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Tom Savini’s Journal from Django Unchained

Django Unchained is finally released on DVD today. I of course will be going out to purchase a copy of the film after I post this. To celebrate the release, we are featuring the legendary Tom Savini‘s journal from his time spent behind the scenes while filming Django. Most of you recognize Tom Savini as Sex Machine from From Dusk til Dawn but his resume goes far beyond just that. He is a Pittsburgh-based actor, world renowned special effects artist, stuntman and director who has acted in close to 60 films with more to come. Savini has acquired a remarkable cult following among film fans, primarily due to his ground-breaking special effects in the splatter movie explosion of the early 1980s.

Tom Savini’s Django Unchained Journal

I am in New Orleans right now acting in the new Quentin Tarantino movie Django Unchained. It is his first Western and I am playing a slave tracker named Tracker Stew.

I arrived here on Tuesday, April 3rd, in New Orleans with my girlfriend Jodii, and right from the airport I was taken to academy award nominee Sharon Davis for my costume fitting. It is a period movie taking place in the 1850’s so I was wearing pants and the boots I felt the most comfortable in and a baggy shirt and then the piece de resistance….a fur vest made of raccoon skins with the head placed right in the front of my chest. I immediately decided to use the raccoon….to think of the raccoon…. as an ex-pet that one of the slaves, D’artangan, has killed in a drunken rage. I am to sick three of the most vicious shepherd dogs onto him in one scene and now I have a subtext, something to think about while in character, while sicking the dogs on him…. something to hate him for.

Roy, our driver, explained to us that the huge drainage pipes we are seeing on the side of the highway were built a year before Katrina hit down here because New Orleans is like a bowl that water pours into from the Gulf, and there is no natural drainage. The problem is the generators for the drainage pipes were built on ground level and flooded out from Katrina and they couldn’t turn them on, therefore much flooding. He also explained the joy of eating crawfish. Something I haven’t tried yet.

Later that day we went to the French Quarter and I bought some cigars from a place where ten guys were sitting there rolling the cigars fresh in front of us, and ate a Muffaletta sandwich. Don’t ask me what was in it but it’s a local favorite and it was damn good. People all around us were eating crawfish, as it is the crawfish festival season.

That night we joined some of the KNB crew at a local bar/restaurant around the corner from the hotel, and waited for my friend Gino Crognale to arrive from the airport and join us. It was me, Jodii, Jeff Edwards, Carrie Jones and Big Jake and the bar was so unnecessarily loud it felt like we were at a rock concert and it was so hard to hear anyone talk. I hated it.

When we left Jake made a remark about my character being named Chaney. “What?” I said. “No my character is Tracker Stew.” He said no, and didn’t I know that Quentin changed it to Chaney? I thought he was fucking with me but he brought up the cast list on his iPhone and right next to my name it said Tracker Chaney. I was floored and very emotional thinking how thoughtful it was of Quentin to change my character name to reflect the biggest influence of my life Lon Chaney. That is Quentin. He knows everything, and is such a gracious guy.

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  1. Pingback: Tom Savini | Death Island Movie Pitch

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