JARRATT, JOHN – DJANGO UNCHAINED
DIRECTOR BLOWS UP! AGAIN!
Quentin Tarantino had himself blown up repeatedly – just for fun –
during the making of Django Unchained, as John Jarratt tells Andrew
What Quentin Tarantino did for Austrian actor Christoph Waltz’
acting career when he cast him in Inglourious Basterds (2009),
Aussie filmmaker Greg McLean did for Australian actor John
Jarrett’s when casting him in Wolf Creek (2005). That parallel
was consummated when Tarantino cast Jarrett in Django Unchained
(2012) – which also stars Waltz (as well as Jamie Foxx, Leonardo
diCaprio Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington).
The connection is crowned by Tarantino’s much publicised
admiration for Australian films and for Jarratt as his ‘favourite
Aussie actor’. In Django Unchained, Tarantino has cast both his
favourite Austrian and Australian actors. Had Tarantino not had
to cancel his Australian trip to promote Django Unchained, I
could have asked him what he liked so much about these two guys.
But Jarrett is here in Sydney ….
… and he is giving me a great impersonation of Tarantino on
location, during the scene when he (Tarantino as an Aussie
mercenary) gets blown up. Assuming the Tarantino accent and
speech mannerism, Jarrett channels the great man, his arms doing
as much talking as his mouth after the explosion which spreads
dirt and muck everywhere; he was carrying a bag of TNT. Baaaaang!
“So you got that OK? Everyone OK with that? Cameras OK? Perfect.
Great. So let’s do it again!” Why? Asks Jarrett. Because he loves
the process. They blow him up again. Seven times.
"We had a lot of fun but we
“He’s very committed,” says Jarrett. “We had a lot of fun but
we WORKED! He takes the work seriously, but not himself. He likes
the larrikin thing Aussies have.”
Jarrett plays a redneck, “and I know that character better than
he does, so he just left me alone … except after a while he
complained I said ‘fuck’ too many times and he had to cut a few
It’s a bit strange sitting in a swank Sydney harbourside hotel
room looking at the Opera House with Jarratt with his Mick Taylor
look, leaning on the table with his bare right arm – all
tattooed, and his face furry with facial hair: “I’m working,” he
says simply, by way of explanation. For eight weeks he’s shooting
Wolf Creek II, as Mick, the only character from Wolf Creek to
have a role this time. And this time, the film is more a road
chase than a gut wrenching horror film but he won’t elaborate.
It’s only the most recent of Jarratt’s acting personas. His
resume lists some iconic Australian films, including Picnic at
Hanging Rock, We of the Never Never, The Odd Angry Shot and All
Men Are Liars. Among his television credits he cites his role as
Ned Kelly in the mini series, The Last Outlaw as career defining.
“I was 27 and the challenge and responsibility of delivering that
character for a mini series really improved my acting,” he says.
By way of complete contrast, he was a writer and presenter for
Australia’s highest rating Lifestyle program, Better Homes and
Gardens, which won the much coveted Logie Award for Best
Lifestyle Program for four consecutive years.
More recently, of course (among other roles). he created the
serial killer Mick Taylor for Wolf Creek.
Jarratt had met Tarantino some years ago when the noted American
director was visiting Sydney to promote his film, Kill Bill 2
(2005). “We spent a couple of hours over a drink and a meal,”
recalls Jarrett, talking about movie making. “He’s across every
genre … he remembers everything,” says an impressed
"a redneck Aussie in charge of
In Django Unchained, he plays a redneck Aussie in charge of
some prisoners – including Jamie Foxx’s Django – being
transferred to a prison. “Originally Tarantino had cast Anthony
La Paglia as another Aussie but when the shooting schedule had to
be moved, Anthony couldn’t make it, so Tarantino decided to play
the role himself.”
Did Jarratt coach him into his Aussie accent? “I helped a bit,”
he says modestly.
The film is set in pre Civil War Texas, where a former dentist
turned bounty hunter, Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), buys
the freedom of a slave, Django (Jamie Foxx), who can identify his
next bounty, a gang of stagecoach robbers and killers. But Django
proves such a valuable asset Schultz makes him a free man and
trains him as his deputy. Although happy enough with the deal,
Django most wants to find his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington)
who had been separately sold as part of his punishment for trying
to escape his owners. The trail eventually leads to the huge
plantation estate owned by the ruthless – and heavily protected -
Calvin Candie (Leonardo
"Jarratt’s dance card is likely
to fill with
offers from American filmmakers"
With Django Unchained, Jarratt’s dance card is likely to fill
from American filmmakers who will no doubt want him to reprise
his redneck Aussie character. “I don’t care,” he says, “as long
as it’s good work I’m happy to do it.”
Published January 24, 2013
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John Jarratt - in Django Unchained
DJANGO UNCHAINED REVIEWS
John Jarratt with Michael Parks as employees of The LeQuint Dickey Mining Co. in Django Unchained
John Jarratt - in Wolf Creek