By// Starrene Rhett Rocque
Reginald Hudlin is the man behind cult favorite movies like Boomberang and House Party; and tv shows like The Boondocks, The Bernie Mac Show and more. The former President of Entertainment for BET has been in the business for several years working as a producer, writer and director.
His latest project is the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained. Hudlin, who has been friends with Tarantino for years, is serving as a producer for the forthcoming slavery/western flick, which stars Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington. JETmag.com caught up with him for a brief chat about Tarantino’s inspiration behind the film and why slavery isn’t the sole focus.
What attracted you to Django Unchained enough to get on board?
My involvement was in hurdles initially. Quentin and I had been friends for a long time. It was probably about 15 years ago we were together at a party doing what we always do, which is talk about movies and we talked slave films and for me I don’t like most of them because most of them are just about victimology and I’m not interested in seeing Black people being victims. For me there’s only one truly great movie about slavery it’s called Spartacus (1960), and until we had a movie like that about the American experience I wasn’t really interested.
It’s interesting that you mentioned not liking movies about slavery because in Django Unchained, it seems like it’s less about slavery and more about the heroics.
Quentin calls it a southern—it’s a western but it’s about the old south—and I thought that was very smart on his part because this is how he makes movies that feel fresh that feel like you haven’t seen them before, by using the western story telling. So with the slavery we get it. There’s a clear moral line, there’s the bad guys over here, and they’re really bad and the heroes are over there and they’re truly heroic. Not to mention that historically, we kinda forget those things happened hand in hand so it’s a natural mash up and that’s what makes people go, “I haven’t seen this movie. What is this? This is fresh this is original.”
Did Tarantino draw inspiration from the 1966 western called Django?
Absolutely. Quentin is he’s more knowledgeable about the history of film than most film professors, and his knowledge of spaghetti westerns goes beyond more well -known titles like, Fist Full of Dollars, The Good the Bad and the Ugly, into the Django series, which is not as well known in America but globally was a hugely successful series. There were about 40 different movies using the Django name with different actors and different directors, but people just love the idea of this cold blooded ultimately moral man named Django and that kind of story telling that they used in that original film really inspired Quentin a great deal.
What want people to take away from Django Unchained?
I’ve seen the film with over a dozen audiences. I think people are surprised by how entertained they are in the film. I think people get caught up in the love story. I think they laugh a lot more than thy anticipated, then they’re horrified, then they’re on the edge of their seat, then they laugh again, and people are surprised how quickly the movie passes in such great pacing and I love that. I love when people go, “Wow, that was a total experience! That was a complete rollercoaster ride of emotion and I want to think about it tonight and it want to see it again.”
Django Unchained is in theaters nationwide on December 25.