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Kurt Russell drops out of Django Unchained

Django Unchained has suffered a double blow in the casting stakes, with both Kurt Russell and Sacha Baron Cohen dropping out of Quentin Tarantino's latest.

Russell is the second actor to leave the role of Ace Woody, having initially replaced Kevin Costner for the part. Costner had cited scheduling issues, but as yet, no reason has been given by Russell's camp for his departure.

Woody is one of the film's many villains, a ruthless trainer who pits various slaves against each other for the entertainment of the public. Could it be that the character is too controversial for A-list tastes, or is it purely coincidence that both Costner and Russell have dropped out?

Sacha Baron Cohen's departure seems a little more straightforward, with scheduling conflicts precluding his involvement. He was only earmarked for a cameo in any case, so his absence shouldn't rock the boat too much.

Meanwhile, QT still has plenty of acting talent at his disposal, with Jamie Foxx, Christoph Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington and Samuel L. Jackson all set to star. Django Unchained opens in the UK on 18 January 2013.

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