Hollywood is under attack this month not just for the violent content it produces but the topics and tone it can embrace in feature films.
Most industry denizens are staying silent even though the broadsides directly impact their livelihoods. The stars of “Django Unchained,” a film currently under the microscope for both its unexpurgated violence and treatment of slavery, aren’t staying silent.
“Django” star Jamie Foxx took on director Spike Lee’s claim that a film shouldn’t view the horrors of slavery through the lens of a spaghetti western as “Django” does.
The Oscar-winning actor told the Los Angeles Times, ‘Quentin [Tarantino] has an affinity for writing horrible things and then making you laugh. ‘He’s making entertainment. Hopefully, it makes you go ask questions and you Google it.’ Emphasizing the film’s fictional genre, Foxx made it clear that the movie’s ultimate goal was not to be a history lesson for the audience: ‘If you want to learn something from a movie, go watch a documentary.’
Samuel L. Jackson, who plays a slave who works quite willingly with his master in “Django,” defended Tarantino’s vehicle to show slavery within the context of another genre mashup, as well as his use of the “n-word,” during an interview with Deadline.com. (Katt Williams also derided Tarantino for using the word this week).
“Everyone’s all ‘oh my god, Quentin’s written ‘nigger’ 176 times on a script again’… This is an homage to Mandingo, those movies Quentin likes. He has a habit of mixing genres of movies he likes. Django Unchained is essentially a spaghetti western exploitation movie with some Hong Kong overtones. He knows the movies that we like.”
Will other actors, directors and writers stand next to Jackson and Foxx to defend Hollywood’s right to tell these stories?