When people were reporting “A Southern” as the title of Quentin Tarantino’s long-rumored next film, I knew that wasn’t right. The things I’d heard from people close to the project suggested that the title, when we did end up hearing it, would instantly get western nerds excited, and I chose not to print anything, waiting instead for what I hoped would be an official announcement.
Instead, you can thank Twitter for this one.
Earlier today, @AgentTrainee simply tweeted the word “Jealous?” and a picture of a title page that should look familiar to anyone who read either “Kill Bill” or “Inglourious Basterds.” And if that title page is right, then we know know a few new things.
First, Quentin finished the latest draft of the script only three days ago.
Second, he’s making a motherscratchin’ “Django” movie.
Django was first played by Franco Nero in 1966 in a Sergio Corbucci film that is regarded by many as one of the best of the spaghetti Westerns. Thanks to the vagaries of international copyright law, there have been dozens of movies since where Django appears, and while few of them are genuine sequels, Nero did reprise the character a few times.
More than that, though, “Django” has entered the culture as one of the great Western icons. The character appeared in the first film dragging a coffin, inside of which he had a giant gatling gun, and he’s inspired characters in games, movies, anime, and more. It’s no accident that Boba Fett’s dad is named Jango in the “Star Wars” prequels, or that Miike referred to the character in his own spaghetti Western tribute.
Corbucci’s film is particularly violent, especially for the era, and that brutality is part of the kick of the movie. Django goes through hell in the film, eventually having to figure out how to fire a revolver with two broken hands. There’s a moment in the film that might feel a little bit familiar to fans of “Reservoir Dogs,” so should we be surprised to hear that Tarantino has a love of the character?
I’ve seen so many spaghetti Westerns with Tarantino over the years at the various festivals he’s thrown in Austin and Los Angeles, and his love of the genre is deep and sincere. And to hear him talk about using the Reconstruction-era South as a backdrop for the film is exciting enough… but then you add in this?
Keep in mind, we heard from Franco Nero himself that he was going to be in the film, and he’s the one who suggested that Christoph Waltz will also appear in the movie. If Nero’s actually playing the title role, that is incredible news. He still looks great, and I would love to see him wrap the character up now, nearly 50 years after he first played it, especially facing a foe as formidable as Waltz.
“Django Unchained” cannot open soon enough. Bring. It. On.
(And a big thanks to @FuMikechu for pointing this out in the first place)