a slave who is recruited by a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) who happens to be hunting the men who sold Django’s wife (Kerry Washington, 35) to the most wicked of all plantation owners, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).
While Tarantino was awarded Screenwriter of the Year for Django by the Hollywood Film Awards in October, black Hollywood had a different take. Nate Parker (Red Tails, Red Hook Summer), who was also considered for the role of Django, called the script ‘‘upsetting.” Tyler Perry, who wrote the Madea series, raised questions about Tarantino’s screenplay (more on this later). But the actors in the film, which also include Samuel L. Jackson, stuck to their guns.
VIBE: Leonardo, you’re playing the bad guy, finally. Now doesn’t that feel good?
DICAPRIO: Of course, playing a bad guy opens you up to not having as many rules or restraints. I think actors have gravitated to that because it frees you up in a way. It takes you to the darkest place of where you are as a person and lets you indulge in that and give in to that and be as horrible as you possibly can without the conflicting side of what’s good and what’s right. This is the first legit bad guy I’ve ever had to play, and it is a fucking horrible [character]; the worst display of humanity I’ve ever read in my entire life. Not even just because of who he was and the racism, but because he is just the most self-indulgent bastard I’ve ever read.
WASHINGTON: Everybody went to a place they’ve never been before. Samuel Jackson went into the trailer and came out every day looking like an entirely different human being.
DICAPRIO: When Sam showed up all the volumes were like, ‘‘Oh shit; I gotta say this louder.” He left a charge in our ass.
VIBE: Kerry, you played opposite Jamie in Ray as his wife. This time, you go back in time to play his wife again. How did your previous work together figure in here?
WASHINGTON: I couldn’t have done this movie without Jamie. The trust factor. I think there is something beautiful about the fact that the film is about a husband and wife being reunited after being separated. And the audiences also get to see us being reunited. I think there is poetry in that. But the places we had to go emotionally I would not be able to go with an actor that I didn’t respect, admire, trust and love. Even days when we weren’t working it was good to know you had that person in your corner.
VIBE: What does that mean on set, for someone to be in your corner as an actor? How does that look in action?
FOXX: I got my foot on Samuel Jackson, and he said, ‘‘Now kick me. I’m gonna roll off this motherfucker.” I said, ‘‘What?” It’s Samuel Jackson. Anybody else I would have gone in. He said, ‘‘Nah, nah, motherfucker bring that shit.”
DICAPRIO: Quentin Tarantino is a great filmmaker. But what he does better than everyone is he brings people together. He is a man that is very specific about his vision. There are certain things you just can’t fuck with. There are certain things in telling his story he knows exactly what he wants. You have to create a situation in which you feel free to speak your mind or change things up. I am at my best–I think actors are at their best, when they are involved and feel the ownership of that character. He’s that unique combination of knowing the path or journey he wants to go on, but is able to go off and improvise.
WASHINGTON: He’s also not afraid to hire people who are really good at what they do. If you look at this cast, it takes a life of its own. I remember we did this one scene at this dining room table and we thought it was going to go one way and Sam and Leonardo took it to this other level. We were like, ‘‘Okay, we need to rethink the next 30 pages of the script. This is a different movie now.”
FOXX: They changed the trajectory. He got a standing ovation after one of his speeches. I’m sitting there watching it going like, ‘‘This changes the movie.”
WASHINGTON: I suddenly find myself about to cry in a moment that was not supposed to be a moment at all.