'Django Unchained' Character Named 'Shaft': No Accidentby: Posted:
Come, now. Show of hands, did anybody really believe that a Quentin Tarantino character was named "Broomhilda von Shaft" without a clear intent?
Nearly every movie into which Tarantino has every stuck his hand has been a winking mosaic - at the very least in tone, if not in far more direct elements like characters, designs and soundtrack selection.
Therefore, if you'd been listening very closely Saturday, you probably heard a collective rumbling "NO S**T!" emanate from Tarantino's "Django Unchained" panel at 2012's annual San Diego Comic-Con when the director declared that, yes, Kerry Washington's character is absolutely a bow to Richard Roundtree's iconic blaxploitation private dick who's a sex-machine to all the chicks.
You daaaaamn right.
And just to bring the Six Degrees of Obvious Homages full-circle, lest we forget that one of Washington's "Django" co-stars revived John Shaft in John Singleton's 2000 remake: Samuel L. Jackson.
Jamie Foxx plays Django, an antebellum South slave that a bounty hunter played by Oscar-winner Christopher Waltz tutors in the ways of gun-slinging, that Django might take down an arrogant plantation owner played by Leonardo DiCaprio. It just so happens, DiCaprio's Calvin Candie is holding Foxx's still-enslaved wife - Mrs. von Shaft.
Tarantino went so far as to admit that he indeed saw Washington's character as an ancestor of Det. John Shaft.
"The surreal, horrible, historical reality of slavery in the U.S. is a pefect fit for the spaghetti-western genre," Tarantino said. Concerning the film's alleged more than 100 instances of the N-Bomb, Foxx said "In Texas, being a kid, it was racially charged to be honest with you. Being called n****er as a young kid growing up, by grown people, it's something I had to deal with, coming from the South. Having that done to me, I was able to grasp that in the script."
Washington assured fans that von Shaft is no Mrs. MacGuffin. She's a character with considerable substance, she assured.
"It's in the humanity, when at that time [according to the Constitution] they were only three-fifths of a human being," she said. "What makes her strong is her belief in love and that she is deserving of that love in a time where black women weren't even afforded the luxury of that fantasy."
Though there's still a rumored week of shooting left, "Django Unchained" is set to hit theaters Christmas Day.