"For what we go through as black Americans, the reason that we don't like to talk about slavery is cause it's so
ugly," Jamie Foxx said at Tuesday night's New York premiere of "Django Unchained," hosted by The Hollywood Reporter & Samsung Galaxy with the Cinema Society.
That ugliness is on full display in "Django Unchained," director Quentin Tarantino's latest film, which exposes America's harsh and violent past over the course of its nearly three-hour running time.
The film follows Jamie Foxx as a freed slave named Django, who is working with a bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz) to find and reunite with his wife (Kerry Washington). Django runs into trouble amidst evil plantation owners in a racially divided South.
Tarantino is famous for pushing boundaries with his films, but when it came to the filming of "Django Unchained," he was pushing his actors too.
Leonardo DiCaprio, who plays a notorious plantation owner in "Django," has spoken out about the horrendously violent and racist nature of his character. "I'm not always nice, but this character in particular was probably the most disreputable, horrendous, narcissistic bastard I've ever read in my entire life," DiCaprio said at the premiere. "When Quentin Tarantino gives you an opportunity to play somebody like that, you have to take those opportunities. He really writes the best villains ever. This guy was the worst of the worst, he really was."
But it wasn't just the characters they were playing that made an impact on the cast; it was the places Tarantino decided to film "Django Unchained" as well.
"When we actually went to these plantations, it was a real thing," Tarantino said. "None of us are going to forget the making of this movie and it really kind of rocked our worlds a little bit and you could capture that on film."
So what makes actors keep coming back to his films -- and for that matter, begging for parts in them?
"Great stories, great characters, too much fun on set, the camaraderie." Samuel L. Jackson explained. "It's everybody -- we don't have electronics on set so there's no phones, no iPads, nothing. We have to talk to each other. He plays music between takes, people dance, people sing. On the weekends, he has Quentin Tarantino theater, so he screens movies. He either screens kung-fu movies, Westerns, or horror movies, or some other classic. We all go to movies together and watch movies -- we hang out!"
"It's Quentin Tarantino, it's Samuel L. Jackson, it's Christoph Waltz ... I mean, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, Don Johnson -- that's great company," Foxx said. "It's the most humbling experience when you get an opportunity to be in a movie which is gonna be a big film and be able to do your art with all of these great people. You're riding horses, you're spinning guns, you're having a good time."
Foxx is confident that the audiences will have a good time as well. "I've never seen a director do this where he takes a subject matter like slavery and manages to put a certain good feeling into it," Foxx continued. "When it needs to get serious, it's very, very serious, it's very, very tough, but he was abe to navigate through it and people come out of this movie with a completely different outlook."
The ever-candid Sharon Osbourne, who has no role in the film but was at Tuesday night's premiere, had an entirely different reason for her admiration of Tarantino. "I love him," she said. "Because I've had sex with him and it was wonderful."
"Django Unchained" hits theaters Dec. 25.
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