cutting room floor

What Was Cut From Django Unchained

Photo: The Weinstein Company

Django Unchained is a long movie, but it easily could’ve been a much, much longer movie. Quentin Tarantino has said that a longer cut exists that he might release at a later point, and Samuel L. Jackson mentioned looking forward to the “five-hour director’s cut.” That suggests more than two hours of excised, blood-spraying material. So what was missing? We pored over interviews and read the script to figure out exactly what we all could look forward to if there ever comes an extended version. Here is a list of dropped and seemingly dropped threads.

The most significant difference between the script and the final film version of Django is the Broomhilda story line. Not to give too much away, but the script includes a ten-page departure that tells the backstory of how Broomhilda found herself as Calvin Candie’s property. It heavily involves Scotty Harmony, a character both Sacha Baron Cohen and Jonah Hill were at one time in talks to play. (Hill went on to cameo as a different character.) Though effective in giving Broomhilda some depth, the main story line’s momentum ultimately would have suffered from this extra diversion. 

Ace Woody/Billy Crash
Ace Woody is one of the biggest characters in the script; he’s Calvin’s right-hand man and mandingo expert. Both Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell were at one time slated to play the role; however, when they both dropped out, Tarantino simply melded the part into the Billy Crash character, played by Walton Goggins. However, Goggins revealed to the Playlist that even his double-dense role lost something in the editing room: “There was a big scene between Leonardo and I that really cemented their relationship and you really saw how the inner workings of the plantation were conducted. And we had long conversations between Billy Crash and Sam Jackson’s character and how they both had a vested interest in keeping the status quo because it was the only way they would retain their power.”

Django and Stephen’s Rivalry
Both Jamie Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson have spoken highly (and mournfully) of a cut intense scene between them that takes place right after Django and Dr. Schultz arrive in Candie Land. In it, Django berates and slaps “house negro” Stephen, and it establishes why Stephen is out to get his free visitor. It also sets up another scene that didn’t make the movie, in which Stephen burns off Django’s nipples. It’s probably for the best that they skipped that one.

Spelling of Django
There is a big moment in one of the trailers in which Django goes, “the ‘D’ is silent,” and it’s badass and supercool. In the script, it is Dr. Schultz’s decision to go with that spelling, feeling it adds “a little character.” 

Zoe Bell
The most mysterious character in the film has to be the female tracker played by Death Proof’s Bell, who has her face covered throughout the movie; she never speaks, but gets a long, slow close-up right before she dies. And before that there is a scene in which she meaningfully looks into a stereopticon at what seems to imply that she and Django knew each other as kids. The script offers no clue, but Goggins confirmed to Indiewire that there was something cut out of that part, saying, “Yeah, you don’t really get anything from her character but she’s lethal” but declining to elaborate.

Australian Accents
Toward the end of the film, Django is temporarily the property of the LeQuint Dickey Mining Company, which, judging by Tarantino’s distractingly terrible accent, was Australian. Moviegoers could be forgiven for wondering if they dreamed that, but in the script there is a bit that makes their Down Under–ism explicitly clear: One of the Australians explains that Dickey paid for their “passage from Australia,” and they’re working to pay off the boat trip, making for a possible parallel to slavery that could never possibly pull focus from Tarantino’s accent.

Frank Ocean’s “Wiseman”
In November, we learned that Frank Ocean wrote a song for the Django soundtrack. In early December, Tarantino revealed that he just couldn’t find a place for it in the final cut. Then last week, Ocean released it on the Internet. The song is a gorgeous, restrained stunner of a ballad — maybe it can find a home in a longer version of the film.

What Was Cut From Django Unchained