Quentin Tarantino isn’t one to ever softball anything. But his extensive knowledge and love for films allows him to be the way his is and say the things he says. With Django Unchained just a few more weeks away from release, the director is now talking about the casting process, particularly for the role of Django, which many prominent African American actors tested for. He is also speaking out about a possible retirement from making movies some time in the near future.
Tarantino talked recently about his directing resume, and aiming at having ten films on it before retiring. Django Unchained would mean that he would be three more projects away from retirement, which means that the Kill Bill projects are a single entity even though they are split into two films.
The director addressed the possibility of retiring, and here is what he had to say:
I just don’t want to be an old-man filmmaker. I want to stop at a certain point. Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f*cks up three good ones … When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty. I’m on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something. You stop when you stop, but in a fanciful world, 10 movies in my filmography would be nice. I’ve made seven. If I have a change of heart, if I come up with a new story, I could come back. But if I stop at 10, that would be okay as an artistic statement.
Ten films is a fine way to end a career, and what he says about having one bad film ruin three good ones is right to a certain extent. As the saying goes, we remember more of the bad than we remember of the good.
Talking about what it was like to cast the role of Django, Tarantino apparently talked to six different actors for the role. Six different actors with different takes on their acting career. Here’s the full quote.
“I met six different actors and had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all of their work. Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, M. K. Williams [from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire
], Tyrese. They all appreciated the material, and I was going to put them through the paces, make them go off against one another and kind of put up an obstacle course.
And then I met Jamie and realized I didn’t need to do that. He was the cowboy… Forget the fact that he has his own horse — and that is actually his horse in the movie. He’s from Texas; he understands. …He understood what it’s like to be thought of as an ‘other.’”
Obviously every actor would have had a different take on the role, but it really would have been interesting to see how each of them approached it. For one thing everyone appreciated and respected the material. Will Smith was one actor who was also approached for the role, but things did not pan out well, and Tarantino said that the meeting was “an excuse for us to hang out and spend time with one another…it just wasn’t 100 percent right, and we didn’t have time to try to make it that way.”