The Weinstein Co. cancelled the Dec. 18 Los Angeles premier of Quentin Tarantino’s highly-touted Django Unchained in the wake of the Dec.14 massacre in Newtown, Conn. at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the production company announced Dec. 17.

Still set for a nationwide release on Christmas Day, the film, stars Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washington.

“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 statement released by The Weinstein Co. to CNN. “However, we will be holding a private screening for the cast and crew and their friends and families.”

Django Unchained was not the only violent film to cancel a screening in the aftermath of the massacre. Paramount Pictures also cancelled a benefit screening of Jack Reacher, a new action flick starring Tom Cruise. The screening was to be part of a fundraiser at the Lincoln Center in New York.

“Out of respect for the families who lost loved ones in Connecticut, we are postponing tonight’s fundraising event with Tom Cruise to benefit the 50th anniversary fund, which supports K-12 education and new artist programs,” said a statement released by the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “We extend our love and condolences to our neighbors. Our community grieves with yours.”

Like Django Unchained, Jack Reacher features several scenes with gun violence.

The Tarantino film is said by reviewers to be an homage to the Italian-produced films of Old West that were produced in the 1960s and 1970s. It tells the story of Django, an ex-slave in Texas trying to free his still-enslaved wife in Tennessee.
Django Unchained is a remake of the 1966 Western, Django, which featured Franco Nero as the gun-slinger clashing with the Ku Klux Klan and Mexican gangs, according to an Internet Movie Database (IMDB) profile.

Foxx is cast in the lead role as Django, who is purchased and freed by Dr. King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, according to the official website for the movie.

Together the two make the journey to Tennessee to free Django’s wife, Broomhilda von Shaft, played by Washington, and bodies drop all along the way.

True to form, the movie is expected to be a classic Tarantino piece, complete with high-stakes action, gore, and the bitter sweet comedic relief seen in both volumes of Kill Bill, and Pulp Fiction, which like Django, included Samuel L. Jackson in a key role.

Django will not be the first time Tarantino has taken his graphic and borderline-offensive approach to storylines set in history’s less than favorable moments.
In 2009 he made audiences laugh and cringe with Inglorious Bastards, a film set in World War II’s European theatre. That film took audience members along as a group of American soldiers hunted down German enemies for the sole purpose of innovatively “killing Nazi’s.”

Like Inglorious Bastards, though there is no limit on blood spilled, as chattel slavery and all its’ ills are shown clearly on the big screen. 

At the core of the two-hour and forty-five minute plot, hopeless romantics are offered something to grasp as well.

The movie will reunite Foxx and Washington, who first took on a husband-wife role in Ray, the Academy Award-winning 2004 biopic of the life of Ray Charles.


Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer