Wed 28 Nov 2012
Here’s another unexpected cover from VIBE magazine. For the upcoming film Django Unchained, Leonardo Dicaprio, Kerry Washington, and Jamie Foxx spoke to veteran journalist Erike Parker about the powerful project. The story revolves around a a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Foxx) who sets out to rescue his wife (Kerry) from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner (Leo). This is the first time Dicaprio truly played the bad guy role.
VIBE: Is there anything in your life that can prepare you for playing a wicked slave master?
DICAPRIO: The thing that made him click for me was some of the conversations I had with Quentin during the writing process about things like Phrenology. Because I wanted him to be able to have a sort of scientific approach to how he operated. And Phrenology at the time was a bogus study of the skull and human emotions and feelings, where they came from. A lot of the plantation owners and scientists used that at the time to promote the idea of slavery staying as it was. And it was a completely made-up, bullshit science. But that sort of thing elevated the character. He bought into his own bullshit. He was so encompassed in this world that he actually had a scientific plausible explanation for doing what he did. The sequences we did, especially near the end, were horrific. So you had to cut your emotions off to do your job as an actor.
Check out some highlights from the cover story after the jump…
VIBE: Before Django was even completed, the screenplay and the trailer received criticism from black people who objected to the treatment of slavery, suggesting it is not serious. It is a spaghetti western not a heavy drama like, say, Roots or The Color Purple. Were you prepared for this type of scrutiny?
LEONARDO DICAPRIO: We knew there was going to be controversy. The question is: What is not a realistic depiction? I would argue that it is. It is Quentin’s re-creation; this character doesn’t exist. There’s nobody that is documented to do what Jamie’s character has done at the time. But the documentaries I saw went even further.
JAMIE FOXX: Put it this way: I completely understand what you’re saying. ‘Cause as black folks we’re always sensitive. As a black person it’s always racial. I come into this place to do a photo shoot and they got Ritz crackers and cheese. I’ll be like, ain’t this a bitch. Y’all didn’t know black people was coming. What’s with all this white shit? By the same token, if there is fried chicken and watermelon I’ll say ain’t this a bitch? So, no matter what we do as black people it’s always gonna be that. Every single thing in my life is built around race. I don’t necessarily speak it because you can’t.
VIBE: Leonardo, you’re playing the bad guy, finally. Now doesn’t that feel good?
DICAPRIO: Of course, playing a bad guy opens you up to not having as many rules or restraints. I think actors have gravitated to that because it frees you up in a way. It takes you to the darkest place of where you are as a person and lets you indulge in that and give in to that and be as horrible as you possibly can without the conflicting side of what’s good and what’s right. This is the first legit bad guy I’ve ever had to play, and it is a fucking horrible [character]; the worst display of humanity I’ve ever read in my entire life. Not even just because of who he was and the racism, but because he is just the most self-indulgent bastard I’ve ever read.
WASHINGTON: Everybody went to a place they’ve never been before. Samuel Jackson went into the trailer and came out every day looking like an entirely different human being.
DICAPRIO: When Sam showed up all the volumes were like, ‘‘Oh shit; I gotta say this louder.” He left a charge in our ass.
VIBE: Kerry, you played opposite Jamie in Ray as his wife. This time, you go back in time to play his wife again. How did your previous work together figure in here?
WASHINGTON: I couldn’t have done this movie without Jamie. The trust factor. I think there is something beautiful about the fact that the film is about a husband and wife being reunited after being separated. And the audiences also get to see us being reunited. I think there is poetry in that. But the places we had to go emotionally I would not be able to go with an actor that I didn’t respect, admire, trust and love. Even days when we weren’t working it was good to know you had that person in your corner.
VIBE: What does that mean on set, for someone to be in your corner as an actor? How does that look in action?
FOXX: I got my foot on Samuel Jackson, and he said, ‘‘Now kick me. I’m gonna roll off this motherfucker.” I said, ‘‘What?” It’s Samuel Jackson. Anybody else I would have gone in. He said, ‘‘Nah, nah, motherfucker bring that shit.”
DICAPRIO: Quentin Tarantino is a great filmmaker. But what he does better than everyone is he brings people together. He is a man that is very specific about his vision. There are certain things you just can’t fuck with. There are certain things in telling his story he knows exactly what he wants. You have to create a situation in which you feel free to speak your mind or change things up. I am at my best–I think actors are at their best, when they are involved and feel the ownership of that character. He’s that unique combination of knowing the path or journey he wants to go on, but is able to go off and improvise.
Read the full story at VIBE