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This story first appeared in the Jan. 10, 2013 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Quentin Tarantino never has bowed to Hollywood convention. In fact, his unorthodox cocktail of cross-genre storytelling, garish bloodshed and overall lack of traditional reverence has made him one of the industry’s most adored — if not feared — filmmakers.
“Not one word of social criticism that’s been leveled my way has ever changed one word of any script or any story I tell,” says the 49-year-old Oscar winner (for his original screenplay for 1994’s Pulp Fiction), whose latest offering, The Weinstein Co.’s Django Unchained, has ruffled more than a few feathers with its brazen use of the N-word (more than 100 utterances) and extreme violence (particularly in a post-Connecticut-school-shooting America).
Pressed about some of the harsher criticisms of his filmmaking philosophy, Tarantino doesn’t flinch: “I believe in what I’m doing wholeheartedly and passionately. It’s my job to ignore that.”
Says Foxx, who stars as Django, a slave-turned-bounty hunter, in the spaghetti Western/blaxploitation drama: “When was the last time a movie made you talk? He exposed wounds but with entertainment value. When you watch Don Johnson say the N-word with that Tarantino vibe, you can’t help but laugh. I’ve watched it with a white crowd, a white/black crowd and an all-black crowd. Every single time, people laughed.”
For his part, Foxx, 45, never has fit neatly into one box. The multihyphenate (comedian, pianist, actor, R&B artist, music producer and radio host) earned an Oscar in 2005 for his lead turn in Taylor Hackford‘s Ray but experienced a career downturn shortly after. Now, like many actors before him (read: John Travolta), he is enjoying the Tarantino halo effect by which old stars are made new — he even finds himself again in the awards race for his critically celebrated performance.
Up next in Roland Emmerich‘s White House Down and Marc Webb‘s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Foxx credits Tarantino’s atypical Hollywood influence for the upswing in his career: “If he were to do the remake of Yentl, you’d be like, ‘What’s wrong with this dude?’ His fans want to see that envelope pushed.”
Jordan Zakarin contributed to this report.
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