Following the footsteps of some Hollywood's upcoming releases which postponed their premieres in the wake of the Connecticut shooting tragedy, "Django Unchained" decided to cancel its Los Angeles red carpet event. The special screening was originally slated for Tuesday, December 19 with a red carpet and after-party, but it is now changed into a private screening with no media coverage.
Announcing the news on Monday, The Weinstein Company's spokesperson said, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Newtown, CT and in this time of national mourning we have decided to forgo our scheduled event." The rep added, "However, we will be holding a private screening for the cast and crew and their friends and families."
While some people suggested the cancellation was due to Quentin Tarantino's trademark of showcasing explicit violence and dark humor, a source of the studio insisted that the decision was made not because of the brutal actions depicted in the spaghetti Western pic.
Speaking about his violence-laden movie, Tarantino admits that it was initially hard for him to film the slave scene with hundred of extras marching in chains at a former plantation field in Louisiana. "There was only one thing I felt uncomfortable about in the beginning stages of finishing the script. It's one thing to write about a slave auction town where 100 slaves walked through deep s**t mud in chains wearing metal collars," he says.
"This whole town was almost like a Black Auschwitz. It's one thing to write but to get 100 black folks, put 'em in chains and march them through the mud and putting an army of black folks dressed as slaves in the hot sun picking cotton... I started to question if I could do it and I don't think I've ever thought that when it came to my work before."
He goes on recalling, "I thought of maybe shooting those sequences in the West Indies where they have their own issues of slavery, but since this is an American story there would be a once removed quality. My problem was having Americans do those scenes. I was trying to get around it to escape the pain."
Tarantino finally got the guts to shoot the scene after consulting with Sidney Poitier, who was the first black actor to win the Oscar. "I went out to dinner with Sidney Poitier who is like a father figure and was explaining my scheme of escaping," he shares.
"He basically told me I had to man up, 'For whatever reason you were born to tell this story and you need to not be afraid of your own movie. You just need to do it. Everybody knows what time it is. Just treat the actors with love and respect, not atmosphere and it'll all be good. By the way those people in the South need money, they need jobs. You gotta do it'."
"There were a lot of extras who were like, 'I was a slave in (Steven Spielberg's) Abraham Lincoln (movie) and I'm a slave in this. I'm good with that!' " Tarantino continues.
"Django" is scheduled to open nationwide on Christmas Day, December 25.