Quentin Tarantino's Fascinating Interview with Henry Louis Gates Jr. on Racism and the N-Word in 'Django Unchained'
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Quentin Tarantino: Well, you know if you're going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you're going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you're going see some things that are going be ugly. That's just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land.
Personally, I find [the criticism] ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, "You use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi." Well, nobody's saying that. And if you're not saying that, you're simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest.
No, I don't want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water.
On whether Tarantino cut out any scenes while editing:
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: Were there any scenes left on the cutting room floor that are just too graphic or depressing to include in the film? And if so, will we ever see them, and what were they?
Quentin Tarantino: Nothing that was too graphic. But there were versions of the movie, getting to the version that we have now, where both the Mandingo fighting [male slaves fighting to the death for sport] and the dog scene [were] even worse ... even more violent. I can handle rougher stuff than most people. I can handle more viscera than most. So to me it was OK.
But you know, you make your movie and you get it to a certain point where we've seen it ourselves enough -- now we have to see it with an audience. And this movie has to work -- all my movies have to work this way -- but this one kind of even more so had to work on a bunch of different levels.
The comedy had to be able to work, the horrific serious scenes have to work, I have to be able to get you to laugh a sequence after that to bring you back from [the horrific scene]. We have to be at the right place in the story where the big suspense scene at the dinner table happens so that will pay off.
Now, I'll talk a little bit in code, but you'll know what I mean, and I don't think it will spoil anything. But by the way, I actually don't mind people knowing that Django triumphs at the end.
But there's that moment where Django turns to Broomhilda and has that kind of punky smile that he does. If I've done my job right, modulating this movie and doing it the right way, then the audience will burst into applause. They'll clap with Broomhilda. They'll laugh when Django and his horse do the little dance. That means I've done it the right way. The audience is responding exactly the way I want them to.