Tom Savini Journal from DJango Unchained #1

April 4th: We were driven to the location, a real plantation about an hour from the hotel. We met and drove with one of the other Trackers, James Parks, the son of the fabulous Michael Parks, who was the Sheriff Earl McGraw in From Dusk til Dawn, and had the similar role in Grindhouse, and Kill Bill,  and who surprised the hell out of me playing Escabar in Kill Bill.

We arrived at the plantation and it was a circus with all the tents and trailers typical of a location shoot. We got into our costumes and slogged around in the mud. It had been thunder storming all night and the weather down here has been causing havoc with the schedule. In fact, I am supposed to leave here next Wednesday to fly to Austin Texas to be in Machete Kills, the sequel to Machete, and to play the lead of a motorcycle gang in a video game also to be shot there, and I am wondering at this point if I will make it there.

We were driven to the set down this amazing road lined by huge oak trees with hanging moss. Trees that were actually there in the 1850’s, and way before. They formed this massive arch with enormous braches reaching across the road from both sides and the hanging moss gave it a real Southern country side feeling. A feeling solidified and validated by seeing Jamie Foxx, on horseback, wearing his slick gunfighter outfit, leading a group of slaves toward Quentin Tarantino, behind the camera, riding a huge sweeping crane on a dolly tracking them.

Between takes Jamie Foxx was constantly practicing drawing his gun and twirling it, and flipping it effortlessly back into his holster.

I haven’t seen Quentin since the premiere of Grindhouse in downtown L.A. a few years ago, and have since then grown to respect and admire him ever more after seeing Inglorious Basterds and there he his dressed entirely in black and wearing a cowboy hat and riding the long arm of that crane, and even though he started shooting Django in November and it is now the beginning of April he is still enthusiastically enjoying every minute of what he is doing, laughing and joking with the crew and when the shot is over he comes over to us standing on the side of the road.

He greeting James first, then he came over and shook my hand and said how great my costume looked, spun me around and hugged me from behind and said ”and you don’t look Italian…thank God.” I came around and took his hand and shook it and thanked him for changing my character’s name to Chaney. He tipped his cowboy hat to me and said “aha…see…I knew you would like that.” I told him I loved it. He liked our costumes and we bid him goodbye till tomorrow, when we would be shooting the beginning of the Tracker stuff.

After we got out of our costumes and got back into the van to take us back to the hotel, Greg the second A.D., came over and said tomorrow, Thursday,  there is a change of plans.  Because of a bad weather forecast we are simply going to the sound stages so Quentin can see all the trackers at once in costume, and we will begin the Trackers stuff on Monday.  Now I’m really wondering if I will make  it on time to Austin, but I really don’t care. This film is the all important project right now.

I passed a trailer and saw a taped name on the door. Freddie Hice. Freddie was my stunt double in 1980 in the movie Knightriders. I can’t wait to see him.

That night Jodii and I went to Bourbon Street and it was a cacophony of hustlers and bands and food and booze and voodoo shops, and masks, and balcony’s and bright lights and we can’t wait to go back on Friday night with the boys.  We are off Friday and Saturday and Easter Sunday.

Check out Tom Savini’s Django Unchained Journal entry #2!



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