We’ve all heard about casting nepotism, when children of famous actors get roles just because of their parents’ achievements, but what about pet nepotism? That’s exactly what happened in Quentin Tarantino’s biggest movie, “Django Unchained,” though it worked very well for everyone involved. In an interview with Games Radar in 2012, actor Jamie Foxx, who played Django, revealed that the main horse he rides in the film was his real-life pet horse. The casting came about because Foxx was practicing riding himself for the film with Cheetah, and the two were such a natural match that it seemed logical to put Cheetah in the film.
Foxx got the horse for his birthday about four years before he was cast as Django and started filming, but told Tarantino that he had his own horse from the start. The horse was not just a nameless pony, but he was given a named role in the cast: “Tony”! Django and Tony are a great duo, just like Foxx and Cheetah, and they kick ass on screen. There were some issues with having a pet horse turned actor, of course, but the two of them took it in stride.
a man and his horse
In a behind-the-scenes video of the home video release called “Horses and Stunts,” stunt coordinator Jeff Dashnaw explained that Foxx took horse training very seriously, with Foxx explaining that working with horses on screen is really a struggle. team:
“I got to ride my own horse in the movie, which is great. But my horse wasn’t used to the sets, so I [Dashnaw] I was like, ‘Hey, the horse might freak out when the big screens go off,’ but they made me do tactical stuff so I knew what the horse could do, and that was really necessary because at any moment something could go wrong. ..”
They also shared a story where Foxx rides bareback on another horse and runs at top speed. Dashnaw advised Foxx to jump in if he got too nervous, but that would have been disastrous, as both Foxx and Dashnaw reveal with a laugh. The scene with the racehorse is in the final film, and the look of mild terror on Foxx’s face is at least partially genuine. He may have trained to ride a horse during the film, but bareback riding is expert-level horsemanship and can be dangerous even for people who have ridden for years. Fortunately, the actor held on and everything worked out.
There’s an old Hollywood adage about never working with children or animals because they can be unpredictable, but the existing friendship between Foxx and Cheetah meant that wasn’t a concern at all.
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