On a recent appearance on “Saturday Night Live,” the award-winning Jamie Foxx joked that it was only after he sat down at the keys and started to sing that women began to see him in a different light.
Now women will forevermore view him in another very different light, and he can thank the character Django, along with his spot-on performance in “Django Unchained,” for that sexy transformation. Yes, I’m crushing on Foxx–oops, I mean Django.
It’s easy to find yourself charmed by Foxx. In person, he appears shy, uber-intelligent and thoughtful. He presents himself as a humble, grateful and eager student of life.
Jamie’s success and the lifestyle he enjoys today are far removed from anything his character could imagine. The fact that the root of our collective freedom is the direct benefit from our ancestors is not lost on him.
In case you have been under a rock, the new Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained” is more than an action-packed Western set right smack in the middle of slavery. It’s a love story, and the two star-crossed lovers Django and Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) have the entire, evil institution of slavery keeping them from their destiny.
Romeo and Juliet had it easy compared to them, and Django, once unchained, is truly on a mission of liberation on many levels.
I recently caught up with Foxx, and here are a few things he had to say about love, moviemaking and being in a Tarantino film.
AmNews: So, what was your first reaction when you were offered the slave role?
Foxx: First, I was not offered a role in “Django Unchained.” I heard about it after several key actors turned down the role. I had to get my acting hustle on to get the part. I was like, “I don’t care–it’s a Quentin Tarantino film, and I want in.” Plus, the caliber of talent gave me complete confidence. I was in good, solid hands!
Tarantino is brilliant, but he is also known for his generous use of the N-word!
Understood, but I grew up in the South. First, I love the South, and there is no place I’d rather be from than Texas. So, I grew up hearing the N-word and being called the N-word. I didn’t have a typical, knee-jerk reaction, say, like an actor from Los Angeles or New York might experience. Again, I am from the South.
The fine point of this is that I really responded to the quality of the writing. This character is in love, in a time when marriage was illegal and punishable by death, and he and his wife, played so splendidly by Kerry Washington, did it anyway. That’s love.
The line from the film is “You have to get dirty,” so that’s what he did. Django got downright grimy!
Grimy for love, I feel ya! What was your actor’s challenge? How did you approach this role?
Quentin was concerned about me being able to play a slave, and he voiced it, early in the rehearsal process. That’s when it hit me, and I put on my game face. It made me want to work harder, and I went back to the drawing board. That includes re-selecting the type of music that I listened to while on set.
Recently, I caught up with Samuel L. Jackson, and we chatted about his role and you. What was it like to work with Sam? He is unique!
I loved watching him on set. I mean, he was tearing the foundation from his thing, and his long and respected relationship with Quentin- well, I am a bit jealous. Them dudes know each other. I look forward to having that type of relationship with Quentin from here on out.
This is your first time working with Leonardo DiCaprio. What’s your take on his creation of Calvin Candie?
I enjoy watching directors work, and it was just amazing to watch Quentin work with him. Leo, well, he really did have strong, knee-jerk reactions to hearing and saying the N-word. It did not sit well with him, and I suspect it never will.
Then Sam, as only he could, said something like “Look, Leo, this is just another Tuesday–it was what it was. Come on now,” but with a much more, ahh, colorful choice of words. It seemed to help build our dynamic. There were times when Leo walked past me and would not speak. His character was present and checked in for duty.
I understand that you ride horses very well. Quentin shared that one of his favorite images was of you, riding bareback with a “fistfull of mane in one hand and a rifle in the other.”
[Laughing] Yes, I do ride, and the horse that I ride in the film, I own. That’s my Cheetah.
The take that he loves was, for me, the scariest in the film. The usual stunt guy was absent, but the horse was not aware. Galloping, at full speed, I started to slide off, barely able to keep my balance. Then I remembered the advice of the stunt man: He said, “If you feel yourself falling off the horse, just let go.” I’m thinking, this man is crazy. I got back on.
Outside, I looked like Django, but inside, it was more like Little Richard–“Oh, Lord Jesus, someone stop this horse! Stop this horse!” Of course, Quentin asked for a second take.
Let’s talk love! I didn’t think Quentin could create a romance. I mean, who knew?
That is what drew me to “Django Unchained.” It’s the love story between Django and Broomhilda, played with grace, power and aching elegance by Kerry Washington–everything else fell by the wayside. He’s not willing to do anything but find the love of his life. That’s powerful, that’s Django.