Recently Spike Lee raised people's eyebrows when he openly slammed Quentin Tarantino's slavery era movie "Django Unchained". One of the things criticized by the "Red Hook Summer" helmer was the use of the N-word, which was deemed offensive by some African-American filmmakers. Commenting on the issue, Tarantino said that the criticism was "ridiculous."
Speaking to the Harvard Prof and cultural critic Henry Louis Gates Jr. in a recent interview, Tarantino insisted that using the N-word was unavoidable, but it was not meant to offend anyone. "Well, you know, if you're going to make a movie about slavery and are taking a 21st-century viewer and putting them in that time period, you're going to hear some things that are going to be ugly, and you're going to see some things that are going to be ugly," he explained
"That's just part and parcel of dealing truthfully with this story, with this environment, with this land," Tarantino continued. "Personally, I find [the criticism] ridiculous. Because it would be one thing if people are out there saying, 'You use it much more excessively in this movie than it was used in 1858 in Mississippi'."
"Well, nobody's saying that. And if you're not saying that, you're simply saying I should be lying. I should be watering it down. I should be making it more easy to digest. No, I don't want it to be easy to digest. I want it to be a big, gigantic boulder, a jagged pill and you have no water," he claimed.
Judging that "Django" was packed with brutal scenes, Tarantino was asked whether there was any sequence that didn't make the final cut due to the graphic violence. He answered, "Nothing that was too graphic. But there were versions of the movie, getting to the version that we have now, where both the Mandingo fighting [male slaves fighting to the death for sport] and the dog scene [were] even worse... even more violent. I can handle rougher stuff than most people. I can handle more viscera than most. So to me it was OK."
Previously, Spike Lee blasted "Django Unchained" and claimed he wouldn't watch the movie that insulted his ancestors. "I can't speak on it 'cause I'm not gonna see it," he said. "All I'm going to say is that it's disrespectful to my ancestors, to see that film. That's the only thing I'm gonna say. I can't disrespect my ancestors. I can't do it. Now, that's me, I'm not speaking on behalf of anybody but myself."
"Django" opened on Christmas Day and grabbed around $14 million as it debuted Stateside, marking the top opening for an R-rated film on Christmas Day. It trailed behind "Les Miserables" which took in an estimated $17.5 million on December 25.