Quentin Tarantino Says There’s ‘No Truth’ To Kanye West’s Claim That ‘Django Unchained’ Was His Idea

Quentin Tarantino loves a good tall tale. But on Thursday night (Oct. 28) QT went on Jimmy Kimmel Live! to pour water on a recent stem-winder that Kanye West told in which the embattle rapper (now known as Ye) claimed that he originally conceived the idea for Q’s 2012 historical revamp tribute to Spaghetti westerns Django Unchained.


After West said in a recent interview that he pitched a similar concept to Tarantino while working up the treatment for the video for his 2005 hit “Gold Digger” — which features Jamie Foxx, later the star of Django — Tarantino told Kimmel that’s not exactly how it went down.

“There’s not truth to the idea that Kanye West came up with the idea of Django and then he told that to me, and I go, ‘Hey, wow, that’s a really great idea! Let me take Kanye’s idea and make Django Unchained out of it.’ That didn’t happen,” said Tarantino of the 2009 Ye video that feature the rapper and Foxx frolicking with scantily clad models.

“I’d had the idea for Django for a while before I ever met Kanye,” Tarantino continued. “He wanted to do a giant movie version of [his 2004 debut album] College Dropout the way he did the album – so he wanted to get big directors to do different tracks from the album and then release it as this giant movie – not videos, nothing as crass as videos, it was movies, movies based on each of the different tracks.”

That story differs significantly from the one West told British talker Piers Morgan in a recent interview. “Tarantino can write a movie about slavery, where actually — him and Jamie [Foxx] — they got the idea from me, because the idea for Django I pitched to Jamie Foxx and Quentin Tarantino as the video for ‘Gold Digger.’ And then Tarantino turned it into a film,” Ye said during the interview, in which he also continued to lean into his recent string of antisemitic comments that have caused his once sprawling business and music empire to crumble.

The Hype Williams-directed “Gold Digger” video consists almost entirely of West rapping the song in a raspberry-hued void while Foxx croons the refrain and buxom, lingerie-clad models dance with the men at a nightclub and pose for magazine covers. Tarantino’s controversial Oscar-winning film tells the story of a freed slave named Django (Foxx) who embarks on a killing spree across the South with a German bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) as they search of Django’s wife (Kerry Washington); there does not appear to be any obvious narrative correlation between the “Gold Digger” video and Tarantino’s film.

Which is exactly what QT told Kimmel, though he did reveal that he did have a meeting with Ye that didn’t amount to anything.

“We used it as an excuse to meet each other and and so we met each other we had a really good time. And he did have an idea for a video,” Tarantino said, adding that the kernel could have turned into something. “I do think it was for the ‘Gold Digger’ video, that he would be a slave. And the whole thing was the slave narrative where he’s a slave and he’s singing ‘Gold Digger.’ And it was very funny. It was a really, really funny idea.”

When Kimmel quipped that it sounds like it could have been a “funny slave video,” Tarantino responded, “It was meant to be ironic. And it’s like a huge musical. I mean, like no expenses spared with him in this slave rag outfit doing everything. And then that was also part of the part of the pushback on it. But I wish he had done it. It sounded really cool. Anyway, that’s what he’s referring to.”

Watch Tarantino on Kimmel below.

Gil Kaufman