POPSUGAR Celebrity

5 Highlights From the Django Unchained Press Conference in NYC

Dec 17 2012 - 10:31am

Quentin Tarantino [1] was joined by the stars of his newest film, Django Unchained, for a press conference at the Ritz-Carlton in NYC yesterday morning. We were on the scene to hear the cast talk about the movie, which opens Dec. 25, and discuss what it was like playing slaves and slave-owners.

Leonardo DiCaprio [2], Jamie Foxx [3], Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, and several other actors were on hand to discuss the powerful film, which manages to turn a horrifying tale of slavery into a Spaghetti Western-esque masterpiece. They've all been busy promoting the new movie, which premiered in NYC [4] with some help from Leo's friend Cameron Diaz [5] last week.

Read on to see our five favorite moments from the press conference, including a surprise appearance by Jonah Hill [6].

1. Christoph Waltz Compared Himself to a Fungus

When asked by a member of the press what it was like reuniting with Quentin after Inglourious Basterds, Christoph had an interesting answer. He said, "There was [no feeling of a reunion]; it was just another mushroom of the fungus that has grown subcutaneously in me all of the time."

2. Leo Had a Hard Time Saying the N-Word Over and Over Again

Jamie Foxx [7] and Samuel L. Jackson revealed that Leo struggled with playing an evil, racial epithet-spewing slave-owner. Leo said that he had asked the cast, "Do we need to go this far at times? Does it need to be this violent? Does he need to be this atrocious to other human beings?" But Leo said that Jamie and Sam told him that if he didn't push his character to the limit, people would resent him.

Jamie had a different take on Leo's struggles, revealing that at one moment during rehearsals, Leo started to feel overwhelmed by his character's hate-spewing. According to Jamie, Sam came up to Leo, put his arm around him, and said, "Listen motherf***er, this is just another Tuesday for us." At this point, the whole room erupted into laughter.

It's also worth noting that Leo was tired throughout the conference since he had been filming The Wolf of Wall Street all weekend — but he was still perfectly charming.

3. Kerry Washington Is the Real Deal

Quentin, Jamie, and Sam all commended Kerry for her acting on the movie, explaining that she wanted every moment to be authentic, even if it meant getting whipped on camera.

Quentin said that Kerry didn't want to do it "the baby way," and that she really "took a beating" during a painful scene with Leo, where he grabs her face repeatedly.

Of course, Kerry wasn't the only one who suffered through physical pain for her role. Leo injured himself during the scene he shared with Kerry after accidentally smashing his hand over a shot glass. According to everyone on the panel, Leo kept acting right through the scene, even though his hand was spouting out blood. The scene was so good that Quentin kept it in the film.

4. Did Jamie Foxx Fire His Manager?

During the press conference, Jamie hinted that he may have fired someone on his management team after he heard about the role of Django only after another actor was cast as the lead. Jamie said, "I thought, 'Oh look, here's another job I hadn't heard about.' I had to have a management change after that." Luckily, Jamie said he "worked [his] acting hustle" to eventually land the role.

5. The Cast Got Three Birthday Cakes, but Didn't Get to Eat Them

Toward the end of the press conference, the moderator announced that four members of the panel — Jamie Foxx [8], Samuel L. Jackson, Don Johnson, and Jonah Hill [9] — had all recently celebrated their birthdays. (Jonah joined the press conference at the last minute as a surprise panel member.)

Three waiters from the Ritz-Carlton came out with three birthday cakes as the press and the rest of the cast sang "Happy Birthday." However, the birthday boys didn't get to eat their sweet treats as they were whisked out of the press conference as soon as they blew out their candles.

Source URL