Actress/Filmmaker Rie Rasmussen Says If Tarantino’s “Django” Doesn’t Change Face Of Films, Then Hollywood Is Truly ‘Mothereffin’ Racist

Actress/Filmmaker Rie Rasmussen Says If Tarantino's "Django" Doesn’t Change Face Of Films, Then Hollywood Is Truly 'Mothereffin' Racist

The Playlist had a very interesting interview with 'model-turned-actress-turned-filmmaker' Rie Rasmussen, who has closely followed the development of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained since its inception a year and a half ago.  Rasmussen first connected with Tarantino while her short film Thinning the Herd traveled the festival circuit. Ever since, the two have become business comrades; Tarantino has purchased the rights of her feature debut Human Zoo for a domestic run.

“I’ve been around him since day one when the script was being written and I’ve followed it through its development this last year and a half… I knew the man was a genius, but…Jamie Foxx is going to motherfucking knock this one out of the park. He’s gonna be a young Jim Brown. This movie is going to be a revolution. Honestly, when I look at it and what Quentin loves, he [Jack Hill, writer/director of Foxy Brown and Coffy] gave blaxploitation films a voice, he gave Pam Grier that voice. She was it and he’s just this white guy. He was giving the black revenge story a bloody voice and this is what Quentin is doing today with 'Django Unchained.'" Rasmussen tells The Playlist.

During the interview, Rasmussen disclosed that Tarantino worked on several re-writes of the script, which he has been "bouncing off the actress/director…," says The Playlist.

She states, "Just last night, he read me something. He’s like, ‘Oh, I just wrote this new dialogue, will you check this out?’. I can’t believe that Leonardo DiCaprio is going to say these words. I can’t believe it. People are going to stand up in their seats when this Tarantino rant is going on screen. I don’t know what. I’m so excited about it I’m about to lose my cool.”

Rassmussen admits she would like a role in the film, but says her Scandinavian looks do not fit the physical profile of any of the film's characters, adding, “Well, I am white in case you didn’t notice. I am blue-eyed and Scandinavian, so there isn’t a part that even slightly, remotely resembles my physique. But there is a part being written that I would say is very much based on me, but she’s a sister. So, I don’t think anybody would appreciate me trying to do a black face like Robert Downey Jr.

Lastly, Rasmussen hopes Django will have the same effect on audiences that Jackie Brown had on her.  She says, “I’m thinking this is going to revolutionize. If this doesn’t change the face of movies, then Hollywood is really, truly motherfucking racist. Because they didn’t pick up on it with 'Jackie Brown,' which is one my favorite movies of all time. I think it’s the most, like, adult movie we’re going to see out of Quentin Tarantino. It didn’t do it with 'Jackie Brown' because people just weren’t smart enough. That’s my deduction of it. But this is gonna change it, I just know it.”

OK, I really, really hate to be the devil's advocate, but is anyone else a tad disturbed by her remarks? Yes, we do not know what kind of changes to the script there's been, and hopefully, the final film will put some of us, who are outraged perplexed by the original script's (which I read and Tambay reviewed months back) sexually exploitative nature, at ease. Based on that original script alone, I need help understanding how the embracing of this film by audiences and critics will prove that Hollywood is truly not that racist. I'm also not sure how I feel about one of the black female characters being inspired by Rasmussen. I know inspiration can take different forms; we're all human, but there's just something not sitting well with me overall.

Thoughts?

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Comments

Donella

Due to Quentin Tarantino's limitations as a writer and gratuitous overuse of racial epithets against Black people, I will support Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" instead.

matt

The fact of the matter is that Quentin Tarantino is going to be legendary for as long as film is a popular medium. He will be looked back upon as a filmic genius. Everybody who insists that an artist should not be allowed to simultaneously entertain, offend, suggest and educate is off their rocker.
The problem is that our culture is stuck in these archetypes of what is serious and what is schlock. If something smells low-brow to the general public, it gets dismissed as such, regardless of the fact that this guy's movies offer some of the greatest high-brow observations we've ever seen on film.
People just aren't smart enough to accept that you can make smart stuff and wrap it in corny crap without either being cancelled out.
In a few years, the history channel will teach viewers that QT was as good as he really was, that way non-plussers will be able to voice an appropriate opinion.
People who don't get him are today's equivalent of those who would look at Andy Warhol's stuff and just see comic books amongst cans of tomato soup.

D. Simon

Perhaps this maybe portrayed as a black american…, frankly, in my opinion the film shows no promise. Is QT a writer, did he not quit HS. at any rate, it appears he is full of himself and as much as he may disagree I must suggest to him to please be real, or at the least to workout, be nice and remember where he came from – the least I can say is good luck, I have to say the great thing is that it is providing a lot of folks a paycheck..money during such recession.. so much dishonesty within the business.. "the rich get richer" the poor get poorer by their own ignorance and lack of their own ambition.

T. Clo

I've read the latest script about 3 times and I see a former slave kicking ass in the name of justice, trying to save the love of his life. I'm trying to understand what is the problem with this. Oh, is it because we see African people as slaves and how we were treated by whites during that time? It's interesting how Jewish people have no problem presenting the holocaust to the world, yet Black folks don't want to deal with that part of America's ugly history. No, I say keep it alive, keep it in the raw and lets enjoy Django kicking ass and taking names.

Ok

I'm looking forward to seeing DJANGO!! Ms. Rie Rasmussen's comment's make me even more intrigued!!! Growing up in that Era or living in this one does not dicount a person's knowledge of what has happened or what is still happening. When people pick up a book, check the internet, or get involved in their community and realize what's going on in this society, then maybe we as people can start to support each other. I will continue to support people who realize that Whiteywood caters to the society that they believe built America!

HarveyDent

None so blind as those that refuse to see

urbanauteur

Exhume the body(politic) of movie,GOODBYE UNCLE TOM!!!!…or bust!

CareyCarey

The Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights act did not solve many of the problems for black Americans, but one street-wise black man brought it all into focus. Check this —–> OOOOWEEEEE YOUR KILLING ME….PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE…HOT PANTS….I BREAK OUT IN A COLD SWEAT….I GOT THE FEELING….SAY IT LOUD (JAMES BROWN) I AM BLACK AND I AM PROUD. :-) …Yep, it took a dynamic poor black man from Macon Georgia to say it loud and clear…….Get on up, get on up, stay on the scene like a loving machine…keep the feeling as sure as your born, get it together, right on, right on…shake your money maker, shake YO money maker, right on, right on. ….. Yep, those are very wise words, so I am here to agree with RONALD M & FRANKB. I mean, before James Brown said

Say it loud, I'm black and I'm proud,
Say it louder, I'm black and I'm proud, now we demand a chance to do things for ourselves…We tired of beating our heads against the wall
And working for someone else *stop*… we were called negroes and colored folks. And now we are crying about what a white woman said???!!! And please excuse me, but who said slavery is OUR story? That is a ridiculous assertion. I am suggesting (just as RONALD M & FRANKB did) that slavery stor(ies) should not and can not be linked to, nor owned by one’s skin color or place of birth. Seriously, it’s unthinkable to suggest that white people have very little understanding of the effects of slavery on our culture. If we were to believe in that ideology, none of us could tell the stories of slavery because none of us (white, black or red) lived in that time period. In short, I am riding with PROFESSOR FRANKB on this one. I look forward to seeing QT’s Django Unchained and Steve McQueen's 12 years as a slave! I will view them both as movies and entertainment, while I leave my politics at the door. I mean, come on people, James Brown said it 40 years ago…do YO THANG…shake YO MONEY MAKER…get off your hands and knees….get on up and stop bitchin and moanin about what another man is doing…..OOOOOWEEEE, YAWL KILLING ME :-O

Jack Frost

OK, so because audiences didn't like Jackie Brown they "weren't smart enough"?
Sigh, this chick is way too young and immature for Hollywood. She'll get eaten alive.

I have an IQ of 160. I hold two college degrees and I work in a highly competitive field.
I love QT's movies. But I did not like Jackie Brown and that means I'm not smart?

Come on now.

MovieDude1

As a white man, I am not offended by Steve McQueen's new movie Shame, about a white man who is a bit of a pervert, and this movie shows graphic sexuality. In fact, I'll give my 10 bux to go see it. McQueen's blackness has nothing to do with how I feel about what will be portrayed on screen.

Donella

I remain hopeful that Django Unchained will bankrupt everyone involved with its creation.

J

In all fairness, this chick wasn't in America when Pam Grier was dominating in the 70s so… I can understand that silly comment… and on the movie… Tarantino really does push the edge with me as far as the racist thing goes… but then I look at the institutionalized racism in Hollywood(black guy always dies, gets paid less), and I think to myself, 1: by comparison, I'd rather go for a white guy's perspective of racism than being bombarded with subliminal racism, and 2: With the pattern of institutionalized racism in Hollywood, I find Tarantino actually tries to put it on its ear by bringing the issues to the forefront, and yet at the same time black people I take it more as Tarantino respecting and appreciating black culture… especially more than other directors that tend to just kill off the black guy for no reason whatsoever(I'm looking at you Rocky 4). I appreciate his black characters in past movies had a bit of soul and swag, displaying the strength in being "black," in the sense of being passionate and strong in all that we do. Think about that next time you see a QT movie fellow black folks… and also.. he is white so he isn't going to get the black perspective perfect.

FrankB

So in a film about racism and slavery, sexual exploitation has no place? So you are all saying that slaves were not sexually exploited? Or would you just like this to be avoided because it makes you uncomfortable? As a male, I have had a difficult time getting into the feminist-film areas of my university as a professor, and I feel that QT is facing these issues, on a much larger scale, with racism and being a white man. One's views/beliefs and right to tell a story should not be linked to his own skin color. I am super excited about this movie, and I did not have a problem with Rasmussen's enthusiasm, because I share it. It does not mater where she is from or what her skin color is; this is a film, and she is a film maker. Even more, this is a QT film, and she is a QT fan.

FrankB

Love it!! I teach women in film courses at a university and run a feminist-film track for the graduate department, also dealing with a "minorities and media" curriculum, and I can not wait for this film. I am not sure what you are disturbed by. I only show films directed by women, and I will definitely be keeping an eye on Rasmussen!

southieBKgirl

Won't be watching QT's film, but will watch Steve McQueen's 12 years as a slave!

B

Many of these comments made me fall out laughing and nodding my head (i.e. Shebababy and Dorian Missick). I personally despise the white privilege stink of Quentin Tarantino, and I always have. I think he, as another commenter said, "revel[s] in this black/sex-ploitation thing" far too much. I'll never quite understand how he is constantly given a pass for the overtly effed up gender and race politics of his films. As bell hooks articulated brilliantly, Quentin Tarantino is "post-modernism all dressed up with nowhere to go." I won't spend a penny on this film. At best, I might netflix it, and that's a big might – from what I saw of the script and reviews, the whole thing reeks of racist/sexist exploitation and not in a constructive way. No, I don't think we need to try to boil slavery down into something nonoffensive – that's impossible: it was the most offensive, inhumane, disgusting institution there ever was. But I think that we can do slavery films in such a way that we aren't degraded by the films themselves – I mean, slavery was degrading enough. This can only be done, however, if WE tell our own stories. White folks will never get it. Ever. Homegirl Rasmussen and QT being great examples of just how far white folks are from getting it. (QT gave Pam Grier a voice? That heifer is hopelessly stupid.)

We are well past the time where we need white folks to tell our stories – hell, even Spielberg said this years later after he did The Color Purple. Tarantino didn't get the memo, clearly.

Shebababy

This bi%$h is delusional. Point blank period.

Dorian Missick

She is not to be taken seriously. This woman is not American, she probably has very little understanding of the effects of slavery on our culture. She suffers from a condition commonly found in privileged society. It usually occurs as a result of listening to too much Little Wayne and watching too many episodes of The Wire at once. The results are most often a false sense of understanding of the Black struggle and a need to be the lone cool white person to speak out on behalf of us African Americans (besides, some of their best friends are…you get it). They are usually surprised when they are slapped silly as opposed to slapped a high five because they really think they are doing a good thing. Po baby…forgive her. But quite honestly, that script (I'm assuming it was the revision I read) was disturbing and entertaining…just what good art should be.

MacUffin

We should all be grateful to have QT as the savior of black film.

James

I don't think it's possible to do an honest film about slavery and not deal with sexual exploitation.
That's a HUGE part of the history of slavery from people being stripped & sold like livestock to being used as their owners' felt appropriate, with no say or recourse. If you're outraged, disturbed and perplexed, GOOD! You should be! Slavery was a hellish institution that nurtured every sort of depravity and inhumanity. There are a lot of people who still try to soft-pedal it & they mustn't be allowed to get away with it any longer.

ronald m

What's Django Unchained? Seriously. Why everytime a big budget / known film with black leads is released there is always some race type debate/comments. It's entertainment folks. Next thing you know they'll ask Tyler Perry, Spike Lee or Oprah their opinion about this film. There's enough money in black hollywood to get films off the ground. Obviously its not a problem because if it were wouldn't those black producers/actors/writers/directors work on projects together? Call me when Will Smith and Denzel are in a movie together.

Cynthia

Me thinks some MAJOR rewrites have taken place with this script. Hmm…

Ethan hunt

QT IS THE GREATEST DIRECTOR OF THIS ERA

tee

LMAO at all the comments of people sprouting off something negative. Let the Scandinavian have her opinion. At least she meant well. I would rather hang out with her than David Duke.

Word

WFT!?! Seriously? Just what is it about this movie that black people are suppose to get behind? I guess we're suppose to be happy just for the job or to see some black faces in a movie. No matter what the movie is actually about. Sounds like a slap in the face disguised as a compliment? It is nearly 2012 and black actors/actresses are still getting the message that if you want to work in this industry you better be willing to play slaves and maids. And be thankful! Nothing about this sits well with me, at all! The day Quentin Taratino speaks for me is the day I get my head examine!

JMac

What everyone said so far except Harriet Tubman. If you've got an inside scoop on the final script share it all otherwise your words mean nothing esp. to people who do not have the means to attend select venues and where there has been no mention anywhere in the internet universe of black writers, directors, or producers being involved with this project.

Nia

Okay I REALLY wanted to understand. I did. I keep telling myself "Oh it'll be like and Inglorious Basterds/Sweet Sweetback/Coffy mash up." I expected tongue in cheek dark humor and bloody retribution and that's something I want to see. Being tired of the same contrived biopics about slavery I want to see someone take matters into their own hands.
Her comments jarred me. Maybe I was turning a blind eye to what this movie is fundamentally about. Becuase most of the blaxploitation movies she claims nobody knows about were relative successes for their time. Pam Grier is an icon. ICON. I doubt Quetin Tarantino's movie can rival the amount of Raw emotion these past movies had injected into their projects, but I hoped at least it would be an homage to what blaxploitation signifies.
This woman sounds ignorant. Is it because shes not from here or just because she's being insensitive under the pretext of "keepin' it real"? "Sister"? Are you kidding me!? Kerry Washington has more of an education than this woman can hope to have and she called her a damn sister!? I don't know how I feel about this now. Maybe she just misused her words and that's not what Tarentino was going for at all, but definitely makes me wonder.

Said

Rie Rasmussen says, "Honestly, when I look at it and what Quentin loves, he gave blaxploitation films a voice, he gave Pam Grier that voice. She was it and he’s just this white guy. He was giving the black revenge story a bloody voice and this is what Quentin is doing today with 'Django Unchained.'"…uhm, no. Pam Grier already had a voice. Blaxploitation had a voice. Black revenge has a voice. She's just trying to generate controversy for a film that she feels deep inside won't do well…

K

Her comments are soaked in white privilege and the nasty back-patting that comes from white people shutting black people out of telling our full and more accurate stories, in order to get the glory of "bringing it to light". She was doing the most with these comments; so much so that it's laughable. But it's also sobering to, as was previously stated, get a glimpse into the mindset Taratino and his camp are bringing to this film. (As though we didn't know this about QT anyways, but still..DAMN.)

Nemesis

LOL. Oh dear… I've read the script too, and it left me speechless – sadly, not for the same reasons that Rasmussen might think.

I tried to read it with the tone of Inglorious Basterds at the forefront of my mind, but even then it didn't sit too well with me, and I'm one to often roll my eyes at overly sensitive (in my view), knee-jerk reactions to the offence some black people take to anything related to race. But this…

Yes, it's a revenge movie but, as with most films with a black lead, it needs a white man to make it plausible because, it would seem, no black man would ever consider revenging white misdeeds without the help, and superior knowledge, of a white man. However, from slave rebellions all over the US South and the Caribbean, to the Mau-Mau in Kenya, this is obviously not true. But hey, this is Hollywood. It might be called Django, but this isn't really his film. Even the final denouement comes across like Django wreaking revenge for his white partner.

And much is made in the script of the use and abuse of black women, but with a hint of latent (or even blatant, it sometimes read like) lasciviousness rather than outrage. Even when they're treated well, a point is made in the script about them being taken to a slave auction town for romantic weekends, so that they don't forget how good they have it and how easily they could lose that privilege. Fine, fair enough, but can we at least see some less passive, less accepting black women in the film! Not in the version of the script I read.

I hope the script has changed substantially, as I read in the comments on another post a reader say that they were looking forward to the kick-ass black female character in Django. Um, they may have to contend with Colombiana for that.

I've no doubt Rasmussen means well, but this just wreaks of liberal white folk treating black folk like a cause… a bit like trying to save wales or lions from poachers. And while I'm sure she knows her onions when it comes to filmmaking (that's an assumption I'm willing to make, anyway), why, oh why, couldn't Tarantino find any black people (men and women) to consult on this? It's not because he doesn't know any! His honorary black card is going to his head, I think. We know he's fond of using the "N" word, but does he even have to use it in the narrative part of his script (e.g. when he's describing events in the scene), not just when it's coming out of a character's mouth.

After Inglorious Basterds, I was looking forward to Django, but neither the black male nor female at the center of this story has the legs that the jewish female lead in IB had. Seems even Tarantino is aware that angry black people is not something that mainstream America can take without some torture porn action taking place before hand that might… perhaps… justify his action.

I can't see this moving changing attitudes to racism in Hollywood. At best, it'll justifying a slew of hideous "blaxpoitation-esque" efforts. Just what we need to expand the portrayal of images of black people.

Neziah

I like her already. :)

"I need help understanding how the embracing of this film by audiences and critics will prove that Hollywood is truly not that racist."

First off, strong black characters.

Secondly, blacks portrayed with intelligence.

Thirdly, blacks fighting back against the white man for their freedom and independence.

I don't know how the final script is going to be either, I'm just making predictions based on her remarks; She obviously knows what's going down.

Colored

This is a glimpse at what Tarantino and his camp think about what they are doing. He sees himself as a hero. Right there, we have a problem. I found this a fascinating glimpse into the mind of this man and frankly all these white men who are green lighting and participating in this garbage. Shame on Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington for being pawns in this mess.

sandra

Tarantino consulted with her….oooooook. Hopefully he consulted with other people who can actually provide him with insight on the material. It sounds like this movie is getting the typical hollyweird treatment. NEXT.

Dee

Someone tell this C*** that Blaxploitation had a voice before QT's appropriating ass was born let alone before he started making film.

What she means is ignorant individuals such as herself didn't give Blaxploitation any credit before QT brought it to their attention.

Well f..k her I'll never watch any of her output and if she's in Django Unchained, there's a film I won't be watching.

Cortez

I don't understand how this film, based on what's been revealed, will prove that Hollywood is or isn't racist but whatever…I appreciate the love for "Jackie Brown" though. Her comments on Hollywood not picking up on that gem are true.

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