Both Kurt Russell and Sacha Baron Cohen have decided to leave director Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. Baron Cohen himself broke the news on The Howard Stern Show (via HitFix), saying, “That was going to be a cameo, but I had to drop out because of [The Dictator's] press tour.” Russell, on the other hand, has not yet publicly released a reason for his exit.
Russell and Baron Cohen are not the first actors to unchain themselves from the slave drama. Before Russell took over for him, fellow veteran actor Kevin Costner left his role as Ace Woody, a villainous character who trains slaves to fight each other for public amusement.
Tarantino has not responded about his cast losses, but things should be getting very sticky on the set with a December 25th premier date looming.
On the other hand, the loss of Russell and Baron Cohen may not be a major dent in the Django Unchained cast. With a cast filled with the likes of Jamie Foxx, Kerry Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, M.C. Gainey, Garrett Dillahunt, Dennis Christopher, Gerald McRaney, Laura Cayouette, Don Johnson, and Tom Savini, Russell and Baron Cohen may not even be missed.