Filmmaker Reginald Hudlin says Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, an upcoming movie starring Academy Award-winner Jamie Foxx as a fugitive who gets revenge against his white slave masters, is a fast-moving, action-packed tome that’s far from your typical slave movie—and with good reason: Hudlin convinced Tarantino that the only way a pre-Civil War movie would find success with African Americans is if the story featured slaves who fought back.
Tarantino, Hudlin said, listened. “He came back 13 years later and said, ‘Hey man, I’ve finished my new script,’” Hudlin said. “And he handed me a script and said, ‘You planted the seed; this is the tree.’ And then I read it, and then he was very excited, he wanted to know what I thought and I said I loved it.” As a favor, Hudlin gave Tarantino notes on his rough draft and the filmmaker liked them so much that he asked Hudlin to be a producer on the film. “And when someone is trying to do the right thing and asks for some help, the only responsible thing to do is roll up your sleeves and get to work,” Hudlin said.