LeVar Burton has a genteel persona thanks to his iconic role on Star Trek: The Next Generation and his hosting gig on Reading Rainbow, but he doesn’t mince words when it comes to defending the series that made him famous — Roots.
The legendary 1977 miniseries based on Alex Haley’s slavery-themed novel is being remade by the History Channel. The original film was criticized by filmmaker Quentin Tarantino as inauthentic around the time his hit slavery revenge epic Django Unchained was released.
“When you look at Roots, nothing about it rings true in the storytelling, and none of the performances ring true for me either,” said Tarantino last December. “It didn’t move me because it claimed to be something it wasn’t.”
Burton, who admits he admires Django, still slammed Tarantino’s comparison in a New York magazine interview.
“Django Unchained is a fantasy, let’s be clear,” Burton said. “And when Quentin Tarantino says that Django is more real than Roots, I call bullsh*t. I got nothing against him, but don’t go there, okay? Don’t go there, Quentin.”
He added, “Too many people who look like me bled and died for you to have the opportunity to satirize the slave narrative. There’s a place for satire in culture. Taken at face value, as a piece of satire, I went and enjoyed it. It was fun. Let’s just not get it twisted. Django was not real.”