There has been a lot of talk about Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. World-renowed film director Spike Lee made headlines when he said he refuses to watch the film because ‘it’s disrespectful to my ancestors.’ Many African Americans agreed with Spike Lee and have decided to boycott the film as well. Criticism and boycotts didn’t stop Django Unleashed from exceptional success that is expected to outshine the current most successful Tarantino film.
Jackson sat down with Deadline.com to discuss bonding with Quentin Tarantino, prestigious film awards (e.g. Oscars and Golden Globes), and his character — a free slave who oversees the other slaves — named Stephen. View excerpts from the interview below:
On the controversy surrounding the film and the common interest he and Tarantino have:
I would say that Quentin’s way is the way to reach a larger audience, and slavery seems to be another backdrop. We seldom understand that when people were out there shooting Indians or whatever, on the other side of the Mississippi there were people getting beaten down. This is the first time those genres cross paths. When you take that and make it entertaining in a way, you express the brutality of what slavery really was, of how people were really property and the way people treated them. Everyone’s all ‘oh my god, Quentin’s written ‘nigger’ 176 times on a script again’… This is a homage to Mandingo, those movies Quentin likes. He has a habit of mixing genres of movies he likes. Django Unchained is essentially a spaghetti western exploitation movie with some Hong Kong overtones. He knows the movies that we like. I tend to go on location with about 30 Hong Kong films — I have a lot of Asian crime films in my trailer just to pass the time. Every time he’d pass my trailer he’d ask, ‘what are you watching now?’ and we’ll talk about it. We had long conversations about those movies. We tend to watch the same kind of bullshit. Entertainment.
On not getting a Golden Globe nomination for Django Unchained:
I understand what the Golden Globes is. It’s the only show they (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) have and is their biggest moneymaker so you have to pack the room with people that are going to make people tune into that show. With popular actors and the popular television shows, it’s whoever they think people want to see on the red carpet and hope that they win, not necessarily the quality of work you’ve done.
I figured out early in the game that the best thing for me to do is just keep going to work. I don’t worry about picking a movie that says ‘oh my god, this has Oscar potential’. Other people think about that stuff, I don’t. I look at some actors and go ‘they only do those kinds of movies’. I do movies I want to see myself.