Monday, June 13, 2011

Unpopular Opinion: Casting For Django Unchained

Not exactly breaking news at this point, as I'm sure we've all heard about Quentin Tarantino's next project, Django Unchained. For those not knowing, it basically boils down to this:

"It’s a western whose lead character is a former slave who is in league with Waltz to save his wife from an evil plantation owner." *provided by Quentin's representatives.

Further information followed, with a plot description listed on the blog, Shadow and Act

“Django is a freed slave, who, under the tutelage of a German bounty hunter (played by Christopher Waltz the evil Nazi officer in Inglorious Basterds) becomes a bad-ass bounty hunter himself, and after assisting Waltz in taking down some bad guys for profit, is helped by Waltz in tracking down his slave wife and liberating her from an evil plantation owner. And that doesn’t even half begin to cover it! This film deals with racism as I’ve rarely seen it handled in a Hollywood film. While it’s 100 percent pure popcorn and revenge flick, it is pure genius in the way it takes on the evil slave owning south. Think of what he did with the Nazis in Inglorious and you’ll get a sense of what he’s doing with slave owners and slave overseers in this one.”

Almost immediately after this information leaked, the Internet began making pitches for their favorite Black actors, to step into the titular role of Django. As expected people start listing the same go-to black actors we've seen in films over the last 10 to 15 years. Don Cheadle, Chiwetel Ejifor, Michael Jai White, Tyrese (ha!), and Samuel Jackson.


I haven't gotten to my unpopular opinion yet.

Ready for it?

Here it comes.

Over the past few weeks, Idris Elba has been rumored to be a front runner, while Michael K. Williams has expressed interest in the role.


I know The Wire has sacred cow status for the pop culture elite (yes, it's a damn good show), but cherry picking from its cast just seems...i don't know...easy?  I understand the brothers need work, and they should have an opportunity to escape typecast, but I kinda think The Wire is still too fresh in our minds. It's one of the reasons I can't get with the Chalky White character on Boardwalk Empire.

I have an idea. How about casting an unknown? Can we not boost the profile of a relatively new actor, or attempt to make a new star? A number of films over the last few years have cast newcomers who garnered a lot of acclaim in breakout roles.

Perhaps the same can be done with this project.

Unless they really try to please the studios and stakeholders by casting Big Willie, I really don't think it matters much who they cast as Django. Why? Because the real star of the film is...

It's truly the only name that matters here. More so than Brad Pitt, Uma Thurman, John Travolta, or Leo Dicaprio.

Along the way he's helped to raise the profile of actors such as Steve Buscemi, Sam Jackson (ugh...), and Christoph Waltz. While he might be able to do the same for Elba, or Williams, I'm sure they'll be able to get roles in the foreseeable future based off of the their work on The Wire.

Quentin, for this project, I would like you to give 'Joe Blackman' a chance.



The Great Gats, B said...

You fuck with the original Django or any of the unofficial sequels like Django Kill... If You Live, Shoot!, Boothe?

Wonder if whoever gets the black dude role will be a victim of black-man-in-a-horror-movie syndrome like poor Darwin in X-Men : First Class recently?

Boothe said...

Haha, yeah there's been a lot of internet talk about Darwin's treatment in the movie. I heard it's about as subtle as a brick to the back of the skull.

Haven't seen any of the Django films, but I will add them to the viewing queue.

done said...

Least The Wire had a good cast, theres an unwritten law if any film is made over here it has to include at least four actors from our hilariously terrible soap, Fair City.

Think hes always gonna be Omar to me, I kept expecting him to whistle or something in Boardwalk. You seen Elba's recent show, Luther? Cant vouch for it myself but It seems to be getting good reports.

The Great Gats, B said...

It's just occurred to me who I'd like to play him : Terry Crews.

Boothe said...

Crews seems a little too kick ass for me.

Haven't had a chance to read the script yet, but I'm hoping Django is a little more crafty, and less schwarzenegger like.

Oh, the latest word is that Jamie Foxx is now front runner.

That's my worst nightmare squared.

The Great Gats, B said...

Jesus Christ.

Mr Bozack said...

Foxx?! Fck me - might as well stick Puffy up in there. Or Lenny Henry.