One of Jamie Foxx’s best and well-known movies is slated to take its leave from Netflix in the USA in less than a month’s time, April 24th to be exact, so while you still can, queue it up and give it another viewing.
Django Unchained is the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film that, like many of his films, was not without controversy. The movie was Tarantino’s homage to the Spaghetti Western and was centered around a very difficult topic: slavery in America, albeit in a very Tarantino-like fashion. The film starred Jamie Foxx as Django, a slave who had just been sold and separated from his wife Broomhilda (Kerry Washington). When we first meet Django, he is chained together with other slaves, being transported by the Speck brothers to an unknown destination.
In route, Jamie Foxx and company are met up with Dr. King Schultz (a marvelous Christoph Waltz), a dentist who now calls himself a bounty hunter. He is there to purchase Django, who has information on the whereabouts of the notorious Brittle Brothers, whom Schultz is hunting down. But the Speck’s aren’t selling, so Schultz takes matters into his own hands, killing one and leaving the other for the now-freed slaves to handle. Schultz convinces Django to help him track down the Brittles.
The pair catch up to the Brittle Brothers on Big Daddy’s plantation. After they kill the brothers, Schultz, now feeling a sense of responsibility toward Django, decides to take on Django as an apprentice bounty hunter, then agrees to help find and rescue Django’s beloved Broomhilda. In this way, we start really getting a sense of what Jamie Foxx is about in this film.
After giving Django a taste of what bounty hunter life is all about, the two travel to Mississippi, where they find that Broomhilda is now owned by Calvin Candie (another brilliant performance, this time by Leonardo DiCaprio) who owns the Candyland plantation, a place where slaves are forced to fight to the death. Django and Schultz then come up with their plan. They will offer to purchase to buy one of Candie’s best fighters along with Broomhilda and then decide they no longer want the fighter but leave with just Broomhilda instead. Candie is intrigued by their offer, so he invites them to his plantation.
It is Candie’s loyal house slave Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) who sniffs out the plan, realizing that Django knows Broomhilda. He alerts Candie to the situation, who then decides to change their deal. In typical Tarantino fashion, all hell breaks loose, and not every one of the main players will survive.
Jamie Foxx was not the first in line to take on the role of Django. Will Smith had that honor but eventually passed on it because, in his own words, “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead,” he said to Entertainment Weekly. “The other character was the lead!… I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'” Smith doesn’t seem to have lost sleep over passing on the role, “I thought (the movie) was brilliant. Just not for me.” His loss was Jamie Foxx’s gain.
The movie, which brought a Best Supporting Actor award for Christoph Waltz, was not without its controversy. In typical Tarantino fashion, it relied heavily on the use of the “N” word and an abundance of graphic violence. Many critics (not only movie critics) of the film complained about what they consider to be too much in the way of offensive language, while others felt it correctly reflected the times.
When Jamie Foxx stepped into Django’s chains, he already had been an Oscar winner for his 2004 portrayal of Ray Charles. He was also coming off a hilarious cameo in the comedy Horrible Bosses and was looking for something a little meatier. A co-lead in a Quentin Tarantino movie can give you just that. But it was a big leap, as was his Oscar-winning performance.
Jamie Foxx got his start in 1991 when he became a regular on the hit sketch comedy series, In Living Color. His famous character Wanda put him on the map and Foxx never looked back. At the time though, many didn’t realize just how talented Foxx was. So when he showed off his piano playing and singing skills in Ray, it opened up so much more for the versatile actor. In fact, Foxx has gone on to wins Grammy’s for his many musical adventures.
Over the years, Jamie Foxx has found a balance in the roles he’s chosen. Comedy, action-adventure, drama, musicals, and even comic book movies (he played Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2), Foxx always seems to find the part that fits. He doesn’t seem to be slowing down either.
Jamie Foxx will next jump back into the comic book genre as he reprises his role as Electro in the upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home feature. Foxx will also take on another real-life figure when he transforms into Mike Tyson for the boxing biopic Tyson. Fans will also be able to see Jamie Foxx in the upcoming films The Wild Bunch (a remake of the 1969 Sam Peckinpah classic), The Burial, and it is even rumored that Foxx will take on the role as Al Simmons, who we all know as Todd McFarlane’s Spawn. For now, though, head on over to Netflix and check out Django Unchained while it’s still there.