Tarantino unchains America's tormented past in 'Django'

Updated: 2012-12-25 10:58


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But a dinner with veteran Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier, whom Tarantino called a "father figure," changed his mind after Poitier urged him to not "be afraid" of his film.

Tarantino unchains America's tormented past in 'Django'
Photos:'Django Unchained'premieres in New York

"This movie is a deep, deep, deep American story, and it needed to be made by an American, and it needed to star Americans. ... Lots of the movies dealing with this issue have usually had Brits playing Southerners and it creates this arm's-distance quality," Tarantino said.

Much of the film's more graphic slavery scenes, such as gladiator-style fights to the death and being encased naked in a metal hot box in the heat of the Southern sun, are drawn from real accounts.

"We were shooting on hallowed ground. This was the ground of our ancestors. ... Their blood was in the grass, there's still bits of flesh embedded in the bark," Tarantino said.

The film has received good reviews from critics and is expected to add Oscar nominations in January to its five Golden Globe nods.

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With the exception of Waltz, who plays eccentric German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz, the majority of the main players are not only American but from the South.

"It seemed sacred to us, and we couldn't help but channel those emotions, everybody on the crew and on the set. ... Those were very moving days," Tarantino said.


Tarantino reunited with Waltz, who won an Oscar in 2010 for his role as a menacing Nazi officer in "Inglourious Basterds," and long-time collaborator Samuel L. Jackson, who plays slave housekeeper Stephen, a character who Tarantino described as "the most despicable black (character)" in movie history.