Kerry Washington is Broomhilda in ‘Django Unchained’

And there you have it, folks. For the past several months we’ve watched as Quentin Tarantino filled seemingly every single role in his Django Unchained except the key character of Django’s wife Broomhilda — but the part remains empty no more. Kerry Washington has landed the female lead in the “Southern-fried spaghetti Western,” in which she’ll star opposite Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, and many others. More details after the jump.

The character of Broomhilda is integral to the film, as it’s her horrible suffering that indirectly sets the rest of the plot in motion. The story sees Django (Foxx) teaming up with German dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Waltz) to free Broomhilda from evil plantation owner Calvin Candie (DiCaprio).

Washington’s casting doesn’t come as a huge surprise, as she’s been rumored for months; Deadline writes that Tarantino had her in mind since the beginning. However, Tarantino also flirted with the idea of casting an unknown in the female lead and even held a long casting search before ultimately coming back to Washington.

Washington joins an extensive and impressively talented cast that also includes Samuel L. Jackson, Gerald McRaney, Dennis Christopher, Laura Cayouette, Kurt Russell, Don Johnson, Tom Savini, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt in addition to Foxx, Waltz, and DiCaprio.

Washington isn’t a huge name on the scale of some of her co-stars, but she’s been doing steady, respectable work in film and TV for the past decade or so. Django Unchained will mark a reunion for her and onscreen husband Foxx, with whom she previously starred in the critically acclaimed Ray. She’ll next appear in The Details opposite Tobey Maguire and Elizabeth Banks, and next year’s A Thousand Words with Eddie Murphy. She’s also set to star in ABC’s midseason Shonda Rhimes drama Scandal, as fixer Olivia Pope.

Django Unchained will begin shooting early next year for a Christmas 2012 release.

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