After months of rumors and a recent spate of Quentin Tarantino sightings around town, it’s now official. The Oscar-winning filmmaker’s next high-profile project, “Django Unchained,” will shoot in New Orleans.
Aside from the announcement of its A-list cast, which includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Costner and Christoph Waltz, details on “Django” have been scarce — and rumors about its shooting location unconfirmed — since Tarantino announced he was working on it. On Tuesday (Aug. 23), however, the New Orleans Office of Film & Video confirmed that the Crescent City will be home to at least part of the shoot.
“New Orleans is excited to host the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film ‘Django Unchained,'” Film New Orleans Director Katie Williams said Tuesday after the project was listed as in pre-production on the agency website. “This is a high-profile project with great talent and an acclaimed director. Films of this caliber have a powerful impact on our local economy, and reflect the confidence of producers and studios who continue to choose New Orleans as a filming destination. ‘Django Unchained’ is just one of the many high profile projects we expect to film in New Orleans next year.”
Chris Stelly, the executive director of the state’s film office, was a touch more cautious in his remarks about the film, reflecting the industry understanding that no project is truly “confirmed” until cameras are on the ground and rolling. But he agreed that the project stands to be yet another major feather in the cap of the local film production industry.
“While our office is aware that this production is very interested in filming in Louisiana, we have not received an application, nor can we confirm or deny their official status as of this time,” he said Tuesday. “That being said, this production, should it determine that Louisiana is the best place for filming, will be another great title to add to our ever-expanding canon of work. It speaks volumes to the credibility of our incentive program and the hard work that is being done by our office to provide stability for filmmakers.”
“Django Unchained” is expected to begin its New Orleans shoot in early 2012, with a release set for Christmas 2012.
Tarantino has described his film as a “Southern” — that is, a film with spaghetti Western sensibilities but set in the Deep South. With much of the story taking place in Greenville, Miss., tax-friendly Louisiana had been mentioned as a possible shooting location since soon after a version of Tarantino’s script leaked online in May.
Foxx is lined up to play the lead role, that of a freed slave named Django who learns a deadly new trade from a German bounty hunter (Waltz) who takes the recently freed slave under his wing. With his new skills, Django embarks on a journey to find and free his still-enslaved wife.
DiCaprio will play a plantation owner named Calvin Candie, and Jackson will play his trusted house slave. Costner will play a ruthless “trainer” who works for Candie, preparing his slaves to fight for sport.