Leonardo Di Caprio Exposes Evil Side in Django Unchained

Leonardo DiCaprio takes on his first truly villainous role by playing Calvin Candie, owner and proprietor of an infamous plantation called Candyland, in Columbia Pictures' Oscar-winning action-thriller “Django Unchained.”

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Candyland is the nucleus of a hostile, dysfunctional, powerful operation. “One of the things that was interesting about the Antebellum South is the fact that when you had slavery you had the equivalent of big corporations today,” writer-director Quentin Tarantino says. “You had big corporations then, but they would just be families.”

“Leo let me know he was interested in the film,” Tarantino says of DiCaprio. “I tried not to be that specific with the character in the script, and I tried not to describe him too much, so it could be open for interpretation. But I was thinking, possibly, of an older actor. And then Leo read the script and liked it and we got together and started talking.”

DiCaprio made an impact, and Tarantino’s concept of the character shifted. “I just started imagining how much easier it would be to reconfigure the guy as a Caligula; a boy emperor,” Tarantino says. “His daddy's daddy's daddy started a cotton business and his daddy's daddy continued it and made it profitable, and his daddy made it even more profitable. Now, he’s the fourth Candie in line to take over the cotton business and he’s bored with it. He doesn’t care about cotton: that’s why he’s into the Mandingo fighters. But he’s the petulant boy prince. He’s Louis XIV in Versailles. So I wanted to really play with that idea, of King Louis XIV, but in the South. Candyland is a completely enclosed community, about 65 miles long. That’s a fiefdom. He has the power of a king; he can execute people, or do whatever he wants.”

“One of the most vile aspects of his character is that he’s just got this charm, and yet he doesn’t really think he’s doing anything wrong,” co-star James Remar says of Candie’s rationale. “He’s this guy that’s got too much money, too much power, too much time on his hands, and he can run people’s lives. He’s a Caligula. He’s quite mad, but he justifies all of it. People aren’t gonna like him. But they’ll respect his work. I mean I’m watching it and I’m very drawn in. He is very precise. He pays a great deal of attention to detail.”

“Leo has a level of commitment and seriousness about his work that I don’t think people recognize because he’s very quiet, and he’s very humble, and he keeps to himself,” producer Stacy Sher describes DiCaprio. “He is the person who learned as a young man from Robert DeNiro in `This Boy's Life.' He’s the person who cares about the filmmakers that he works with, and he brings his intelligence, and his commitment, and his desire to get you closer and closer to the truth.”

Samuel L. Jackson’s Stephen has perhaps the most complicated relationship with Candie. “Once we started doing table readings in Los Angeles I discovered where I wanted to go with him, who he was, and what I wanted him to be,” Jackson explains of Stephen. “It’s an interesting relationship between Leo and I that works out very well in terms of Django’s relationship to Dr. Schultz. Their relationship is almost shadowed by our relationship.”

“I was here since his father was here, and probably spent a lot of time with him as a child and kind of raised him. I’m almost like the father that’s gone,” Jackson says. “We have another relationship in private than the one we have in public. Leo’s characterization is awesome, and when we’re alone he becomes the child that I used to take care of, and teach things, and talk to, and have a sterner relationship with in terms of making him get in line and understanding what’s going on.”

Opening across the Philippines on March 13, “Django Unchained” is distributed by Columbia Pictures, local office of Sony Pictures Releasing International. Visit www.columbiapictures.com.ph to see the latest trailers, get free downloads and play free movie games.

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