With filming now well underway and a few glossy images appearing in a recent issue of EW, one would think that the cast has been pretty much nailed down for Quentin Tarantino‘s latest, “Django Unchained.” But that appears not to be the case with Kurt Russell joining the ever-growing list of actors to have left the project. The Playlist have confirmed with the reps for the actor that Russell has indeed left the film though no reason has been given. According to the (only occasionally reliable) IMDB boards (via The Film Stage) the actor was “unhappy with his role” and left the set because the film wasn’t “western enough.” Seems unlikely that an actor as professional as Russell would storm off the set of a director he’d previously worked with, but whatever the case it’s certainly a loss for his fan base, which should be, uh, everyone who grew up in the ’80s.
As we mentioned, Russell isn’t the first actor to have left the project, as scheduling and other woes have already seen Joseph Gordon Levitt, Jonah Hill, Sacha Baron Cohen and Kevin Costner (who had originally been earmarked for Russell’s part) have all come and gone. This means that the role of Ace Woody, the mandingo trainer that serves as villain Calvin Candie (DiCaprio)’s right hand man, still needs to be filled. We’d originally thought of Josh Brolin, but AICN suggests that he won’t be replaced at all, instead the role will be cut and the part absorbed by Walton Goggins‘ character Billy Crash. Not a bad idea to cut down some of the characters in the sprawling script but we should know for certain soon enough. The cast members who have been locked in for Tarantino’s slavery epic are Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, Kerry Washington, James Remar, Don Johnson, John Jarratt, RZA and Walton Goggins among others.
“Django Unchained” is scheduled to hit theaters Christmas day.