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Nothing To See Here: There’s Little Reason To Be Worried About ‘Django Unchained’

Nothing To See Here: There's Little Reason To Be Worried About 'Django Unchained'

Let’s try and keep this brief, shall we? Two actors dropped out of Quentin Tarantino‘s would-be subversive Western cum slave epic “Django Unchained” this week — to be more exact, the news of these two actors dropping out of the film came out this week. Presumably this actually happened a while ago. Sacha Baron Cohen had to exit the film to do press for his upcoming comedy, “The Dictator,” and he and his people surely gave Tarantino and the producers a heads up about this, so it came as no sudden surprise.

Kurt Russell also dropped out of “Django Unchained” although his reasons are more nebulous, with some rumors claiming he stormed off set and quit, presumably because the material was too controversial. However, this posit seems rather ridiculous as Russell obviously read the script and knew what was involved (though apparently there are dubious eye witness accounts of the actor being on set; did he have a change of heart while actually having to play one of the backwood bigoted hillbillies in the movie?)

Some operating from a distant level have shown concern. “Two major actors dropped out!!!” they exclaim. Could something be wrong with the production? Worry and concern is clearly creeping into the movie blogosphere.

But here’s a reason why you shouldn’t fret (and you may have got a sense of this if you read our casting suggestions piece based on the script way back when). While fanboys never want to admit that Tarantino is anything less than perfect at all times, these two incidents may be the best two things to happen to “Django Unchained” since it was announced. Clocking in at almost 270 pages (approx 2hrs 45 min), the screenplay — unlike the similarly long “Inglourious Basterds,” which rightfully did earn itself a Best Original Screenplay nomination — Tarantino’s slave picture (which is essentially just another revenge picture) is undisciplined, unwieldy and epically long.

There are lots of tangents and detours, and fat does need to be trimmed from this script. Moreover, both Russell and Cohen’s parts were small, and at this juncture there likely won’t be recasting so don’t get your hopes up for the return of Kevin Costner (who was originally pegged to play Russell’s character). While Cohen was likely being a little modest when he called his role a “cameo” it was a rather brief sub-plot, so if it’s been excised entirely as some have speculated, this isn’t a bad thing. Additionally, rumors that allege Walton Goggins‘ character has absorbed the parts of Kurt Russell’s character makes total sense: “Django Unchained” is littered with A, B and C sub-villains (almost all of them white, cowboy/slave owner/hillbilly types from the south) that tend to blur together. Ditching one of them can’t hurt at all. In fact, it only helps. So two actors drop out and this potentially super-promising film gets shorter and more focused? Great, this is exactly what it needs. Don’t be concerned or worried. In fact, be happy, as this is exactly what the doctor ordered. “Django Unchained,” the already wisely tightened version, hits theaters on Christmas Day later this year.

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Comments

Caleb

This article is almost entirely comprised of conjecture, with little or no substance at all. Since when did the Tarantino camp hire the Playlist to play PR? I honestly hope you're getting some kind of compensation for that opus of dismissive bullshit. Look how ridiculously presumptuous you've allowed yourself to be with someone else's work. Big balls, really.

And what's with the fanboy digs lately? Do you seriously not know what you are?

Fred

Call me a Tarantino fan and believer or the same of Altman, Anderson, Lean, Fellini, Kurosawa, Lean, etc….not everyone wants everything tightened and shrunk to an MTV/ADD/Film School 101/extra-showtime-a-day standard. If it's good, more is often better.

Doctor Goodspeed

Whoever wrote this clearly hasn't read the script too well, as Russell's role wasn't "small" it was the 4th biggest role in the entire movie, so yeah. But blending it with Goggins' Billy Crash is a good idea, and I still say they should get Jonah Hill back for Scotty

Duddi

Well, why not just give a ring to Val Kilmer – i'm sure he's home having snacks, and waiting for something good to come !!! :)

d

The character of Scott Harmony was crucial….
the fact that Ace Woody's character was merged with Billy Crash is another yikes point..
I wish Q.T wouldn't rush his movies…He rushed Inglorious Basterds and that movie was O.K the script was AMAZING. Looks like this is gonna be the same…

Joe

Wouldn't the 270-page script suggest a runtime of 4 hrs, 3o min (rather than the 2:45 you listed), going by the 1 page = 1 minute standard? Not that I would actually expect anything close to a 4-plus-hour movie, but I'm just wondering what the math is on that – how 270 pages translates to 165 minutes.

Helgi

I am more concerned about the editing of this overly long film – who will edit it? Tarantino´s long-time editor/friend died last year. Who will replace her?

WRT

You're absolutely dead wrong dismissing SBC's part as "a rather brief sub-plot" that might just as well be excised. It was an absolutely CRITICAL flashback that clued us in to where Django's wife had been since she and Django had been split up. Yes, Scotty in-and-of-himself isn't critical, and surely another actor could play him, but you can't just lose that information and have the same movie. And to trim all the "fat" from the script would be to undermine Tarantino's aesthetic: his movies are disgressive, excessive, and long. This could be a 90 min thriller, but we'd have seen it before (structurally, narratively). The fat is what will allow DU to distinguish itself, among other things — though, I suppose I agree with the specific point that the loss of one of many redneck villain types isn't the end of the world

Sam

if there's any bad news come along, please put another picture. I'm starting to pity Leonardo diCaprio in this..

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