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Tarantino discussed casting Will Smith for "Django Unchained"

by Photo of Alex Ellefson

At Comic Con, the director addressed rumors that he originally wanted to cast Will Smith in his upcoming film “Django Unchained”.

Tarantino discussed casting Will Smith for

It's been rumored that when Quentin Tarantino wrote the script for Django Unchained, his soon-to-be released homage to spaghetti westerns, he had actor Will Smith in mind. When Smith passed on the film, the director went with Jamie Foxx for the lead role instead.

Had Smith signed on to the film, it would have been one of the more controversial roles of his career. Not since the actor played Cassius Clay in Ali has he been involved in a film that dealt with racism in America. Django would also be the first R-rated movie that the actor has starred in since Bad Boys II in 2003. 

But in an interview with Empire, Smith said he passed on the film because he was still working on Men in Black III and "didn't want to hold [Tarantino] up." 

Quentin Tarantino finally laid the speculation to rest at Comic Con on July 14, there to promote Django. He said:

"Much more has been made out of that than is the case. When I wrote Django, I did not write it for anybody. I had no idea who was going to play it and it was kind of a little bit like, gosh, who is going to play this guy? And so I met with six different actors. [Will Smith] was one of the people that I met with. And then I met with Jamie [Foxx] and he came over to my house and I was going to put him through the ringer. It was going to be like a three-tier meeting with everybody and kind of really test it out and this and that and let’s do some scenes together. And at the end of this long process, I would make my decision. And, frankly, Jamie was the last one that I got together with and after I got together with him, I called the other guys up and I go, 'Look, I found my Django. And no disrespect and everything and we could have taken it further and I know…' But you just know when you meet the guy and I met the guy. And one of the things about him, aside from everything else about Jamie, just when it comes to this movie, he just got it. He just understood. He understood what I was writing, he understood what needed to be there and he understood what needed to be on screen and he understood how people should take it."

Tarantino also pointed out that he was looking for a "cowboy" to play the role of Django, which may have been why he thought of Smith, who starred in the movie Wild Wild West in 1999.

The real question that comes from Tarantino's statement is: who else was considered for Django? Michael K. Williams has said that he was also in the running and last year Idris Elba hinted that he might be interested in the film. So that leaves two more slots. I could certainly see accomplished actors like Anthony Mackie or Don Cheadle playing the role. But if Tarantino was really thinking outside the box, he might have even a sent to script to Tyler Perry!

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