It looks like The Weinstein Company and Columbia are on track for that Christmas Day opening for “Django Unchained” after all.
I would not have been shocked to learn that they were moving it until 2013. After all, production ran much longer than expected, and Tarantino was constantly tweaking and adjusting the script during production. I’m sure that’s a good thing, and everything I’ve heard from people on the film is that it’s coming together really well. But sometimes it takes longer to get a film right than is originally planned, and this looked like one of those cases.
In addition, this is the first time Tarantino has made a film without his editor, Sally Menke, and she was a pretty important part of his process. Fred Raskin, who is cutting the film, served under Menke on a few films, and he’s been an assistant editor on a number of films like “Boogie Nights” and “Insomnia” and “Punch-Drunk Love.” He’s also been sole editor on the last three “Fast and Furious” movies as well as Justin Lin’s “Annapolis,” and my guess is Tarantino wanted some sense of continuity, and Raskin was around during the “Kill Bill” films, so there’s already a certain level of comfort.
The new trailer is incredibly confident. It does a nice job of streamlining what is a fairly loose structure, showing how King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) and Django (Jamie Foxx) get together, and what their deal is. It also places a heavy emphasis on Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) as the main bad guy of the film, making him look like a real piece of garbage in just a few quick minutes. DiCaprio doesn’t play this kind of filthy amoral bad guy often, and it looks like he’s relishing all the opportunities a part like this affords him. We also get a glimpse of Samuel L. Jackson as Stephen, Calvin’s most trusted slave, and it’s a pretty striking look for him in the film.
I love the glimpse we get of the Jonah Hill scene, one of the funniest scenes in the script, and it also suggests the scope of the film. I can’t wait for this one, and at this point, I hope there’s no more new footage because I won’t be able to resist looking, and right now, I feel like I’ve seen more than enough to sell me.
“Django Unchained” arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.