‘Django Unchained’: Jonah Hill’s Cameo Explained

Director Quentin Tarantino shifted the film's production dates to accommodate Hill's busy schedule.

Quentin Tarantino has always been known to throw a random cameo or two into his films, especially when it comes to comedians. So it may or may not have come as a surprise to moviegoers when Jonah Hill appeared briefly as an idiotic Klan member in “Django Unchained.”

The story behind Hill’s appearance, as MTV News’ Josh Horowitz found out when speaking with the actor, almost never happened, but his appreciation of Tarantino’s film ultimately saved his role in the movie.

It all began back in 2010, when Tarantino listed Hill’s film “Cyrus” as one of his top 10 of the year. Hill approached the filmmaker to thank him. “I saw him at some award show and I went up to him and thanked him. ‘Pulp Fiction’ and ‘Goodfellas’ are the two films that made me want to make films, so I just told him how much it meant to me that he had seen a movie that I was in. He’s very approachable, Quentin, and he’ll talk to you,” Hill said. “He’s seen every movie, even the sh—y movies you’ve made. He’s seen them all and knows every moment from them. He’s such a cinephile, and he’s really approachable and easy to talk to, which makes him great.”

That conversation was what eventually lead to Tarantino offering Hill a role in “Django Unchained,” but the appearance almost didn’t happen because of Hill’s busy schedule. “I almost couldn’t do the film because of scheduling,” Hill said. “I wrote him a letter saying how sad I was, which ended up moving him to move the dates for me because he was moved by my letter, that was very personal, about how much his films mean to me. It was so nice that he rearranged it so I can be in the film.”

The appearance is unusually short for an actor of Hill’s stature, but he wasn’t worried, considering what Tarantino has done in the past with one-scene performances. “As an actor, you worry, ‘Is it weird for me to do one scene in a film?’ When I take off my hood, I feel like people do go, ‘Oh.’ There’s recognition that I wasn’t in the rest of the film, and then all of a sudden in the film,” Hill said. “Then I was thinking about Christopher Walken’s scene in ‘Pulp Fiction.’ It’s one of my favorite one-scene parts, if not my favorite, so if there was ever a director to do that for, it was Quentin. [It's] not like there was a choice in my head, whether to do this or not.”

Check out everything we’ve got on “Django Unchained.”


Writer/editor for MTV. If it involves cowboys, spies, or hitmen, I'm there. All three would be ideal.
@KPSull