Guest Post: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ Script Review

Script cover courtesy of Tarantino.info

So I got a hold of Tarantino’s new script Django Unchained and have read it three times, it’s probably one of the most exciting scripts I’ve read in a while. In case you don’t believe me, see the image to the right, it’s the front page of the script, if you go to some other sites to read the review of the script, you‘ll see the exact same page.

I also read the scripts of Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds way before the films came out and I thought those were great but Django was much better, so let‘s hope QT can turn it into a great film. Since the film hasn’t even been made or cast yet, I won’t go deep into the story, I have too much respect for QT to ruin his great work and spoil it for those who prefer to see the film. I’ll skim through some of the characters and what you can expect from the film. It’s basically a revenge/love story with Tarantino’s touch.

Fans of QT know that he love the cinemas of the 60s and 70s and this film will be his true homage to the spaghetti western genre and also a little bit of blaxpoitation films. Particularly he played a lot of homage to Once Upon a Time in the West and Mandingo. A lot of people assume it will be a remake of Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Django, but it’s not. Although the star from that film, Franco Nero, will probably have a minor role in Django Unchained, QT wrote a character especially for him. The story took place sometime in the 1800s, he never specify the year and right away we see to our hero Djangoand a couple of pages in we were introduce to our second hero, Dr. King Schultz. Since QT knows how to shoot a great action sequence, this opening scene will no doubt be spectacular once it’s on the screen, again I won’t spoil it for you but let’s just say Dr. Schultz is one bad ass character. Apparently QT wrote the part specifically for Christopher Waltz and if he accepts the role, no doubt he’ll own it like he did with Col. Landa.

Fan-made poster by Federico Mancosu

After we were introduced to our two heroes and a big action scene (trust me you‘re going to love the sequence and it was quite bloody too), just like in other QT’s films, he jump the story to another character with the usual screen fades to black and then title card telling us what we’re about to see now. In this segment we were introduced to Django’s wife Broomhilda and what happened to her after the opening scene. There’s a flashback scene in the beginning of the movie of Django and Broomhilda’s time together but a tragic event happened and they got separated.

Also, here we were introduced to the main villain, the slimy and despicable Calvin Candie. If you think Col. Landa or Bill were great villains, Candie might actually change your mind. I’d compare Calvin Candie to another despicable villain character, Judge Holden from Blood Meridien, a western novel written by Cormac McCarthy. I won’t be surprised at all if QT sort of based Calvin Candie on Holden. Later in this segment, we get to see Candie’s right hand man, a house slave named Stephen; he’s as nasty as Candie. Also there were some minor characters we were introduced to; these include a vicious killer who kills slaves for fun. There’s a scene in the script that’s very similar to a scene from Schindler’s List where Ralph Fienes’ character lined up Jewish prisoners and shot them in the head one by one; in this movie a few slaves were lined up and this character named Ace Woody starts shooting them in the head one by one. Then there was Candie’s lawyer Mr. Moguy, even though he’s in the rest of the film after we met him, he didn’t have a lot of dialog. The rest of the film takes place at Candie’s farm called Candyland, that’s where he pits slave fighters against one another.

As I mentioned before, this is one of the best scripts I’ve ever read and it has QT’s signature unexpected scene in it, you know like the one where Vincent shot Marvin in the face in Pulp Fiction or the shootout scene in the basement bar in Inglourious Basterds. In this one there’s a handshake scene that will make people laugh and jump at the same time, seriously it’s going to be awesome. What’s surprising to me though was how straight forward the plot of the film was, I was expecting something wild and crazy but what QT wrote was a true western with a lot of action and great characters. Now since the story is about slaves in the 1800s, the N-word were uttered by every major characters in the film except Broomhilda, so if you’re offended easily I don’t recommend you go see this film. Also, whichever actress who gets the role of Broomhilda, she’ll have to bear her skin quite a bit. There’s a couple of rape scenes and of course whipping. Just like the other QT’s films, it’s brutal and unflinching; I know for sure some scenes will make people very uncomfortable. One particular scene might not make it to the screen, it involved a runaway slave and huge hunting dogs, and I’ll let you use your imagination as to what happened in that scene.

QT and Christoph at the Governor’s Ball

In the last month or so Will Smith was the front runner to take the role of Django but looks like he’s backing away from it, probably because he doesn’t want to star in such a violent film, which is kind of funny because he was in Bad Boys 2 and that film was quite violent. If Smith won’t take the role then I would like to see maybe Anthony Mackie or Idris Elba. As for Dr. King Shultz, Christopher Waltz have to accept it, I can’t see anyone else in that role but him. If Alan Rickman were a bit younger, I think he’d be great for this role too. Rumors also been going around that Michael Fassbender was offered a role in the film, I assume it’s for Candie’s lawyer role Mr. Moguy, the role is minor and very similar to his character in Inglourious Basterds.

As for the villain Calvin Candie, apparently QT offered the role to Leonardo DiCaprio. This is kind of strange since he wrote the character as someone who’s in his late 40s or early 50s. If Leo accepts it then I’m sure QT can change the script and make the character younger. I actually like this move by QT a lot, cast one of the biggest stars in Hollywood as one of the most despicable villains ever and I think Leo can do it. It will be very interesting to see how people will react when he says the N-word to our hero and to all of the black characters in the film and trust me he uttered that word quite a bit. I think for the role of Broomhilda QT can probably cast some unknown actress since I assume some well-known ones might not want to take it. Like I mentioned before, the role will require the actress to be naked a lot and she got raped in a couple of scenes. For the role of house slave and second main villain Stephen, Samuel L. Jackson has apparently been offered the role and he’s perfect for it. In the script QT described him as a tall, skinny and in his 50s. He and Django do not like each other one bit and the showdown between them was pretty awesome, can’t ruin it for you though.

Now QT love to change his scripts so what I read might not be the final script but I hope he keeps most of it when he finally shoots the film. I remember he changed the script of Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, only about 60% to 70% of script made it to the screen. Whatever he decides to do, I’ll be there opening night. Seriously I can’t wait to see this movie but it won’t hit theaters ’til Christmas 2012!


So there you have it, an early review of QT’s new script that sure to be stirred up some controversies once it hits the big screen. What do you think? Will you go see it or are you not a fan of Tarantino? Feel free to leave your comments below.

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37 thoughts on “Guest Post: Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Django Unchained’ Script Review

        • No worries, I too can’t wait to see this on the big screen. Apparently Jamie Foxx has been offered the title role and I’m kind of worry about that. I just can’t take Foxx seriously at all and I don’t see him as an action hero. But I trust QT so I’m sure the film will be great even with Foxx as Django.

    • Yeah I’m very excited to see it too, I thought this script’s more polished than Kill Bill and Inglorious Basterds, I think it’s the closest to a shooting script as QT ever wrote. I’m sure he’ll make some more changes once he’s ready to shoot, especially if Leo accepts the Calvin Candie role. I actually won’t mind if he make changes to the script, i thought the climax felt a bit a rushed. Hopefully he’ll fresh it out a bit more and give us an epic western.

  1. Pingback: The Open Bar: June 17 — ANOMALOUS MATERIAL

  2. Damn, if Candie is even better than Landa, that would be spectacular! I’m really pulling for Idris Elba to get his first big time role.

    Awesome read Ted! Way to go talking about the script without spoiling the film :) I did the same thing for Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life last summer. Be prepared for a little heckling if this post spreads a bit as some people will absolutely hate your guts for reading a “leaked” script ;)

    • Yeah, talking about the script without spoiling the film is quite a feat, great job Ted! QT movies aren’t usually my cup of tea, but I was so impressed by Basterds and Kill Bill Vol. 1 so I might see this one.

    • Candie is the type that smile at you while he’s stabbing you in the back, QT wrote him as the most despicable character you’ll ever see on the big screen. I love to see Leo in the role, it would be a nice change for him.

      I’m sure some other people will give me crap once they read this, one other site actually gave away all of the plot and some of the surprises away and I think The Weinstein ordered them to take down the article. Yeah I read Malick’s Tree of Script last year too but since I haven’t seen the film yet, I don’t know how much of what he wrote made it to the screen. Don’t spoil it for me thought. :)

  3. I see this film as some Lars von Trier exercise for the black actors. If I was a starving actor and I was offered a role where other characters would treat me with racism and physical degradation, I don’t think I could do it. i don’t think I’d survive.

    I’ve only read two pages of the script and I can only imagine what the rest of it will be. It feels like it’s gonna be like Goodbye Uncle Tom.

    • I’m not a huge fan of Von Trier and only saw two of his films so I can’t really comment there.

      I think you’ll be surprise how straight forward the plot is if you decide to finish the script. Yes it contained a lot of exploitation stuff but I don’t think QT meant to teach us about history of slavery here, he just wrote an action/adventure western flick. Of course that’s just opinion.

  4. Cool Ted, Very cool. I am slightly jealous.

    Heck, i am VERY jealous!! Why do I never get cool things happen to me?

    I look forward to more news on this one

    • Thanks Custard.

      Ah come on, you have a cool site and home theater system, cool things already happened to you. :)

        • Nice, I love Harman Kardon products. Looking forward to reading your review of the speakers. I’m thinking of upgrading my Onkyo receiver to Harmon, I can get some nice discount at my work place. :)

  5. i don’t know how i feel about this, i loved IB as you all know, but i have difficulty with rape scenes.

    What I do know is it’s a tall order to summarize a script without giving too much away. Good job Ted!

    • I’m not sure I can watch this either, Paula… IB is intense but at least there’s no rape scenes or grotesque sexual violence against women in it. The last time I watched a scene like that was The Accused w/ Jodie Foster.

      • I guess it’s kind of similar to that sequence in The Accused but in Django it happened pretty fast and it was in a flashback scene. Like I said QT might change the script and film the scene differently as to not make it too graphic.

    • Thanks Paula, it’s not easy trying to describe something without giving away much.

      You know the way QT wrote the scene, it wasn’t anything graphic, in fact I think he might not even show the rape itself. It’s kind of hard to describe the scene without giving away any spoilers, it happened early on in the film and it sort of set up the story and why Dr. King and Django would team up.

      • I guess i’ll have to wait and see when it’s released how graphic it is. I mean, I have trouble with a lot of QT’s work just because of the “normal” violence. I think he is brilliant, not all of his work is for me though.

  6. ‘I think for the role of Broomhilda QT can probably cast some unknown actress since I assume some well-known ones might not want to take it. Like I mentioned before, the role will require the actress to be naked a lot and she got raped in a couple of scenes. ‘

    As a Black American woman this is exactly why I am deeply dreading this movie. This has been done already…it was called ROOTS (1977), MANDINGO (1975) and QUEEN (1993).

    • I only saw Mandingo so I can’t comment on the other two you mentioned. The way Tarantino wrote the scene, it wasn’t graphic at all, in fact it happened pretty quick. I don’t want to spoil anything but in one particular scene she was being chased without her clothes on but it wasn’t anything graphic.

      I think rape scenes from Straw Dogs and Irreversible were much much worst and those scenes lasted a long time on the screen.

  7. The title has everything and also nothing to do with the original. The only sequel and knock offs mostly featured a character named “Django” out for revenge but little else tying it to the classic. At this point in the history of Django…..Nero and the film’s title has taken on a legendary status. I would venture a guess that this will be somewhat like one of the knock offs. That’s not a bad thing. I’m really looking forward to this one…..somewhat of a Django study myself.

  8. I’m disappointed that the gang rape and degradation of a black woman is being anticipated with such glee. Deeply disappointed and deeply disgusted.

    • Donella,

      I think you misunderstood why I was so excited to see the film. I love western genre and this film will be a true western, the only difference is that the main character happens to be a slave. In the script the rape scene was such a small part of the plot and I highly doubt if QT will glamorize it once he starts shooting the film.

      Also, I hate seeing rape depicted in films, there’s no enjoyment in seeing someone in that situation, no matter what color skin of that person maybe.

      • Someone above said, “Also, I hate seeing rape depicted in films, there’s no enjoyment in seeing someone in that situation, no matter what color skin of that person maybe.”

        I think you are spot on.

        I just hope QT knows what he is doing. Americans are very funny about race. A movie like this could have massive, and I mean massive blow back. I can see black people leaving the theater during the torture scenes in disgust, and I can even see white audience members being put off by the white guilt trip the movie will no doubt take them down, not to mention I’m sure the “revenge” part will be pretty brutal and humiliating as in all QT films.

        But I mean Pulp got a bunch of crap for just a few racial slurs let alone what will probably be a flick with some of the most degrading treatment of minorities ever put to film. QT is not one to “hold back” on his story telling…

        He is a great director, but defiantly not a politically correct one. One of these days I feel he may go to far.

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