I think it goes without saying that Quentin Tarantino’s next film Django Unchained is pretty highly anticipated around these parts, and we’ve been closely following the casting since day one when it was first rumoured that Will Smith might star. The lead role ended up going to Jamie Foxx, which was an equally surprising choice, and Tarantino continued to bring interesting actors on board for some of the supporting characters as well. This week, sadly, it appears that some of those supporting players have been forced to drop out of the film — among them, Kurt Russell and Sacha Baron Cohen. What effect will these last minute departures have on the final product? Probably not much, but still, it’s hard not to be a little disappointed.
Last month it was already revealed that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would not be able to appear in the film. He told MTV that he had chosen to make his directorial debut instead of taking on a small role in Django Unchained. Then just a couple of days ago, Sacha Baron Cohen appeared on The Howard Stern Show and explained that he also could not find a way to fit the movie into his schedule due to The Dictator press tour.
Yesterday, Variety’s Jeff Sneider broke the news via Twitter that Kurt Russell has walked away from Django Unchained as well with “no reason given or replacement named.” A rumour has been circulating that Russell was not happy with the movie and felt that it was “not western enough”… whatever that means. Russell had initially been cast to replace Kevin Costner as Ace Woody, plantation owner Calvin Candie’s right hand man, but word on the street is that Woody will now simply be cut from the film altogether.
Obviously it’s unfortunate that we won’t get to see Kurt Russell on screen in another Tarantino flick, but the bigger question is what any of this might mean for the film. These are all fairly small parts that probably will not be missed, but you have to wonder why all of these people are dropping out at the last minute like this. Could it be that Django Unchained is simply too edgy for some of these actors? If that were the case, it could actually be a very promising sign for the film. What do you think, are you disappointed that Kurt Russell, Sacha Baron Cohen and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are out of the movie?