News: Will Smith Reveals Why He Really Ditched "Django Unchained"

Tuesday, Mar 26, 2013 2:00PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Blockbuster movie star Will Smith has confirmed past rumblings and rumors which connected him to filmmaker Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained and revealed why he did not sign on for the big budget hit.

According to Smith, the only reason he fell back on taking on what would eventually become Jamie Foxx's role was because of the character's status.

When Quentin Tarantino's western revenge-fantasy Django Unchained was first announced, casting rumors pegged Will Smith as the titular slave-turned-vigilante. But Smith, who teams with his son Jaden in this summer's sci-fi epic After Earth, tells EW that he turned down the part because his character would've been second fiddle to the bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz) who teaches Django his trade . "Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!" says the Men in Black star, whose departure opened the door for Jamie Foxx to play the role. (Entertainment Weekly)

The former "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star even admitted how much he begged Tarantino to reconsider the script.

Smith says that before he left the project, he even pleaded with Tarantino to let Django have a more central role in the story. "I was like, 'No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'" (Ironically, Waltz was considered a supporting actor during his Oscar-winning award season, while Jamie Foxx was promoted as the movie's lead.) But no hard feelings: Smith was a big fan of the final product. "I thought it was brilliant," he says. "Just not for me." (Entertainment Weekly)

Last year, reports suggested Smith's scheduling conflicts ultimately forced Tarantino to cast Foxx instead.

Jamie Foxx returns to the big screen this Christmas in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, in which he stars as the title character, a freed slave set on rescuing his wife from a bloodthirsty plantation owner (played by Leonardo DiCaprio). Django is a plum role which Foxx is hoping will return him to Oscar glory after winning a statuette for Ray back in 2004. It's also a role Foxx nearly lost to Will Smith. "I didn't find out about it until it was actually on the internet and it said, 'Will Smith to be slated to do Django'," Foxx told journalists. When Smith dropped out due to scheduling conflicts, the role went to Foxx -- who promptly called the Men In Black actor, thanking him for the opportunity. (Celebuzz)

Django Unchained sparked widespread debate over its ample usage of the "N-Word" and overall context.

"I didn't see what the big fuss was about," Nas said matter-of-factly, pointing out that the term worked in the context of a Spaghetti Western revisiting the horrors of slavery, from a director known for his "language" and "goriness." "It's a movie, movies by [Tarantino], why should we be surprised if the movie is raw? ... He's one of the greatest filmmakers of our generation, and we don't go there to see anything less than rawness. He's an artist, and artists have to express themselves." (MTV)

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