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Django/Zorro

And Tarantino said: ‘Black and brown come together.’ Reggie Hudlin on a comic book’s birth By David Betancourt February 5 at 10:00 PM Django/Zorro. (courtesy of Dynamite Comics) Overseeing historic moments involving heroes of color is nothing new for Reggie Hudlin. From his five-year run writing Black Panther for Marvel…

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The Man Who Helped Unchain ‘Django’

Here’s a wonderful article profiling me in the Wall Street Journal.  The Journal did a really important story on me at the beginning of my career before the launch of HOUSE PARTY, so their support means a lot to me.

The Man Who Helped Unchain ‘Django’

By A.D. Pruitt

February 16, 2013

Reginald HudlinReginald Hudlin has been a player in the entertainment world for over 20 years, but on Feb. 24  Hudlin will have his first shot at winning an Oscar as one of the producers for “Django Unchained.”  The Quentin Tarantino-directed film starring Jamie Foxx as a renegade slave turned bounty hunter is nominated for Best Picture, making Hudlin just the fourth African- American producer to receive such a nod.

Hudlin, former president of entertainment for Black Entertainment Television, is a prolific writer, director and producer for TV and film with much of his creative work touching on African-American-themed projects.  He is best known for his debut film “House Party” that starred hip-hop duo Kid ‘n Play and directing such hits as “Boomerang” with Eddie Murphy and Halle Berry.

So, it was little surprise that Tarantino picked Hudlin’s brain more than a decade ago about how to make a movie about American slavery.   “We were having a long conversation about slave movies and I stated my opinion that most of them don’t work because they’re more focused on victimology,” said Hudlin in a phone interview with The Wall Street Journal.  “I wanted to see people who fought back; the equivalent of Spartacus in an Antebellum context.”

Hudlin said he had forgotten about that conversation until Tarantino called him up with a script and said “look you planted the seed and this is the tree.”

Not everyone, however, appreciates what “Django” has grown into.  While the film’s  has had critical and commercial success, it has also sparked fierce criticism from black intellectuals and artists including film director Spike Lee who told “Vibe” magazine he wouldn’t see the movie because “it’s disrespectful to my ancestors.” As the sole black producer on Django, Hudlin shares his views about the criticism, the state of black Hollywood and if a “Django” sequel is in the works.

Jamie Foxx, left, and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Django Unchained.”How did Tarantino bring on you as a producer?

He called (me) over the house handed me the script. I told him how much I loved it and he asked me if I had any notes. I shared with him my thoughts…and then I wished him good luck. Then he said…we need to do this one together. We had never worked together before, but it was an exciting prospect. I knew this was an important movie. So, three days later we’re meeting with studios. A week after that, we’re scouting locations in Louisiana.

When you read the script did you think this was going to be a land mine for criticism particularly with the violence and the use of the “N-word”?

I thought that the movie was powerful. Of course, it was going to be controversial.  There’s so few stories made about black people that each film takes on an inordinate amount of importance …particularly in this period of our history.

Black people have not come to terms with how to deal with this most painful part of our past. You look at the Jewish community….they take the Holocaust, the most painful part of their heritage [and] their attitude is: we will never forget and we will take strength from this, we would never let the world forget. The black community has not come to that same kind of consensus.

How do you think this film changes the conversation?

First of all, there is a conversation. There weren’t people sitting around talking about slavery a year ago. People were talking about “Basketball Wives.” The very fact that people are talking about slavery, depictions of our history, researching different real life characters…is for the good.

Were you surprised by the acclaim “Django” has received?

I always felt very confident [with] the material. It was a great script, Quentin is a great director. We had a dream cast. Every day on the set, magic happened.

“Django” has been characterized as a Spaghetti Western. I thought it was also made in the spirit of the blaxploitation movies of the 1970s.

The phrase blaxploitation film is an unfortunate slur that has stuck on that period of movies. I think what defines those films are strong Black people who stand up for what they believe in and fight back. The fact we’ve never had as many images of strong black men and women since that period is criminal.

Tell me about your comic book series based on the characters from “Django.”

It’s really exciting because it’s based on the original script. We’re not just drawing the movie, we’re including all these scenes which may have been shot, but cut or maybe never shot at all. And the artist who’s drawing the books hasn’t seen the film yet. He’s doing his own version of the characters which sometimes look very different from the actors we cast.

Do you foresee a “Django” sequel?

I promised Quentin I would not harass him about a sequel for another six months. I know that Quentin has never done a sequel and it’s sort of torturous because he has fantastic ideas for sequels for almost all of his films. I have to presume there will not be a sequel, but I don’t have to accept it.

What do you think about the state of black Hollywood now?

The fact is things are much better. There are black actors in many more TV shows and movies than ever before. You can’t say there isn’t improvement in terms of more opportunity. I think what people continue to be frustrated about is the range of representation.

What do you think “Django’s” legacy will be?

Not only is “Django” Quentin’s biggest hit, it’s on its way to being the biggest western of all time. To say the biggest western of all time stars Jamie Foxx is an amazing statement.

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Oscar-Nominated Producer Reginald Hudlin Talks ‘Django Unchained’

Once central to the 1990’s Wave of Black Films, Hudlin Speaks on His Recent Oscar Nod

Reginald Hudlin

By Gil Robertson IV for Ebony.com

As a newly minted Academy Award nominee (as one of nine producers on Django Unchained), Reginald Hudlin has once again demonstrated his strength as a creative force in Hollywood. Beginning his career as the director of the classic hip-hop comedy House Party, Hudlin has gone on to showcase his considerable talents by directing other hit films like Boomerang and The Great White Hype, and as a writer and producer for several successful TV shows. A former president of entertainment for BET, the Harvard University graduate has been a consistent power player, widely respected throughout the industry for his commitment to his craft.

EBONY.com recently caught up with Hudlin to discuss his success on Django Unchained and his incredible career.

As a newly minted Academy Award nominee (as one of nine producers on Django Unchained), Reginald Hudlin has once again demonstrated his strength as a creative force in Hollywood. Beginning his career as the director of the classic hip-hop comedy House Party, Hudlin has gone on to showcase his considerable talents by directing other hit films like Boomerang and The Great White Hype, and as a writer and producer for several successful TV shows. A former president of entertainment for BET, the Harvard University graduate has been a consistent power player, widely respected throughout the industry for his commitment to his craft.

EBONY.com recently caught up with Hudlin to discuss his success on Django Unchained and his incredible career.

EBONY: How does it feel to make history as only the fourth African-American to be nominated for an Oscar in the Best Picture category?

Reginald Hudlin: It’s an incredible honor! Hopefully some time soon, there will be so many Black folks nominated in this category that we’ll stop counting.

EBONY: What are your thoughts regarding the various controversies with Django Unchained?

RH: This movie is not only QT’s biggest film, but it is on track to be the most successful Western in movie history. That’s right: a Black Western starring Jamie Foxx. A huge part of that box office success has been Black viewers. They were almost half the audience on opening day, and Black viewers have consistently remained around 30 percent of the box office thus far. So the people are clearly voting with their dollars. To quote Jay-Z, “Men lie, women lie, but numbers don’t lie.”

Our success is clearly more than just people going to see the film. All types of educators, critics, intellectuals, social activists and parents have contacted me in one form or another for helping to make the film happen. Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, has seen it four times. Dick Gregory has seen it 12 times. We never expected to please everybody, but once you remove the distortion effect of the media, it’s pretty clear that we are pleasing most people.

EBONY: How did you get involved with the film?

RH: Quentin and I have been friends for over 15 years. It’s a natural and easy friendship because we are pretty obsessive with our love of pop culture, whether it be film, music or comic books. We also don’t see any division between high and low art. Sometimes the most relevant expressions of pop culture are in mediums or genres that are dismissed by the mainstream, but they end up having a bigger long-term cultural impact.

Over a decade ago, Quentin and I were talking about movies about slavery and I brought up my frustration with most of them. I had no interest in seeing yet another movie about noble suffering. I wanted to see foot to ass. There were all kinds of Black people who stood up and fought back, including members of my own family. I wanted to see stories about them. It was one of many conversations we had about movies, so I didn’t think much of it until April of 2011, when he handed me the script and reminded me of that conversation and how that had been the seed for Django Unchained. There are not a lot of people in Hollywood who would acknowledge that, or bring you on as a producer to help ensure the spirit of the project. But Quentin is a rare individual.

EBONY: Do you have any comments regarding Quentin’s Best Director nomination omission among Oscar voters?

RH: I think everyone on the film did superlative work. I think Quentin is a masterful director as well as a brilliant writer. I think Sharen Davis is an incredible costume designer. I think the original music by John Legend and Jamie Foxx is incredible. I think Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson gave performances that will be remembered in film history. I can go on and on because I feel so proud of my colleagues and so protective of them. But you can’t complain about what you don’t have. I’m very proud of Quentin and Christoph winning Golden Globes, and I hope that’s the start of a trend.

EBONY: What would you say is the takeaway for moviegoers seeing Django?

RH: The film has spurred a national conversation about slavery, which is America’s original sin. It’s a conversation that is long overdue if we as a nation are going to make the most of the 21st century.

The film also tells us that a love story between a Black man and a Black women can have tremendous success at the box office, and that people of all races and ages will support it. 

Lastly, the film gives us a kickass Black hero in the spirit of Stagolee and other mythic characters. Django stands in for true-life heroes whose stories may never be told, like my great-great-grandfather, who was a conductor on the Underground Railroad.

Gil Robertson IV is a noted A&E and Black lifestyle journalist, author and producer. President and co-founder of the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), he resides in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Follow the AAFCA on Twitter @theaafca.

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The Road To The Golden Globes

The Road to the Golden Globes

Here’s a little photo essay about our Golden Globes experience.

Traffic on the way to the Golden Globe Awards

The traffic is incredible. This is a street I zip up and down four times a day, right near my house. Today it’s the only route to the Golden Globes and it takes a half hour to go five blocks.

Chrisette

Fortunately my wife looks beautiful. But I can’t tell her because I woke up with no voice that morning. I didn’t really speak to anyone until I hit the red carpet.

Reginald and fellow producers Pilar Savone and Stacey Sher

Me and my fellow producers Pilar Savone and Stacey Sher inside the room. This is my forth award show this week so even though it’s an incredible array of stars, you’ve partying with them every day so it’s like senior week in high school before graduation.

Reginald and Christoph Waltz at the afterparty

Me and Christoph Waltz at the afterparty later. He insisted I pose with his Golden Globe. Who am I to refuse?

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'Django Unchained' Producer Reginald Hudlin Talks Bringing the Film To Comic Form

By Joseph Hughes for Comics Alliance

Reginald Hudlin has worn a lot of hats. He’s been a producer, comic writer, and director, amongst other work. Recently, Hudlin’s applied two of those skills to one project, as both a producer on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained and, as it turns out, the writer who’s adapting the film into a miniseries for DC Comics, along with artist R.M. Guera.

ComicsAlliance had a chance to speak with Hudlin about writing the Django Unchained comic, talking comics with Tarantino, and the very real possibility of Kill Bill someday being adapted as a comic as well.

ComicsAlliance: Talk a bit about how this comic came about. It’s meant to include things that were cut from the final film. What made you, director Quentin Tarantino, and everyone else behind the decision come to the conclusion that a comic adaptation was the right way to tell this story in full?

Reginald Hudlin: Well, it always seemed a little odd to me that Quentin had never done anything in the comic book medium, you know? He’s such a fan, and we spend a lot of time talking about comic books. He likes to publish his screenplays as written, with no photographs, no images, so they kind of stand alone as a piece of literature. But given how many changes we were making to the screenplay while we were making the movie, because we’d say "Oh, this actor has a new idea," or "Quentin has a new idea," or something with the location, and we’d kind of change things around. And then of course with the movie we had to cut a lot of things just to get it to the 2 hours and 45 minutes that it was, so we had to cut a lot of scenes that were our favorite material. So the idea of doing a comic book that had all that original stuff just seemed like a good idea. It seemed like a good extra bonus for readers.

CA: Like you said, Tarantino hasn’t done comics before, and you were surprised by that, but you obviously have.

RH: Yeah, I mean, it’s cool. I’ve done them before, but he’s very comic book literate [laughs]. And the same way that we would spend hours discussing obscure movies and obscure TV shows, we would also discuss obscure comic books. Not just Marvel and DC, but Gold Key, Charlton, Dell, you know. We would go deep in the stacks as we talked about comics [laughs]. So it just seemed crazy to me that he had never done this. So I just said "Look, this is for you, this is your world. You need to be here." And when he was flipping through the pages of the first issue, he was just so happy, and he turned to me and said "I can’t believe we’ve never done this before." And I said "Yeah, can you imagine a Kill Bill comic! That’d be pretty cool."

CA: It’s not too late. I’m just putting that out there…

RH: No, no, it’s not too late! I promised him that going forward we would make sure that this oversight would never happen again. I’ll have to take a hard look at going back to some of those classics and maybe revisiting those as well.

CA: Again, you have experience writing comics, with your run on Marvel’s Black Panther and your work on the graphic novel Birth of a Nation. But this was adapting a screenplay into comic form. How has this experience been different from your previous comic work?

RH: The trick is, you know, when you read a Quentin Tarantino screenplay, you see the movie in your head. That’s one of the reasons why he’s not just a great screenwriter. The prose really sings on the page. So the trick is, he’s writing something incredibly cinematic, and so you’re taking something that’s very cinematic, and you have to translate it into another medium, this comic book medium. And there are certain things you can’t do. When he invokes that camera move in your head, well, you know we don’t quite have camera moves in comics. A character can’t nod his head, so he has to verbalize what he’s saying. You don’t have music and sound effects as tools in your toolbox. But that said, sometimes removing tools from your toolbox can increase your storytelling strength, because you have to say "Okay, well, how do I convey this idea?" So the challenge is exciting.

CA: You’re working with R.M. Guera, a very accomplished artist who previously worked on Scalped, a comic that, like Django Unchained, is partially inspired by Spaghetti Westerns. What’s it been like working with him? Were you familiar with his work before this collaboration?

RH: Oh, absolutely! I’m a huge, huge fan of Scalped. It’s a brilliant comic, brilliantly written and brilliantly drawn. We had a number of artists who were interested in the job, and when [Tarantino] picked Guera I was very excited. I think that having the right artist is a huge part of the job. You can just go "Okay, well, if I’ve got a script by Quentin Tarantino and art by R.M. Guera, there’s very little I can do wrong!" [Laughs].

CA: There’s been a lot of critical and commercial success with the film, but there’s been some controversy behind it as well, due to the violence, the language and the subject matter. Has that in any way shaped how you’ve gone forward in working on the comic?

RH: No. Well, first of all, I was working on the comic while we were still shooting the movie. And secondly, we made the decision really early on to make the comic book be the comic book, which is different from the movie. If anything the idea is that people can read the comic, they can see the movie, they can see what we changed, what we left out, what we kept in, and they can decide for themselves if those choices were good or not. We want people to look at the text and really think about those choices and go "Wow I’m glad they took that out, they didn’t need that," or "Man, I wish they had put that thing in!" That part of the discussion is great.

CA: Your name isn’t in the first issue, and the fact that you’re the one writing the adaption is just coming out now. Was there anything specific behind that decision? Was it just a timing issue?

RH: It was just a crazy time. We were finishing the movie and trying to get the book out, you know, so the last thing I was thinking about was credit! For me, it’s Quentin’s story and it’s Guera’s art, and that’s kind of what was important to me. And the folks at DC said "You know, could we tell people that you’re writing this thing?" [Laughs] And I just said "Okay, if you really want." That really wasn’t what was important to me, but our partners asked and I just said "Sure!"

CA: Have there been scenes you find are easier or more difficult to translate into a comic?

RH: Again, it’s pretty easy. I mean, the thing about this kind of adaptation work is really that you learn a script in an incredibly intimate way. It’s kind of like doing a cover version of someone’s song. You really go "Oh, I see how well this is constructed." And that’s the fun of working on it, particularly after being deep in shooting and revisiting some of those dialogue changes and scenes that were left out. We knew why we had to make cuts – the movie is pretty long even in this version. But it’s great to revisit some of those little scenes and go "Man, this is good stuff. This is really, really good stuff." [Laughs]

CA: Any hints as to what we can expect to see that isn’t in the film?

RH: Well, you know, every actor kind of has some of their favorite moments that have to go away for the greater good of the film. But I know Sam Jackson and Jamie Foxx and Kerry Washingtong and Christoph Waltz all had some of their favorite moments not make it. It’s a shame we don’t get to see all of their magnificent performances because they were great every day all day. But at least you get to see a hint of some of the great work they delivered throughout the filming in some medium. I know Sam is a big comic fan himself. We run into each other at Golden Apple on occasion. And he was one to say "Hurry up and get to my scene!" [Laughs]

CA: I’ve heard Samuel L. Jackson is a comic fan, so did he – or anyone else in the cast – come up to you at any point and say "Hey, I know this got cut, so you better put it in the comic!"

RH: [Laughs] No pressure! But I’m always proud that I’m the guy who told Sam "Go to the store and grab The Ultimates because you’re in it!"

CA: Ha! You were the one who first told him that?

RH: Oh yeah. So, you know, we have a great comic book relationship!

Django Unchained #1 is on sale now in your local comic shop and is available digitally from Comixology. Issue #2 will be available February 13th.

To order a signed copy of the DJANGO UNCHAINED comic book go to www.reggiesworld.com!

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Q&A: ‘Django Unchained’ Producer Reginald Hudlin Offers Up a Rare Inside Look at the ‘Django’ Comic Book & Quentin Tarantino’s Passion-Filled Process

 

Django Unchained #2 cover

When "Django Unchained" opens in theaters Dec. 25, audiences will finally see just what Quentin Tarantino has wrought with his provocative, ultraviolent slave-era Western. But that big-screen version is a long way from the screenplay Tarantino originally wrote that sparked a burst of excitement (along with juicy debate) when it first surfaced online in 2011.

Since then, scenes have been axed, dialogue has been added and major sections have been completely rewritten. Even the climax of the film was ditched — no longer does the titular character, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx, ride through town on his way to the Candyland plantation to blow up the master’s house. (Not to worry: Foxx himself claimed recently, "The new ending trumps it because Quentin made it a ‘ghost story.’")

But fans of that original version will still have a chance to check out what it might have looked like visually, since Tarantino’s script has been adapted into a comic book series by Vertigo/DC Entertainment. The first of six installments drops Dec. 19; the second, which features a cover by Denys Cowan revealed here for the first time, hits Jan. 30 (three and four go on sale in February and March). Think of the comic series as an alternate version — that happens to come out first.

"There’ll be a lot of scenes in the comic that are not in the finished film," says "Django" producer Reginald Hudlin, whose comic book credits include Marvel’s "Black Panther" and "Birth of a Nation." While putting the final touches on the film, Hudlin took some time to give Indiewire his first in-depth interview about it — plus his thoughts on black superheroes, nerding out with Tarantino and the challenge of translating a 168-page screenplay into panels and word balloons.

Who came up with the idea for a "Django Unchained" comic book?

It kind of happened organically, actually. We were getting proposals to publish an illustrated screenplay, meaning it would be the screenplay with a bunch of photographs from production, and Quentin didn’t really want to do that. He believes the screenplay is an artistic medium in itself. He loves publishing his screenplays, but he wants them to stand alone and not have pictures as a crutch; either the writing works or it doesn’t. And when Quentin gave me that response to the offer I said, "Well, I get that. And, in fact, I was kind of disappointed because when I read ‘illustrated screenplay,’ I thought they were talking about a comic book adaptation." Then he lit up, like, "Yeah. Now, that’s what I’m talking about! That would be fun." [laughs] I agreed, so I reached out to my friends in the world of comic-book publishing and we got it going.

Has a slave ever been the hero of a comic book?

There haven’t been many, but yes. I mean, I have a great appreciation for the medium and so does Quentin. His specialty is, in whatever you’re talking about — film, television, comic books — he will mention very obscure characters and titles. For example, we talked about comic books — specifically the subcategory of Western comic books — and how big a fan he was of "Gunhawks," which had a black slave who was teamed up with a Confederate soldier. To me, that’s typical Marvel. [laughs] Like, what’s the boldest, craziest combination we can put together? The fact is, as per usual, comic books are bold and will go to provocative places. I can also say, pretty confidently, that no one’s ever seen anything like "Django" before.

Django Unchained #1 variant cover

The plot for "Django" revolves around a newly freed slave in the antebellum South attempting to rescue his lost love, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), who was sold to another plantation. Though slaves could not legally marry during that period, did Django and Broomhilda consider themselves husband and wife?

You’re asking the question we bring up in the movie. Schultz [Christoph Waltz’s character] tells Django, “I didn’t know slaves recognized the institution of marriage.” And Django says, “Me and my wife do.” I mean, at the end of the day, doesn’t it come down to that? Marriage is a state of mind. Plenty of marriages on paper mean absolutely nothing.

Speaking of things on paper that aren’t necessarily binding, the original “Django”script went through numerous changes during production, and I heard that the gang rape of Broomhilda was toned down considerably. Quentin decided to shoot it in a way that protected Kerry while still conveying that something horrible happened to her character. Were those changes a direct result of her conversations with you and Quentin?

Let me answer that by making a broader statement. Quentin writes these scripts, and obviously he’s one of the best writers we have in our business right now. As the crew, we tend to treat his scripts with great reverence, like, “let’s figure out how to execute this exactly as he wrote it.” Quentin, though, looks at the script very much as a living document. He’ll show up on set with some new dialogue written on lined paper that he’s ripped out of a notebook and give it to an actor and say, “Learn this.” [laughs] And we’re going, “WHAT?” Then we see what he’s doing and say, “Oh, my God.”

Because it’s so much better.

We were completely happy before. But Quentin is constantly trying to figure out how to elevate, and part of that is talking with his actors. He’s not necessarily trying to appease his actors. But they are his partners, and he listens to them for their emotional truth.

Can you give us an example?

There was a whole other scene that kind of kicks off the third act of the film. Quentin knew the scene worked for every character except one, Jamie’s character, and when we were rehearsing it, Jamie said, “Oh, I’d play it this other way.” Quentin said, “Oh, really? I didn’t think you’d do that.” Jamie said, “Definitely, I’d play it like this…” That previous concern Quentin had, combined with Jamie’s instincts, made Quentin rewrite the third act of the movie! He always wants things to be true. That’s why he shoots the movie in what he calls “emotional order,” meaning it’s not quite in continuity order. But his thinking is, here’s a big scene, and based on how that goes maybe I don’t need so much of this other stuff, or maybe I need more of something else. Those things happened throughout the process of making the film.

Django Unchained #3 cover

You and Quentin seem like a very unlikely team. How did you first meet?

We met years and years ago. I’m friends with Pam Grier, who invited my brother Warrington and I to an awards event where she was being honored for her work in “Jackie Brown.” Quentin was presenting the award. And as soon as we met, Quentin said, “I saw that special you did for HBO, ‘Cosmic Slop.’” Now, this is something very few people have seen. It’s an obscure part of my filmography. And Quentin goes, “I don’t know why you did that short ‘Space Traders’ [about aliens who offer to buy the African American population] for HBO. That’s a feature. You blew that!” I was like, whoa. Then I thought about it and said, yeah, you know, he’s kind of right. [laughs] That kind of started our relationship, where we would meet up whenever and talk very, very passionately about movies, about everything.

Do you ever get competitive with each other when it comes to pop minutiae?

“Competitive" is not the right term. It’s more like we “revel in our nerditude.” I remember overhearing my assistant describe our interaction to someone. He said, “Yeah, Reggie and Quentin will talk, and then they’ll just go to a place and no one knows what they’re talking about.”

Is there any talk of releasing Quentin’s earlier films, such as “Pulp Fiction,” as comic books?

Funny you should say that. When we were looking at the “Django” pages, we were lamenting that we hadn’t started this a lot sooner. And I said, “Well, maybe it’s not too late.” So, yes, that conversation has started. I think comic books are part of the complex strain of DNA that make up what people think is the Tarantino style of storytelling. You’ve got all kinds of things that go into that mix. And for someone like myself, who never understood why he never did anything in that medium, I was very excited to shepherd “Django”into the comic book format.

Tarantino’s scripts are extremely quotable and dialogue-heavy. How do you go about adapting one?

I was a little intimidated at first. But if you just break up the story into the appropriate number of panels, it actually flows really well. When I was showing Quentin the first 10 pages of the book, I said, “Look, we’ve got it all in there, and the page isn’t drowning in word balloons. You still have plenty of room for the art.

Django Unchained #4 cover

Can you talk about the decision to go with R.M. Guera for the book’s illustration, and what kind of direction Quentin gave him?

We looked at a lot of artists, and Quentin picked R.M. Guera, who has done great work but is best known for “Scalped,” which is a kind of noir series among Native Americans set on a reservation. He’s a brilliant artist, and that sensibility is perfect for what Quentin’s doing. Also, R.M. already worked with Quentin, adapting a couple of scenes from “Inglourious Basterds” for Playboy magazine. “Django” was that same approach: Don’t draw what’s in the movie; draw what’s in the script, which in some ways is different from what’s in the movie. We also have a great lineup of different cover artists: Jim Lee, Denys Cowan, Alex Ross and Frank Quitely. They all do their interpretation of Django. I get excited about projects like this, because I also feel like it’s a way to help support a medium that means so much to me.

It’s been a while since the comics industry has seen a new iconic black superhero. Do you think “Django”has the stuff?

He could. I’m committed to the concept of black superheroes, no matter what. And I certainly consider Django a superhero. 

The first commercial black superhero was “Black Panther,” which you helped revive in 2005.

That’s right. When I was writing “Black Panther” for Marvel, I told them I want to give back to that next generation, and the series turned out to be a huge success. “Black Panther” is the biggest seller in the Marvel Knights line of animated DVDs. It out-sold Joss Whedon’s “X-Men,” which is pretty amazing given the brand power of those two great names. It out-sold “Iron-Man Extremis.” BET, who reluctantly aired the series at midnight, keeps re-running it because it gets a huge ratings bump every time, without any marketing and promotion. The show has become this amazing cult hit. [Hudlin was BET’s president of entertainment from 2005 to 2008.] A lot of my interest in comic books is diversifying the audience base. One of the nicest compliments I ever got was from a comic book retailer who said, “Reggie, we love when your comic books come out because we get different people coming into the store.” By “different,” he didn’t just mean black, he meant not the same people who come in every Wednesday. When I go to a comic book signing, there are tons of women. I see adults and kids — Latin, Asian, white, black — and I think that’s healthy for the industry.

Are you still planning a big-screen version of “Black Panther?”

Yeah, but those decisions are up to Marvel. Certainly, Stan Lee [who created the character with artist Jack Kirby in 1966] has said on multiple occasions he wants a “Black Panther” movie to get made. People are constantly asking me, “What’s the holdup?”

And what’s going to happen to Django when the miniseries wraps up?

Don’t know. Of course, I want very much to see the further adventures of Django. Quentin and I have talked about what those might be. But I want to see it in a feature film, and I don’t want a comic book to pre-empt or put him off doing a sequel, even though Quentin’s [officially] never done a sequel in his life and may never do one. All I know is we’ve got a great movie coming out, and we’ve got a great comic book, and we’ll see what happens after that.

Craigh Barboza is a New York-based freelance writer. His work has appeared in Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, Uptown, USA Weekend and Vibe.

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Django Unchained New York Premiere Party!

Dancing With Jamie Foxx and Quentin Tarantino

By Melena Ryzik

Even before the strong showing for “Django Unchained” at the Golden Globe nominations on Thursday, Harvey Weinstein was in a good mood. At the film’s premiere, hosted by the Cinema Society on Wednesday night, he stood at the front of the Ziegfeld Theater and crowed about the honors that this Weinstein Company release had already garnered: a host of nominations from the NAACP Image Awards.

His enthusiasm was doubled by Quentin Tarantino, the film’s director, who started singing in front of photographers and introduced his cast as though he were Don King on speed. “First name Jamie, last name Foxx,” he said, calling out the star. “Middle name — – ”

Well, let’s say it was a Tarantino-ism and, not a gentle one.

“Django Unchained,” a western-turned-slave revenge epic – which somehow also incorporates a German bounty hunter, an anachronistic Ku Klux Klan comedy bit courtesy of Jonah Hill, and countless references to Italian cinema – received glowing reviews from the opening-night crowd, even as they were sometimes fazed by the body count.

The afterparty, at the Biergarten at the Standard Hotel, was jammed with a who’s who of Mr. Tarantino’s friends and former stars, like Uma Thurman, Cameron Diaz, Sam Rockwell, Liv Tyler and Jeremy Piven. Diddy turned up, hugging Mr. Weinstein, slimmed down in a black T-shirt, and partying with Mr. Foxx and Samuel L. Jackson, another cast member. Sitting with his family was Christoph Waltz, his head shaved from a recent role in a Terry Gilliam film. An Oscar winner for Mr. Tarantino’s last film, “Inglourious Basterds,” he plays the scene-stealing German in this one.

At 1 a.m., when the party was due to wind down, Mr. Foxx got in the DJ booth and began a stream of thank-yous and shout-outs. (Why wait for an awards show stage?) The shout-outs included most of the horoscope (“My birthday is in two days,” he noted) and then called for someone to fetch Mr. Tarantino to join him. “Tell him to cut the story short – I know he’s telling a story right now,” Mr. Foxx said.

“A whole year of shooting the movie, 30 minutes to cut it,” Mr. Foxx said, when director turned up, trailing Ms. Thurman. “With everybody calling saying, What’s up? What’s up? What’s up?”

Of course, Mr. Foxx praised the final product, trimmed to two hours and 44 minutes. “With the subject matter and everything, the way it plays, I thought it was fantastic,” he said. “So kudos to everybody that had anything to do with this movie.” As his friend DJ Irie blasted hip-hop, the entire geometry of the room shifted toward the DJ booth, when Mr. Foxx, Mr. Tarantino and Ms. Thurman began dancing behind it.

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