Django Unchained a Prequel to Shaft

Quentin Tarantino ties blaxploitation detective’s ancestry into western.

Posted: 07/17/2012 08:00 AM EDT

If you saw the trailer for Quentin Taratino’s Django Unchained and thought the slavery-era film was reminiscent of a flick about a Black private detective who was a “bad mother…”, the stories are closer than you think.


Speaking on a panel at this year’s Comic Con, Tarantino revealed that Django is a prequel to the blaxploitation classic Shaft. According to Deadline, the director said that he imagined Kerry Washington‘s character, Brunhilde von Shaft as an ancestor of John Shaft.


No wonder Taratino’s latest, with its spaghetti western edge and blaxploitation superbadness, flips the slave narrative, focusing on a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Jamie Foxx) who, with the help of his mentor, sets out to rescue his wife, Brunhilde, from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. The film also stars Samuel L. Jackson, RZA, Jonah Hill and Leonardo DiCaprio.


During the same Comic Con panel discussion, Tarantino  also cleared up news about Will Smith orginally being considered to play Django. While promoting Men In Black III, Smith, when asked about not accepting the role, said: "I really came close... I was in the middle of MIBIII and [Tarantino] was ready to go and I couldn't just sit with him and get through the issues. So I didn't want to hold him up."


In response, Tarantino explained he actually considered several heavyweight actors for the role. But after meeting with Jamie Foxx, he said he'd found the actor who, along with absolutely understanding the project, had one quality the other contenders didn't.


"[Foxx] was my cowboy" said Tarantino, "I met six magnificent actors, but he was the cowboy, and I was looking for the cowboy."


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(Photo: The Weinstein Company)

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