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Quentin Tarantino created some of the most iconic movie characters. He has a vast knowledge of cinema and includes an abundance of references. However, he always manages to create compelling characters and powerful dialogue for them to speak. This allows his actors to portray their characters in fascinating ways that can get them awards attention. Tarantino once admitted that he had a weird relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Django Unchained character.

Quentin Tarantino writes charismatic villains

'Django Unchained' filmmaker Quentin Tarantino and star Leonardo DiCaprio pointing and smiling at the Japan premiere
L-R: Quentin Tarantino and Leonardo DiCaprio | Jun Sato/WireImage

Tarantino has created some truly despicable bad guys over the course of his career. Yet, he still often manages to make them charismatic and engrossing. Inglourious Basterds‘ Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) is a particular highlight. The Nazi commander is an antagonist for obvious reasons, but Tarantino’s writing and Waltz’s performance make him perhaps the best villain Tarantino has ever written.

Death Proof‘s Stuntman Mike to Kill Bill‘s The Deadly Vipers all contribute a fascinating component to their respective movies. Many of them have even translated into Internet culture in the form of memes. Tarantino’s villains have become a part of pop culture in a way that is supremely satisfying.

Quentin Tarantino admits that he had a ‘really weird’ relationship with Leonardo DiCaprio’s villain, Calvin Candie

The ReelBlend podcast interviewed Tarantino to talk about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. However, he also discussed his other filmography. The filmmaker explained some more technical filming aspects, but also explored the character building.

“I had a very weird relationship with the character he played, Calvin Candie,” Tarantino said. “Because all my villains, every single villain I’ve ever created, I’ve always kind of had sympathy for. I always liked to some degree. Even Hans Landa. I could see his point of view. I like the guy. Bad, but I got it. Christoph makes him likable.”

However, DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie character from Django Unchained was different. Tarantino really couldn’t get into the character. He wrote him, yet absolutely hated him. Tarantino was able to find something special in Hans, but couldn’t find anything to really grasp onto with Calvin.

Tarantino continued: “Calvin Candie was different from the rest of them. I kind of detested the character. I really, really hated him. It was weird to write a character that I hated and kind of feel that way about the character. Because of that, I thought he was a substandard character.”

Leonardo DiCaprio brought something special to the role


Quentin Tarantino Reveals How He Came up With ‘Django Unchained’ – ‘It Was Like Christmas in July’

DiCaprio had an interest in the character that Tarantino didn’t from the very start. As a result, the filmmaker thought that he was tricking him in a sense.

“When Leo was really into it, I thought I was kind of buffaloing him a little bit,” Tarantino admitted to ReelBlend. “I thought, ‘This character is not as good as he thinks it is.’ I’m not going to set him straight! (Laughs). I’m thinking, ‘He ain’t all that.’”

Tarantino concluded: “To me, he was without ambiguity, which makes him a lesser character. But, we did a really good job of filling in everything. And Leo brought ambiguity to the piece.”

Many fans expressed that DiCaprio should have been nominated for an Oscar for his masterful performance. Waltz ultimately won the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role.