Leonardo DiCaprio says he’s taking a break from acting. After working on three films in two years, according to the Agence France-Press translation, DiCaprio told the Germany daily Bild ”I am a bit drained. I’m now going to take a long, long break. I’ve done three films in two years and I’m just worn out.” Whether we’ll have time to miss him is another matter. He’s been promoting Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Publicity appearances for upcoming releases of Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby (due out May 10th from Warner Bros) and Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf Of Wall Street (4th quarter 2013 via Paramount) will likely cut into his time off. There’s also his production company Appian Way. DiCaprio says he plans to use the time to travel and promote environmental awareness. “I would like to improve the world a bit. I will fly around the world doing good for the environment”. His personal environmental lifestyle? “My roof is covered with solar panels. My car is electric. A normal person does not drive more than 50 kilometres (31 miles) a day. That can be done with a plug.”
Jen Yamato is a Deadline contributor.
Action figures created for Quentin Tarantino’s slave pic Django Unchained are going for $300 apiece and up right now on sites like eBay after distributor The Weinstein Company announced today it was pulling they toys off the shelves. The dolls based on the Best Picture Oscar nominee prompted pundits and civil rights groups including Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network to call for a boycott. The NECA-issued toys had been selling for $39.99 on Amazon and had been created “as a matter of course” for fans 17 years and older, according to the studio, which released a statement today announcing the move. “In light of the reaction to the Django Unchained action figures we are removing them from distribution. We have tremendous respect for the audience and it was never our intent to offend anyone. Action figures have been created for all of Quentin’s films including Inglourious Basterds, and as a matter of course produced them for Django Unchained as well. “They were meant to be collectibles for people 17 years and older, which is the audience for the film.” Right now, a complete set of the toys is bidding up past $1000 and counting on eBay.
The Weinstein Company said the pic is nearing $130 million domestic. That surpasses the total for Quentin Tarantino‘s Inglourious Basterds which grossed over $120.5 million in the U.S. Django Unchained, starring Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson, was released wide on Christmas Day 2012. It nabbed two Golden Globe wins for Best Supporting Actor (Waltz) and Best Screenplay (Tarantino), and received five Oscar noms, including Best Picture.
Diane Haithman is contributing to Deadline’s TCA coverage.
Kerry Washington, the star of ABC’s Scandal who also has a key role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, was tactfully circumspect today when Deadline asked about Spike Lee’s comments regarding the movie. Lee recently said he won’t be seeing Django Unchained because “It’d be disrespectful to my ancestors to see that film.” During a conversation on the Hollywood set of Scandal at the end of ABC’s portion of the TCA press tour, Washington declined to comment specifically about Lee because “I love Spike and I respect him and I really love working with him.” But concerning Django, Washington said: “I really appreciate the fact that lots of people were anxious and nervous about what the film was, but went to see it to make a decision of their own about it.” The actress, who worked on the movie during a hiatus from the TV series, said the film is allowing people to be “more open and honest about the issues of America’s history.”
Quentin Tarantino Has Heated Exchange With UK Journalist On Film Violence, Says “I’m Not Your Slave”: Video
Promoting Oscar-nominated Django Unchained, which had its premiere in London last night, Quentin Tarantino refused to repeat his position on violence in movies during an interview with Channel 4 Evening News host Krishnan Guru-Murthy. Asked about the link between movie violence and real violence, Tarantino responds in the video below: “Don’t ask me a question like that – I’m not biting.” When asked why, he says, “Because I refuse your question. I’m not your slave and you’re not my master. You can’t make me dance to your tune. I’m not a monkey.” Saying he was doing the interview as “a commercial for the movie,” Tarantino elaborates, “I don’t want to talk about the implications of violence… The reason I don’t want to talk about it: cause I’ve said everything I have to say about it. If anyone cares what I have to say about it, they can Google me and they can look for 20 years what I have to say. But I haven’t changed my opinion one iota.” Guru-Murthy later presses, “But you haven’t said why you think there’s no relationship”, to which Tarantino exclaims, “It’s none of your damn business what I think about that!… And I’m shutting you down.” The exchange in question begins at about the 4:30 mark:
In an intriguing move, the Producers Guild of America decided suddenly to move its annual PGA Awards nomination announcement up a day and put out the list shortly after 2 PM PT this afternoon — instead of the originally scheduled time tomorrow. Whatever the reason for jumping the gun, it could impact the Oscar race as the Academy extended its own voting period 24 hours to a 5 PM deadline Friday instead of Thursday, as originally planned, and the PGA choices could be influential for last-minute Oscar voters rushing to see everything and get their ballots in. In the new world of online voting for the Academy, this two-day window could be important, and I will bet the PGA was aware of that when they decided to unleash their choices today.
Related: PGA Awards Nominations Announced
If that’s the case, the PGA’s 10 nominations for Best Picture — or as the guild calls it, the Darryl F. Zanuck Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures — provided no real surprises. All 10 picks — Argo, Beasts Of The Southern Wild, Django Unchained, Les Miserables, Life Of Pi, Lincoln, Moonrise Kingdom, Silver Linings Playbook, Skyfall and Zero Dark Thirty — are the most likely contenders to score at the Oscars according to most prognosticator predictions. It’s particularly good news for Quentin Tarantino’s bloody and controversial Django Unchained, as the film was one of the last to be screened in 2012 and was the only one that reportedly did not benefit by having a screener sent to the PGA membership, the reason widely blamed for its AWOL status in the SAG Awards nominations announced in mid-December.
One film left off, Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour, is not a shocker since smaller foreign-language entries rarely make the PGA list. It would seem the most likely to replace one of the PGA nominees when the Oscar list is announced January 10. Other films missing from the list like Flight, The Impossible and The Master have seen momentum stalled with poor showings in critics and other precursor awards. The only slight surprise for me was the omission of big moneymaker The Dark Knight Rises since the PGA, being producers after all, do like to reward financial bonanzas and the film was the last of Christopher Nolan’s enormously profitable and critically acclaimed Batman trilogy for Warner Bros. The PGA also had previously nominated 2008′s The Dark Knight for their top honor even when the group had only five nominations; Oscar failed to follow suit and passed it by for a Best Pic nod that year. The move prompted the Academy to move to 10 nominations the next year to (hopefully) include more popular films in their Best Picture lineup.
Anthony D’Alessandro is Managing Editor of AwardsLine.
“I think she had to be in there for 20 minutes before I yelled action.” Quentin Tarantino is referring to the time that Kerry Washington spent in the “hotbox” — a hole in the ground on a plantation where slaves were sent when they tried to escape. It’s where Washington’s character Broomhilda is locked up when her husband, Django (Jamie Foxx), arrives at Candyland — the vast Southern estate owned by her owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) in Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Her voice parched from screaming and her body weakened, Broomhilda doesn’t know that Django has come to rescue her with the help of dentist-cum-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).
“Kerry is very game to make things as real as possible,” says Tarantino, who as Waltz points out, can often inspire actors with their characters’ back stories, “Leaving her in the box for 30 seconds and then yelling action wouldn’t work. Nor would sticking her in the box for hours. But 10 minutes in the box could feel like 30. The idea was for Kerry to become disoriented, lose track of time in there, and contemplate what eight hours in the box would feel like. She could yell or scream.”
“But there was a safe word,” adds Washington, “so that the crew knew when I was panicking as a person, and not as an actor. This is how a lot of the film went — taking the reality as far as we could.”
With a filmography that includes roles in some of the highest-grossing movies of all time including The Avengers, Iron Man and the Star Wars series Samuel L. Jackson clearly knows how to pick ‘em. And that is entirely intentional. His current film Django Unchained, in which he is reunited with frequent director Quentin Tarantino opened to strong grosses on Christmas Day and is already looking like another solid box office hit.
In the film he plays Stephen, the conniving house slave for Leonardo DiCaprio‘s despicable character Calvin Candie. As the manipulative slave, Jackson says he is playing perhaps the most hated negro in cinematic history. He’s fine with that. “At least he’s a memorable character. I mean Quentin writes interesting characters. I’ve been pretty despicable in most of his films. People loved Jules (Pulp Fiction) but he’s a murderer. People loved Ordell (Jackie Brown) but he’s a murderer. Stephen has an unusual take on slavery. He’s okay with it,” he says and is not worried about what African American audiences might think (Spike Lee has already chimed in to express his displeasure with the film’s depiction of slaves). “I hope he’s reviled, and people want to see him die. People enjoy him, but it’s strange. He’s a funny guy in a way, despicably funny. People laugh at Stephen and what he does, but you know they do want to see him dead.” But still slavery is a serious subject and Jackson …
Quentin Tarantino‘s Django Unchained had been rumored as a surprise addition to November’s Rome Film Festival, but it never materialized on the roster. In October, fest director Marco Mueller told Reuters, “You will see Tarantino soon, here. You will see him here soon for a big surprise… You will see that Django will be stepping on the stage of the auditorium.” Fast-forward a couple of months and the fest now plans to honor Tarantino with a Lifetime Achievement Award on January 4 at a gala Django screening. (Although the 7th Rome Film Festival concluded on November 17, the honor will evidently act as an extension of that edition). Composer Ennio Morricone will present the award to Tarantino. A press release follows:
‘The Hobbit’ Back To #1 With $563M Global; ‘Les Misérables’ #2 With $71.6M Worldwide; ‘Django Unchained’ #3 With $34M Domestic; Billy Crystal & Bette Midler Beat Tom Cruise
FRIDAY 12 PM, 9TH UPDATE: This film trio should stay on top through the rest of the holidays. MGM/Warner Bros’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey made $10.1M Thursday to bring it back to #1 and its domestic cume to $189.7M. Coming off of a strong Boxing Day internationally, Thursday continued to deliver huge numbers generating an estimated $26M from 62 territories, an increase of 34% over last week. Pic continues to rank #1 in key markets and across the world, and the overseas cume to date now stands at $373M. Peter Jackson’s Middle Earth epic is approaching $563M worldwide total. Dropping from #1 to #2 is Working Title/Universal’s Les Misérables which grossed $9.1M Thursday for $39.4M domestic in its first three days of release. Musical grossed $3.8M internationally on Thursday to raise its overseas total to $32.2M. The worldwide total currently stands at $71.6M. Internationally, Les Miz is playing in Australia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, and Spain. Still in the #3 slot, Quentin Tarantino’s controversial R-rated Django Unchained for The Weinstein Company added $8.3M Thursday for $33.3M domestic in just 3 days. Here’s the Top Ten films based on Thursday estimates:
1. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (MGM/WB) Week 2 [Runs 4,100]
Tuesday $11.3M, Wednesday $11.3M, Thursday $10.1M (-11%), Cume $189.7M
2. Les Misérables (Working …
BREAKING: The Weinstein Company is the latest to curtail the festivities on a holiday season film because of the Connecticut massacre. An LA premiere had been scheduled tomorrow night for the Quentin Tarantino-directed Django Unchained. The film will still be shown, but there will be no red carpet and invited press is being asked to attend a different screening. This one is now reserved for cast members and their families who haven’t seen the film yet. This is not about the slave-era violence in the film; it reflects the fact that nobody is in the mood to celebrate. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the tragedy in Newtown, CT, and in this time of national mourning we have decided to forgo our scheduled event,” said a TWC spokesperson. “However, we will be holding a private screening for the cast and crew and their friends and families.”
Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and Les Miserables (William Nicholson, Alain Boublil, Claude-Michel Schonberg, Herbert Kretzmer) are among a bunch of prominent movies whose screenplays the Writers Guild of America excluded from nominating ballots for its WGA Awards this year. Ballots sent to members list 112 eligible screenplays – 44 adapted and 68 original, Variety reported. The news surfaced Saturday on Hitfix. The WGA requires that scripts be produced under Guild jurisdiction or under a collective bargaining agreement in Canada, Ireland, New Zealand or the U.K. and that the scripts be formally submitted for consideration. Other excluded titles include Amour, The Impossible, Middle of Nowhere, Seven Psychopaths, Take This Waltz, Your Sister’s Sister and Pixar’s animated Brave in the original category. Omissions in the adapted category include Anna Karenina, Beasts of the Southern Wild, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Intouchables, Quartet and Rust And Bone. Being shut out of the Writers Guild Awards consideration won’t keep these movies off Oscar ballots, however. Despite shared memberships, screenwriting nominees for the Motion Picture Academy seldom correspond 100% in either original or adapted categories because Oscar rules are less restrictive.
Christmas came early for Hollywood this year, as it usually does, with the announcement this morning of the Golden Globe nominations. Ever quirky but dependable in its ability to spread the wealth by way of splitting major contenders into Drama or Comedy/Musical, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has further clarified the race. The group gave multiple key nominations to Oscar frontrunners like Argo, Life Of Pi, Lincoln, Zero Dark Thirty, Les Miserables and Silver Linings Playbook as well as major impetus to the late-breaking hopes of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, which grabbed five key nominations including Picture-Drama, Director and Screenplay for Tarantino and two supporting actor nods for Leonardo DiCaprio and Christoph Waltz, shaking up the supporting actor race in the process. So other than The Weinstein Company with a leading 15 nominations (Harvey really knows how to work the HFPA), who really came out on top here?
Related: Golden Globe Award Noms: Scorecard
As has been the case since Monday’s announcement of the AFI top 10 films of the year, Tuesday’s Critics Choice Movie Awards, where it led with 13 nominations, yesterday’s SAG noms, where it grabbed everything it could, and now today’s leading 7 nominations, Lincoln is now certified at the top of the pack going into Oscar balloting, which begins Monday. Steven Spielberg’s historical drama nabbed a nomination in every single Globes category it was eligible (with 7 nods, the most ever for a Spielberg film at the Globes) and made perhaps the most impressive showing of all the nominees. To put the cherry on top for Disney/Dreamworks, the film will hit $100 million domestically today. But in a race that remains as tight as ever, Argo also almost ran the board, missing out as expected for producer-director Ben Affleck’s lead performance but named in 5 other categories. Zero Dark Thirty also did what it had to do, grabbing the four key nominations (Picture-Drama, Director for Kathryn Bigelow, Screenplay for Mark Boal, Actress-Drama for Jessica Chastain) it was targeting. Add the aforementioned impressive showing of Django and you have the BIG winners of the morning as the HFPA handed out lots of gifts to each. Correlation to actual Oscar nominations and wins is sometimes spotty with the Globes, but because this has become such a high-profile awards show on NBC, one of the year’s biggest, the town pays attention and, if nothing else, the HFPA has confirmed the closeness of this race.
The spaghetti western namesake of Quentin Tarantino’s new movie is booked into select theaters, including the New Beverly in Los Angeles and Film Forum in New York, a few days ahead of Django Unchained, which debuts December 25th. Sergio Corbucci’s 1966 Django opens December 21st via Rialto Pictures. Franco Nero plays the title character — “a coffin-dragging gunslinger” caught between the KKK and a gang of Mexican bandits. Jamie Foxx plays Django — “the D is silent” — in Tarantino’s tale of a slave who teams with a bounty hunter (Christolph Waltz) to save his wife (Kerry Washington) from the clutches of a wicked plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Listen to the third episode of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline Awards Columnist Hammond and host David Bloom discuss Oscar prospects for the late-arriving Django Unchained and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey; whether the New York Film Critics Circle awards will boost multiple winners Zero Dark Thirty and Lincoln; and why Life Of Pi might find some of its best Oscar friends in the Best Visual Effects category; plus all the behind-the-scenes buzz from the busy pre-nomination whirl of parties as studios and distributors jostle for lead positions in the big races.
With a shortened nominating season (Oscar balloting starts December 17, 10 days earlier than usual), the Thanksgiving holiday period as well as the Christmas/New Year’s break won’t much of a break at all for many campaigns, which simply can’t take the time off or slow the momentum they are trying to build. After all there are just 3 1/2 weeks to go before those ballots land in Academy voters’ hands (or in the case of the new electronic voting this year, in their computers). So it is all stops out from here on in. And that means studios like Universal and Sony in particular will be using the long Thanksgiving weekend for an assault on guild and Academy members for their big December releases Les Miserables and Zero Dark Thirty, respectively.
On Saturday, Universal’s Les Miz plan swings into action with an unprecedented six screenings — all featuring either in-person introductions or post-Q&A sessions with director Tom Hooper and “cast members”. The screening program will not let up until the film’s Christmas Day opening, which comes in the middle of the voting period. Universal is determined to get this film seen on the big screen by as many voters as possible despite the time crunch. The director only just locked Sunday night at 10 PM, according to an internal memo that carried instructions for delivery of the DCP materials for the digital projection. It’s a very precise, carefully orchestrated operation, and as the memo says “failure is not an option”. That’s certainly true in an awards race as tight as this one and particularly for a film as anticipated as this one.
“The reality is we’re going to screen this movie like nobody’s business the minute it’s ready and would have regardless….We’ll start screening the movie the day after Thanksgiving and are going to screen it, pretty much non-stop from there, until time of release. So between the screening program, its commercial availability beginning Christmas Day and for those who get the screeners, we think there’s abundant opportunity”, Universal chairman Adam Fogelson told an audience of Academy and Guild members attending the Moguls panel at Deadline’s recent all-day The Contenders event. He added that for smaller films the timing could be more of a challenge, but “not for any of the films here which are on everybody’s list”.
I recently spent time with Quentin Tarantino as we did the December Playboy Interview for his latest film, Django Unchained. This was my second Playboy Q&A with Quentin. The first time happened before the release of Kill Bill, and it became clear to me during that interview that my subject was determined to make it as good as it could possibly be. He told me he’d grown up without a father, and at around 10 years old, his mother gave him a Playboy subscription to help make him a man. What he did was memorize the interviews with great actors and directors, and he made sure his Q&A stacked up. I came with questions, but felt like my biggest contribution was putting fresh batteries in the tape recorder.
So here we were at it again, years later when the former outsider and rule breaker had proven he was no flash in the pan, and who has grown into acceptance as a respected member of Hollywood’s film making elite. You can read our entire Playboy interview by clicking this link, and find out everything there is to know about how he put together Django Unchained, and the actors he considered before choosing Jamie Foxx to play the title character. And how one of the perks of being Quentin is the ability to cruise around Hollywood in the “Pussy Wagon,” the neon yellow Chevy Silverado SS that Uma Thurman drove in Kill …