Shooting Django Unchained's Snowy Quick Draw Scene Was A Tricky Technical Process

You barely have to look at the DNA of Quentin Tarantino's filmography to see that he has an affinity for paying tribute to his favorite subgenres, whether it be samurai cinema ("Kill Bill") or grindhouse thrills ("Death Proof"). In the case of "Django Unchained," however, he gets to cover both Blaxploitation and the spaghetti western, with Jamie Foxx playing the titular slave turned gunslinger. Although the character originated in Sergio Corbucci's controversial 1966 film "Django," with Franco Nero in the lead role, it's safe to assume most folks know about him through Tarantino's adaptation.

It can be argued where the film falls in Tarantino's oeuvre in terms of quality, but "Django Unchained" is still a bloody good time that fits alongside the filmmaker's revenge flicks quite nicely. It largely comes down to the incredible chemistry between Django and Schultz (Christoph Waltz), the unassuming bounty hunter who helps his newly freed partner to free his wife, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the sadistic plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

After helping Schultz take out his initial bounty, in one of the film's most triumphant sequences, we get to see Django hone the accuracy of his sharpshooting skills on a snowman. While most of the film was shot in locations ranging from California to Louisiana, it was the snowy plains of Wyoming that gave Tarantino a difficult time.

Keeping the camera dry was 'snow' easy feat

If you've ever seen a film use noticeably fake snow, that's probably because shooting in the actual stuff can lead to problems. During a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Quentin Tarantino talked about how he had to prepare himself for complications regarding the film equipment. "I just had to assume that there would be times that the lenses would freeze, or that the big camera would freeze," said Tarantino.

When it came to Django's quick draw sequence, however, the frigid temperature was so chilly that it not only led to a strain on the filming equipment but the prop weapons as well:

"Even the guns didn't work. And that happened to be the day we were doing Django's fast draw. So literally in between takes, you got a hair dryer on the lenses and a hair dryer on the guns to make sure that they were warm enough."

You always hope that the elements will work in your favor, but sometimes it just has to make things harder, especially with your cast and crew trying to keep the operation running in an unpredictable environment. Regardless, Tarantino was able to get what he needed, and Jamie Foxx came out on the other side looking like one of the smoothest gunslingers in the West.

"Django Unchained" is currently streaming on Paramount+.