It's long been rumored that Quentin Tarantino would reunite with his Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown star Samuel L. Jackson - who also had a cameo in Kill Bill: Volume 2 and went uncredited as a narrator in Inglourious Basterds - on the revenge/spaghetti western homage flick, Django Unchained.
Variety has the scoop on Jackson being officially locked for Django Unchained; the site has also learned that veteran TV actor Gerald McRaney is in negotiations to sign on for Tarantino's latest pastiche project - in a (for now) undisclosed role.
Jackson (as has long been expected) will appear in Django Unchained as Stephen, the house slave and right-hand-man to sadistic slavemaster Calvin Candie (DiCaprio). The character has previously been described as "an expert manipulator" and - in an early draft of Tarantino's screenplay - was the same age as his caucasian boss, though that obviously has changed. Suffice to say, it sounds like a great role for someone with a badass voice and screen presence like Jackson (just don't expect him to recruit Django for the Avengers initiative during the end credits ;-) ).
McRaney's would-be role in the film has yet to be revealed. However, those who are familiar with the actor's performance as the militaristic patriarch John D. "Mac" McGillis on the TV show Major Dad - or his turn as the fiendishly serpentine George Hearst on HBO's Deadwood - are definitely keeping their fingers crossed that he plays one of the central villains in Django Unchained, alongside DiCaprio and Costner.
Tarantino has long made it known that he intentionally designed Inglourious Basterds as a "revenge fantasy" that would allows moviegoers (himself included) to rewrite history, through the lens of cinema. He clearly has something similar in mind with Django Unchained, which sees its title character (Foxx) become a deadly bounty hunter who essentially takes on the institution of American slavery - as represented by the film's vicious antagonists - in an attempt to free his still-captive wife.
Those who've been keeping up on the preliminary details released about Django Unchained know that Tarantino intends to tackle the issue of racism in an almost unprecedented fashion - with his pulpy, yet gritty tale of vengeance, violence, and everything in between. It won't be a film that appeals to everyone, that's for sure, but when has that ever been the case with any of Tarantino's creations?
Principal photography on Django Unchained is expected to get underway this upcoming November, so the film can make its scheduled December 25th, 2012 U.S. release date. So expect to hear more casting news in the near future.
Source: Variety (link 1) (link 2)