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Character: Jungle Julia
Production Status: On DVD
Directed by: Quentin Tarantino
Written by: Quentin Tarantino
Selected Cast: Vanessa Ferlito, Jordan Ladd, Rose McGowan
Release Date: April 6, 2007
Genre: Horror, Crime, Action
MPAA Rating: R
Stuntman Mike is a former Hollywood stunt race car driver who targets and kills women with his “death proof” stunt car. In Act I, Mike surfaces in Austin, Texas to target a group of women whom he knows; Jungle Julia an outgoing, dope-smoking, radio DJ/fashion model meeting her old school friends for a night on the town whom are sentimental model Arlene, and local bad-girl Shanna, as well as bar-nut hippie Pam who tries to make Mike notice her, unaware of his sociopath and misogynist tendencies. In Act II, Stuntman Mike surfaces in Tennessee where he randomly picks another another group of women to stalk all of whom work in the motion picture business; Abernathy is a make-up girl and stand-in wanting a chance of pace in her life. Lee is a naive B-movie actress. Kim is a tough-minded stunt woman always wanting action. And Zoe is a fellow stunt woman from New Zealand visiting her friends. However, the second set of girls proves more though to get, and because of a combination of bad luck and Stuntman Mike’s carelessness, the girls decide to turn the tables on their tormentor for revenge of their own.
About her role:
Wow. Where to begin with Jungle Julia! Jungle Julia is fierce. She’s a cool, pot-smoking, radio DJ with a vast knowledge of music and as a quote in the film says which sums up Julia to a tee; She allows herself to be a bitch. And yet, you can’t help but love her (or love to hate her, if you will). Sydney is fantastic in the movie. First, she captures the screen immediately; Who is this actress? you will think. Secondly, she speaks a flawless “Tarantino accent” – shelling out line after line of memorable one liners and never missing a beat. Julia is nothing like the characters in recent memory and it’s no wonder this is Sydney’s breakout role!
Trivia and Facts
• Quentin Tarantino named the character “Jungle Julia Lucai” after his personal assistant, Victoria Lucai.
• The cheerleader costume worn by Mary Elizabeth Winstead says ‘Vipers’ in homage to the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad (DiVAS) in the Kill Bill movies. It is also the same colors as Uma Thurman’s jump suit; yellow with black stripes.
• In one of the billboards Sydney posed in the actual Kill Bill jumpsuit. (The actual image did not make the final cut of the film, but can be seen on the dvd features). Other billboards for “Weekday Mornings with Jungle Julia” are Rollergirl, Julia of the Jungle and one of her sitting.
• The original name for Death Proof that pops up for about a frame is “Thunder Bolt.”
• At the beginning, Vanessa Ferlito’s character is drinking from a soda cup. The restaurant on the cup is the same Mexican restaurant (Acuna Boys’) that is advertised during the transition between Planet Terror and Death Proof in the original double feature cut of Grindhouse.
• The film has a lot of homages to Quentin Tarantino’s previous films. For instance: The Acuna Boys faux resturant is mentioned in Kill Bill vol II., Big Kahuna Burger is something from Pulp Fiction, The scene where the girls are having breakfast is a virtual recreation of the breakfast scene from Reservoir Dogs. Others are – One of the characters asks for ‘Red Apple’ cigarettes, a trademark brand of Tarantino.
• Michael Parks, Marley Shelton, Elise Avellan and Electra Avellan are the only performers to appear in both Grindhouse films, and play the same characters. Rose McGowan and Nicky Katt also appear in both, but they play different roles.
• The only reference to Jungle Julia in Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror is a quick shout on on the radio.
• “Oh, no doubt.”
• “What about ‘kinda cute, kinda hot, kinda sexy, hysterically funny, but not funny-looking guy who you could fuck’ did you not understand?”
• Arlene: “Who do you want to hear?”
Jungle Julia: “Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich.”
Jungle Julia: “Dave, Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mitch and Tich.”
Arlene: “Who the fuck are they?”
Jungle Julia: “For your information, Pete Townsend, at one point, almost quit The Who. And if he had, he would have ended up in this group, thus making it Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick, Tich and Pete. And if you ask me, he should have.”
[flips on the radio]
Jungle Julia: “That’s my boy!”
• “Black men and a whole lota’ mother fuckin’ white men have had plenty fun adoring my ass. I don’t wear their teeth marks on my butt for nothing.”
• “But maybe a little later in the evening, you’ve had a few drinks, you’re kind of losey gosey, you’re safe with your girls. Then some kinda cute, kinda hot, kinda sexy, hysterically funny but not funny looking guy comes over and says it – then maybe you did it earlier and maybe you didn’t.”
• “It is definitely the best acting experience, professional experience I have ever had. I am a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and when I got the call to go and audition for Jungle Julia, I was just beyond myself with joy; and then when I actually got the script and read the part, I was ten times that joyful because she is such a cool character and so different from who I am. She’s so different from the parts that I usually get cast in that it was such an incredible opportunity and I was just so excited.”
• “He [Quentin] had me in mind specifically for this part. I had auditioned for him in a couple of his films. I had auditioned for Kill Bill and he did an episode for C.S.I that I had auditioned for, so when he was writing the character of Jungle Julia, he had in mind actually for that just based on the auditions I had had with him. I was always going in for Jungle Julia. Originally he wanted me to read for Jungle Julia and Abernathy and then that change and he was like, “No, she’s just Jungle Julia”. So, I only went in for Jungle Julia but when I read the part it was as he said, the exact part that I was looking for because I’m always to play something so different from who I am and different from what I normally get cast as, and so for someone like Quentin Tarantino to see me in that way or to believe that I can pull it off was such an honor and I was so excited.”
• “I’m normally the nice girl or the sweet girl or the girl next door. I get a lot of those roles; the young, naïve one. I don’t usually get the tough girl roles or the bitchy girls or the really sexy girls.”
• “I used to love horror films when I was younger and then for some reason, I stopped loving them. They freaked me out too much. When I got Grindhouse I sort of started to get back into it. I started watching some horror films; I would come across one on TV and watch it. I’m back in the phase of liking the horror genre. I don’t know about all the crazy ones like Saw and Hostel and stuff that comes out in the theaters, but I definitely have a little bit more of a desire to watch like that.”
• “I think Quentin has a knack for writing dialogue and I was so shocked on how well he captured women. I was really amazed that dialogue was exactly the dialogue that I would have with my girlfriends on any old day. In fact, it was really bizarre because I would be driving around after working on set with Jordan (Ladd) and Vanessa (Ferlito) and we would be going to whole foods or something for dinner and we would be having the same conversation about boys and half way through we would stop and we would have almost verbatim the same conversation in the car in the movie and it’s trippy.”
• On working with Jordan Ladd and Vanessa Ferlito
“We, really, really, really did bond. I think part of Quentin’s genius was that he had all of the girls come to Austin, Texas three weeks early for rehearsals and he had everybody stay in the same hotel and it just became this big girlfest. Everybody was in everybody else’s room until 5 o’clock in the morning being silly and drinking and laughing and talking about guys and all sorts of things that girls talk about. By the end of the three weeks we had all really established genuine friendships and bond and I don’t know if he had some sort of special intuition in the way that he cast us, but he really cast girls that out chemistry naturally together was just awesome. I genuine love all these girls. I have a real friendship with them. By the time we got to film anything, it was already there. It didn’t have to be worked on. It was just natural and really organic.”
• “When I had to prepare for this character, I did like a mock radio show for Quentin and I sat down and recorded myself for about two hours and playing the sort of things I thought Jungle Julia would play.”
• On Jungle Julia’s music of choice
“Her musically style is lot of classic rock and classic R & B, and really old bootleg stuff that’s hard to find. In Quentin’s words, she is to music what he is to movies. She’s a real aficionado and she only plays vinyl and she only plays things from her own collection on her show. So I play a lot of stuff that would be hard to find. I went through and figured who were the local bands in Austin, Texas because she’s an Austin DJ and she would supportive of her local musicians and I listened to a lot of blues bands and 70s rock homage bands and alternative rock bands and I picked and chose what she would put on the show. It was a real eclectic mix of music.”
• “Jungle Julia, she’s Amazonian. She’s got a big ass. She’s tall and these things that was already me and he physically based her on me and so I really didn’t, but at the same time I knew I would have to be in a tiny, tiny shorts and underwear and whatever, so I definitely did my fair share of squats and lunges and tried to look the best that I could look but I knew I wasn’t allowed to “change” my body. I wasn’t supposed to lose any weight. This is Jungle Julia. She’s a strong, curvy, powerful woman and she owns her body. She has confidence in it. She feels it. She loves it. So it was more about working on the mental part of it and feeling that way about myself so that when I was in character there was no doubting. I had to move with utter ease and confidence.”
• On Tarantino’s apparent foot fetish
“The minute I opened the script, one of the first things it says is, “Arlene’s feet tapping on the dashboard, and then cut to Jungle Julia’s feet walking down the hallway”. I saw that there was already a love of feet when I opened the script and I had actually heard that he has a thing for feet; so when I went in for the audition, one of the first things I did when I started playing the part was that I walked in the audition, sat down on the chair, we got ready to go and I kicked off my shoes and I put my feet up on the table, and I think that helped me get the part because I had her body language and I put the feet on display.”
• On auditions and doors opening after Death Proof
“It’s always a challenge and it’s still challenge. This movie hasn’t come out yet and I hope that when it does, that it may be less of a challenge. I don’t really know. I’m a little spoiled now. Once you do a Quentin Tarantino film and you say that dialogue, and you’re in a move that being made by someone who is so passionate about films, it’s going to be hard to top the experience but I do hope to play more roles that are at least close to what I was able to do in this film that are really fleshed out, that really multi-faceted, interesting characters.”
• On Grindhouse
“I would say that it’s really a cinematic event. It’s an experience. It’s like nothing anybody has seen before, ever. It’s worth going just because it’s going to be a really wild ride for the whole night. You are going to go and spend three hours seeing stuff that just is going to blow your mind. It’s over the top. This movie has gore but it has so many other elements. There’s girl bonding, there are relationships, there’s love, there’s lost, there’s car chases, there’s crazy over-the-top action, and there’s female empowerment. I think Quentin’s movie is such a female empowerment movie. There’s all these tough, strong, kick ass brawds that are so cool. I think from that alone women will really appreciate it.”
• On Quentin Tarantino
“He spent a lot of time with his women friends just listening and observing. He’s so perceptive.”
• “I’m definitely not the one taking charge. I’m probably much more like Arlene, kind of along for the ride and there to have a good time.”
• On the Jungle Julia Billboards that were up during filming
“The first day was surreal. I didn’t even realize it was up and I was driving by to get coffee or tea or something. I saw out of the corner of my eye this huge billboard. I looked up and I almost wrecked the car. I was like, ‘This is crazy.’ Like, ‘That’s my face.’ And then they just started popping up all over the city and it was really strange. But we were shooting nights mostly so it ended up not being as weird as you would think, because we were asleep most of the day and then we were up working most of the night. It’s not like I had people being like, ‘Are you the girl on the billboard?’ I had a few like if I would go to the market and stuff, but it was cool. I liked it.”
• On Quentin Tarantino
“I think he has a real reverence and respect for women. I think his characters are so fully developed that the sexuality, like she said, was just innate in them. They really own their sexuality. They own their femininity. They’re strong, they’re confident. They have no issues about their bodies or who they are. I think he has a real appreciation for that and he really treated it really respectfully. One of the first things he said to me when I got the part was he’s like, ‘I’m going to be doing a lot of leg shots and a lot of butt shots. The camera’s going to lovingly caress your body but know that I’m a gentleman.’ And he really, really is, and so you never felt uncomfortable.”
• “Brigitte Bardot is the hot chick on the wall in Jungle Julia’s apartment. That set was amazing, her apartment was so cool, and so really Quentin. You know, you see that picture of me on the couch and the Brigitte Bardot picture and just the way it’s all done was so Quentin, and he was involved in every detail of her apartment. Of the records that went in there, he wanted a thing of, a schedule from the Alamo Drafthouse like up on her fridge, and the colors we both flipped through, and he’s like “pick anything that we wouldn’t think would be in her apartment”, so we went through and I took out something I didn’t think would be in there, and he took out some stuff that he didn’t feel was right, and stuff that he had found he put in there, some of it was his personal stuff, so it was really, it was an awesome set.”
• “Once I found her DJ voice, I had her voice, and I really started to get into character. So I would say, a lot of the embodiment of her was just my own creation.”
• “I fell in love with whatever it was he was doing. I thought it was a kinda crazy and kinda cool idea of a guy who goes around killing girls with his car, that was like, who does that. It’s just bizarre. So I was mostly just amazed by his dialogue, and he wrote the women so well, and it was so, it was funny, it was comedy, but it was also kinda creepy and strange and. So I was just really excited. I mean it’s Quentin Tarantino, I mean I would chop off my left foot to do a movie with him [laughs].” “Literally. My right entire leg! … to do a movie with Quentin Tarantino!” [laughs]