Walton Goggins Has One of the Most Painful Deaths in a Tarantino Movie — And He Deserved It

Quentin Tarantino has a gift for casting actors who are the obvious choice in hindsight, but a left-field surprise until you've seen the film. Everybody is well aware by now of the trials of casting John Travolta in Pulp Fiction, or how casting Kurt Russell in Death Proof revived the actor's career. But, sometimes, a very obvious choice can be equally genius. For example, when casting the TV Western stars in 2019's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Tarantino added the modern real-life equivalent, Justified and Deadwood's Timothy Olyphant to a cast that included Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio. And even earlier, Justified's Walton Goggins joined the Tarantino roster for 2012's western epic Django Unchained.

Walton Goggins' successful collaboration with the auteur would prove fruitful, both on-and-off-screen, as he went on to also star in Quentin Tarantino's second western, The Hateful Eight, three years later. The latter saw the actor given a much bigger role the second time around, further proof that his acting style was a perfect match for Tarantino's directorial flair. But it's hard to forget Goggins' more obscure character in Django Unchained though, due to his memorable and brutal on-screen death at the hands of the titular hero (Jamie Foxx).

Django Unchained Movie Poster

Django Unchained

R

Adventure

Drama

Western

With the help of a German bounty-hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal plantation owner in Mississippi.

Release Date

December 25, 2012

Director

Quentin Tarantino

Cast

Leonardo DiCaprio , Jonah Hill , Samuel L. Jackson , Jamie Foxx , Kerry Washington , Christoph Waltz

Runtime

165

Main Genre

Western

Writers

Quentin Tarantino

Studio

TWC

Walton Goggins Played Billy Crash In 'Django Unchained'

Django Unchained follows Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) as he liberates an enslaved man, Django – the "D" is silent. The two bond and soon, Dr. Schultz agrees to embark on a mission to liberate Django's bride, Broomhilda (Kerry Washington), from the clutches of the monstrous plantation owner, Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Walton Goggins plays the role of Billy Crash, Candie's right-hand man and a feared gunslinger. Crash is a "Mandingo fight" trainer and overseer at the Candyland plantation, so an all-round despicable man.

"He's a ruthless, ruthless guy," says Goggins of his character, "and he's part of the system that supports this way of life. He's not just a cog in the wheel, he's one of the spokes!" Billy Crash also goes as far as to belittle his enslaved subject by purposefully mispronouncing Django's name, which he pronounces with a voiced "D". Goggins spoke of the difficulty of taking on a role as vicious as Crash, stating, "There's no way I could reconcile my worldview with this character. Never the twain shall meet." But ultimately, Goggins understood that he had a responsibility towards telling this story, "I'm one of the main guys that Quentin needed in order to tell that story, and at the end of the day […] this is so much bigger than me."

Walton Goggins' Death In 'Django Unchained' Was Brutal

In light of the character's relished racism, it must come as no surprise, therefore, that Tarantino opted to write a most painful ending for Billy Crash, as punishment for his trespasses against Django and all the enslaved people alike. Earlier in the film, after discovering Django and Schultz's true intentions to liberate Broomhilda, Billy Crash has Django hung upside down, and kicks him in the muzzled face until he regains consciousness. He then jokes callously as he readies to castrate Django, but external factors save our hero.

In a poetic twist, when Django later wounds Crash, Django taunts him for the castration attempt, and shoots him in the private area. In a final full-circle detail, Billy Crash continues his trend of mispronouncing Django's name, "Duh-Jang-Go", as he curses him out. Django then delivers his trademark line, "The D is silent, hillbilly", before killing Crash with one last shot. "I think that we as human beings inherently understand retribution," says Goggins of his character's over-the-top demise. "So, it's nice to experience it in a fantasy."

Billy Crash Was Significantly Different In The Original Script

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The original screenplay for Tarantino's Django Unchained is an interesting read for fans of the film, particularly due to the fascinating differences between the document and the final product. Many characters, such as Scotty Harmony – a role originally intended for Jonah Hill, then Sacha Baron Cohen, and then scrapped altogether – failed to make it to the big screen. Others, like Ace Woody, Ace Speck, and Goggins' Billy Crash, began as slightly different characters, serving similar responsibilities within the story. For example, Billy Crash was not originally given his personal castration storyline, almost deprived of the gruesome end that made him so memorable in the movie.

That's right; in the original script, the iconic "the D is silent" line was not uttered by Django after shooting Walter Goggin's character. Instead, Crash was just another gunned-down roadblock in Django's way, with not quite the same iconography attached. In fact, some of Crash's moments came from a scripted character named Ace Woody, a character who doesn't technically appear in the finished film. Kevin Costner was cast as Woody before he dropped out, likely to work on Hatfields & McCoys, with Death Proof's Kurt Russell replacing him before dropping out too. Ace Woody was then scrapped altogether, with Goggins serving a similar purpose as Billy Crash and James Remar playing another Ace Woody proxy, Ace Speck.

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"It was unbelievable, man," Goggins told The Playlist. "To get an opportunity to work in this capacity, in a role that Kevin Costner had first, and then Kurt Russell had second. It was a chance of a lifetime." Goggins spoke specifically to the abundance of deleted scenes and changes from the script, outlining lost scenes in which Billy Crash's interpersonal relationships with Calvin Candie and Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson) were made clear. "We had long conversations between Billy Crash and Sam Jackson’s character and how they both had a vested interest in keeping the status quo because it was the only way they would retain their power. […] In some ways, Sam Jackson’s character was Candie’s manager and Billy Crash was his agent."

Django Unchained is available to stream on Starz in the U.S.

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