Tarantino wrangles Foxx, Levitt, DiCaprio for red-hot ‘Django Unchained’

Quentin Tarantino has rapidly lined up a sizzling cast of actors for his slavery revenge-fantasy Django Unchained since Brave New Hollywood first wrote about it back in May when its script was leaked—perhaps accidentally-on-purpose—to the internet. Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz are already on board.

The polarizing auteur shifts from wreaking righteous revenge on the Nazis in an alternate-history version of World War II—the Oscar-nominated, smash-hit “Inglorious Basterds“—to wreaking righteous revenge on slave owners in the Deep South during an alternate-history spin on the Civil War.

As BNH wrote earlier this year, Tarantino is notable for his fanatical devotion to obscure corners of the movie universe whose denizens are household names to a select few cinema obsessives. Tarantino’s gift is for synthesizing their styles and quirks into mainstream entertainment. Sometimes it works—see “Basterds” and “Pulp Fiction“—and sometimes it bombs, as with “Grindhouse.”

“Django Unchained” pays homage to the Sergio Corbucci original with the same title, as well as Takashi Miike‘s “Sukiyaki Western Django,” which features Tarantino. Another inspiration is apparently Elmore Leonard‘s “40 Lashes Less One.”

Don’t worry if those names and titles mean nothing to you; ask your local movie geek. Or better yet, look ’em up on Wikipedia, Netflix and elsewhere.

Waltz, Foxx and DiCaprio will be joined by a sprawling cast that is currently set to include Don Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony LaPaglia, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Kurt Russell, Kerry Washington and even legendary special-effects man Tom Savini.

“It’s clear the auteur is up to his usual quirky casting tricks,” wrote Moviesblog.MTV.com in response to the casting of Johnson and Washington. “Tarantino has always been known for his, ah, interesting choices with his ensemble casts, pulling from mainstream Hollywood actors and the dustiest corners of pop culture, and resurrecting the careers of fallen stars.”

LaPaglia and Levitt play “mean brothers” who tangle with Django (Foxx) “as they are escorting a group of slaves recently purchased as fighters,” notes Deadline.com.

The Australian actor was mightily impressed with Tarantino’s script. “It’s wildly ambitious and imaginative [and] deals with that subject matter in a way it hasn’t been dealt with before,” LaPaglia said. “The way the cast has shaped up, it’s exciting to be involved.”

“Django Unchained” will begin filming in New Orleans in January with distribution by The Weinstein Company.

CLICK HERE for the Moviesblog.MTV.com story.

CLICK HERE for the Deadline.com story.

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