Few filmmakers seem to go out of their way to cast veterans of classic TV shows or cult films like Quentin Tarantino does – and his latest project, Django Unchained, looks to be all the better for it.
Tarantino has assembled a motley acting crew for his Old South tale of revenge, including TV show stars like Gerald McRaney and M.C. Gainey – along with experienced character actors such as Dennis Christopher - in supporting roles. We can now add yet another member from the archives of TV/film entertainment to the cast list.
Variety has confirmed that (following “a courtship that lasted several months”) Don Johnson has at last accepted a role in Django Unchained. For those who don’t recognize the name: Johnson was the star of the Miami Vice TV show in the 1980s – and Nash Bridges in the late ’90s. He also had a recurring role on Just Legal in 2006 and has appeared in far too many television movies over his career to recount in full here… though, perhaps his most memorable recent role was that of Von Jackson in the theatrically-released Machete.
Django Unchained follows the eponymous character (Jamie Foxx – who starred in the Miami Vice movie, as it were), an ex-slave who joins forces with a German bounty hunter named Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) on a mission to rescue his wife from cruel plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Johnson will appear in the film as Spencer Bennett, a fellow slave owner who encounters Django and Dr. Schultz while they are “in pursuit of a bounty.”
If the aforementioned list of actors slated to star in Django Unchained wasn’t enough to get you excited, the film will also feature Kurt Russell as a remorseless slave trainer and Samuel L. Jackson as Candie’s longtime houseslave – a brilliantly manipulative figure who eventually squares off against Django.
Moviegoers should know by now whether or not they’re a fan of Tarantino’s particular breed of cinema and preference for pulpy storytelling. The promise of a Spaghetti western throwback flick that boasts the filmmaker’s trademark mix of (often) brutal violence and theatrical dialogue will surely be enough to attract his fans to see Django Unchained. Perhaps the project’s destined-for-controversy approach to the topics of slavery and racism will get some non-Tarantino converts to give this one a look, too.
Django Unchained begins principal photography next month. It will be set loose in U.S. theaters on December 25th, 2012.
“Django Unchained” header image artwork created by Federico Mancosu