Fri August 17, 2012 7:14pm
AUSSIE actor Anthony LaPaglia has dumped heavyweight director Quentin Tarantino for an Australian TV movie.
LA-based LaPaglia, home to launch his new Australian film Mental, was to play a small part in Tarantino's upcoming film Django Unchained, which stars Jamie Foxx as a freed slave-turned-bounty hunter.
But when his one day of shooting with Tarantino was continually pushed back, threatening his commitment to local production Underground, about Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, LaPaglia faced a "tough decision''.
"For me to pull out of Underground would have hurt it,'' LaPaglia said in Melbourne yesterday. "They'd raised the money partially on me and Rachel Griffiths (being involved). They were about to start shooting and it would have created mayhem and may have shut the film down.
"The people at Django, their attitude more or less was, 'Just dump the other film', but I couldn't do it out of respect to (director) Rob Connolly, out of respect to the material, out of respect to the commitment I'd made.''
Following speculation in Hollywood that Tarantino may not complete Django Unchained in time for its Christmas Day release in the US, LaPaglia, 53, wondered if he could have had the best of both worlds.
"The (Django) production was just out of control, over-budget it was everywhere. I had to formally withdraw. They recast it and they still haven't shot anything. I could have said nothing and just hung out I could be there shooting it now.''
A producer on Django posted online that the film finished shooting on July 26.
"I'm just happy I got it,'' said LaPaglia, who had rehearsed his part with Tarantino and Foxx. "I had as much fun being a part of the film, probably more fun, than even shooting it. Quentin is brilliant and I love him. That's just the way it goes.''
Underground will screen on Channel 10 later this year. Django is scheduled to open in Australia on January 24.