The Horses & Stunts of Django Unchained

The Horses & Stunts of Django Unchained


[Tarantino] We do wild stuff
in this movie. It’s very exciting action
that you see in the film. But we did it all very safely,
and we took the time to do it. You can actually do really amazing,
eye-popping things with horses. You just need the time to train them.
You need months to train them, To get them ready to actually be able
to do it so they don’t get hurt. [theme music] [Tarantino] It’s wonderful to have
that humane sticker. That’s why I put it so early
in the closing credits. So to relieve audience members,
to know that this was just make-believe. Everything is OK. This was just
a fun adventure to watch. And nobody was actually hurt. The horses are as important
as the people in this. Because, you know, I’ve always said , “The people have a choice,
the horses don’t really have a choice. ” Quentin, he doesn’t want to see the tick
on the side of the horse get injured. He doesn’t want to see a bug
crossing the road get run over. He wants what he can get out of
everything to a point. But, hates injuries. [woman] Our stunts team are
a group of rock stars. No one has ever done
the kind of stunts with horses, with no animals injured ,
that we pulled off in this film . The Western is, you know,
it’s coming back little by little. It’s fantastic.
But, to do it right for Quentin , and knowing that he’s not gonna want to
cut it up in chunks, that’s hard work. There’s a lot other stuff that’s
been done, but not like this. It’s got that
Quentin Tarantino twist to it. Our big scenes are running down the
hill , and the big explosion . I think we had about 35 horses
in that scene. Yeah , at least. I’m not sure of the numbers
because we had extra horses. I think 35 horses ran down the hill.
It’s my 37th year doing this, this is the show I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been wanting to do
something like this all this time. And, knowing how many friends,
kids, and relatives, and everything I had on that,
it was blissful stress. [men yelling , whooping] It’s really John McLeod ,
and Dash , and Rusty really putting their time together
and timing everything out perfectly. And, just practicing. I mean,
practice, practice, practice. So, once those horses all
charge down the hill and the dentist wagon has to blow up. [Dashnaw] For the explosion, reading the
script obviously the first thing that popped in my head was
“How many horses are gonna be falling?” Quentin said , “Ya know, it would be cool
to kinda have maybe seven , or eight horses fall . And I want
it to happen from the explosion . ” You know, Quentin, he wants big shots
and he wants them real. I n my head I’m thinking , “OK, I need 15
falling horses. ” Because I don’t think ever that they’ll all go at once. So if
he wants seven , I’m gonna have 15. If we seven to go, we’re gonna be lucky.
If eight go, we’re more lucky. If ten go, we’re killin’ it.
Fourteen , 14 horses fell . [man] Pass out the torches please,
light them up. [man on megaphone] Everybody good? If you need another rehearsal
raise your hand . [Dashnaw] The rehearsal time was months.
I replayed it in my mind a hundred times. Before we started
shooting, we did a rehearsal for Quentin and it literally was all the horses all
at the same time which I’ve never seen . Nobody has seen that
many horses fall at one time. [man] Remember the cadence: three, two,
one, action . The explosion at two. We tested it probably five or six times
leading up to the night we did it. At varying scales trying to figure out
what everybody was gonna be happy with . [man] OK, lets clear out guys.
Quietly please for picture. The Humane guys were brought in,
we talked to them. Everything was approved, and pretty much
went off without a hitch. [man over megaphone] Get ready.
And , three, two, one, go! Auf Wiedersehen . – [all shouting]
– [horses whinnying] – [man] Cut!
– [overlapping chatter] [Dashnaw] There was so many people
to thank for their hard work. The wranglers, the guys
that train the horses, the guys that bruise themselves up
having 1 ,200 pounds fall on you is… …you have to be really good at it.
You have to know what you’re doing . – [man shouting] Three, two, one, go!
– [explosion] [Dashnaw] I had three of my sons working
on it. It was very satisfying because there was three different
generations of stunt people there. From grandsons, to sons,
to fathers. They were all there. Ever since I was a kid I , for the most
part, have worked with my dad . That’s basically how I started . It’s nice because I feel the most
comfortable with him . I know how he does things.
He’s real big on safety. My kids have been ,
they grew up in it, you know? Wranglers, and cowboys,
and stunt people, it’s a cultural approach to life. Generations of their family
have been doing this kind of work. I’m third generation in this business.
My grandfather, my father, my mother. They did every Western
from the late ’30s, all the way through the John Wayne era.
I was raised on a Western movie set. Now my little brothers are following
also. My little brother, Chad , is starting to come into his own
and work a lot. Yeah , I mean , I’ve always known
it to be a family thing . Even the stunt guys that my dad grew up
with , we’ve known our whole life. A lot of them I call my uncle because
we’re all a really close-knit group. Bill , I’m going to be down here
with Johnny and Todd . I was a proud father, a proud uncle,
I was proud of everybody that night. I guess we can stop talking about that
’cause I could go on forever. Dash was amazing . Old school . . . great guy. Great crew, all those guys.
Teaching me how to really, I knew how to ride a horse
but not really “ride ” ride. For a guy that’s accomplished everything
he has accomplished in his life, Jamie started at the bottom
and he got better everyday. It didn’t happen by accident.
He worked very, very hard at it and never missed a training day. [Hendrickson] When I got here,
he had gone through a series of different horses trying different things. One of the horses
that he had been taking lessons on was his horse.
I mmediately, we took that horse and we started training on it
to become a movie horse. I got a chance to ride my own horse in
the movie, which was great. But my horse wasn’t used to sets.
So Dash was always there, “Look, the horse
is gonna be a little spooked when those big screens come
down , so just be cool . ” They got me doing tactical things
so I knew what the horse could do. And that was really necessary because at
any point something could go wrong and having someone like Dash who was
always there to make sure you were completely thorough all the way up until
where I’m riding bareback. And he says, “Listen , you gotta ride a
little further than we thought, but if you feel like you wanna jump off
of the horse, and you’re falling , just jump off. ” I was like, “All right,
cool . ” Then the horse takes off going 30 miles an hour, I’m like, “How am I
gonna jump off this damn horse ?” We actually executed great
and he runs up to me and says, ” I’m thinkin’ as you’re
about to fall off that horse, I hope this guy doesn’t do anything that
I told him to do as far as jumpin’ off ’cause it would be the biggest mistake
in all of our lives. ” We got a real cool kinship. I really bonded with those guys,
which was really special . [Waltz] These people, Rusty, Monty,
my new friends. They know about horses.
It’s absolutely incredible. They really told me how to read the
behavior, how to feel the movement. And then , riding is really a revelation . He’s real into his part. He didn’t want to just come out
and get the basics of riding. He wanted to learn how to hold your
hands, and how to sit, and how to look. And came and rode more than anybody.
Jamie and him were unreal . Even when it came to driving the wagon,
he was great, and just into it. He has an eye of what he likes
and wants it to look like. So, he told me
what he wanted to accomplish and he’s gone for it
as full as he could. It kind of fit his character
to let him be a little more elegant. Jamie is like the cowboy, let’s go!
Christoph is more refined. And you’ll see Christoph working his
horse in many different shots. And his horse bows for him . This is my valet, Django. And these
are our horses, Tony and Fritz. [Dashnaw] But, it didn’t come without
training. Christoph’s a hardworking guy. Same with Jamie.
This cast is unbelievably committed . You kill people?
And they give you a reward? Certain people, yeah . – [metal springing noise]
– [sheriff screaming] I’m Thell Reed .
I’m a world champion fast-drawer. Live ammunition I might add . I’m training all the actors
so they look like they’re really hitting the target
when they fire the guns, and manipulate the old single-action
guns. That’s kind of my job. – Thell Reed .
– [woman] Thell? Thell Reed . T-H-E-L-L. Thell’s one of those guys that if you
saw him , and you can picture yourself in the 1860s and you went into a bar,
he’d be the first guy you’d wanna slap. Now I can show you a draw
if you’d like to see a draw. – [woman] Can we stand up for that?
– Yeah . He’s small in stature, he’s unassuming . But he can shoot you five times before
you can get the word ” I’m sorry” out. – Here’s a fast draw.
– [gun clicks] As you can see, it doesn’t take
much time to get ’em out and fire. – Let me slow down a little bit for you .
– [gun clicks] He’s worked with everybody.
He goes back to the John Wayne days. Every actor, just about, that you see
spinning a gun and doing it really nice, has been trained by Thell Reed . Well , I started when I was seven .
I had a little head start. Would you care to? [Waltz] Jamie got really good
with a gun. Really, really good. I mean , he can twirl it any which way
and land it in his holster. And you have no idea how he did it. It’s kind of a flourish
back to the holster. You take the gun , you twirl it like
this. It goes to the leather. It looks good . A lot of guys
did that in the Old West. That’s kind of what they’re doing , yeah . It’s kinda like this,
and into the leather. A little harder with the pocket,
but you see the idea though . Thell showed him what to do and Jamie
just worked , worked , worked at it. Jamie was relentless. [Reed] He has scenes where he has to do
all this phenomenal shooting. ‘Cause he is a natural gunfighter
of all time in this picture, and he could be, too.
He used different guns in the movie. He ‘ll pick up a Navy Colt,
an Army Colt, a ’58 Remington, and just work with both hands, too. We got some scenes
that are just unbelievable. I can see why he’s won
the Academy Award , because he’s an Academy
Award-winning pistolero, also. You know, Jamie and Christoph ,
both were great. Fantastic. It was another thing
that I had to learn from scratch . ‘Cause I’m not a gun person . I don’t
even have a fascination for guns. Well , he’s a great guy and he really
listens and he really practices. We started out training with a long
barreled Remington pistol . The ‘ol cap and ball eight-inch barrel . He had to hold a lantern out
and drop it with his gun hand , draw and shoot this guy before the
lantern hit the ground . He could do it. – [gun clicks]
– [Reed] And that’s hard to do. Last chance, fancy pants. Oh , very well . [horse whinnying] [man screaming] Oh , this is great. I’ve always wanted to
work with Quentin Tarantino, my favorite director. [chuckles] [Dashnaw] The bullet hits
that we do on this show, and the way that we choreographed
the bullet hits, the effects guys put
so much work into the hits. And the stunt guys put so much work
into making them look real that you don’t want to just go bang , bang , bang ,
bang , bang and shoot everybody. So, we map out and diagram . These guys were perfect. Everyone’s paying attention,
everyone’s so focused because they have bought into
what we ‘re doing. How many times have you
heard people say, “Why doesn’t Quentin Tarantino
make a Western?” Well , we’re in it, and it’s happening . Everybody that’s here,
wants to be here. We brought in Terry Leonard , Buddy Jo
Hooker, Walter Scott, and Hal Burton . Every one of those guys
are probably gonna hate it, but every one of those
guys are over 70 years old . And they’re all guys that have
been in the business forever. Terry Leonard’s a living legend.
Buddy Jo Hooker, Walter Scott, Burton. We brought ’em in. Got ’em dressed and
put ’em in the Big Daddy lynch mob. They rode in with their torches,
and they had a ball. They said this was the best set
they’ve ever worked on. They said,
“Is he like this all the time ?” We go, “Yeah , man ,
it’s like this everyday. ” I was gonna say, “action” , then a beat
and a half, you start your dialogue. Since Quentin knows everything
about every movie that’s ever been made, just about, there’s references in the script
to a lot of great shots. The name of the game is keep up,
not catch up. – [men laughing]
– [Dashnaw] The good part is, We have horses that we
can do anything on. So, Quentin referenced Taras Bulba. When Yul Brynner walks up to a guy that
gives him a smart aleck response, and Yul Brynner pulls the guy
and the horse over. – Whoa!
– [whinnying] From Wild Bill, there was a shot
of a guy falling face first in the mud . And not saving himself. It’s basically like putting
your hands in your pocket and falling nose first into the mud . Now this is a little bit more… [Dashnaw] We made Quentin a member
of our stunt group, Grand X. So, we think that much of him. He’s gonna act out just about every
stunt, in the movie. He does it like he wants it. Hold it, hold it, hold it. [Dashnaw] If he expects you to do it,
he ‘ll try it himself. [woman] He didn’t fall face first,
did he? – No, but he was ready to.
– [woman laughing] Like, “No, no. We got this.
Stay back there. If you don’t like it,
then we’ll let you do it. ”

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