When Quentin Tarantino was originally starting to cast Django Unchained, he was focused on trying to get Will Smith to sign on for the lead role of Django. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful and as we all know, the role instead went to Jaime Foxx.
Fans and cinephiles alike have wondered why exactly Smith chose to pass on a Tarantino project. Was it because of the graphic content, or just some disagreement with Quentin? While he was promoting his new film, the M. Shyamalan sci-fi picture After Earth, Smith did finally give an answer. He claims that he felt that even though Django was the title character, he didn’t feel like the lead character. Here’s what he said.
“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!”
It’s very likely that the other character Smith is referring to is Dr. King Schultz, the charming bounty hunter played by Christoph Waltz, who frees Django and helps him on his quest. Smith also expressed that before he left the project, he pleaded with Tarantino to make Django more of a central character.
“I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’
It’s not hard to see why Smith felt like Django was playing second fiddle to Schultz. Schultz is the most entertaining character, and there really isn’t that much for Django to do throughout the movie. Waltz easily stole the show with his performance, which eventually earned him his second Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.
Even though he eventually passed on the role, Will was still a fan of the finished project.
“I thought it was brilliant….Just not for me.”
I appreciate that Smith was candid about his desire to be the leading role. Even though he’s a superstar actor, he is, first and foremost, a businessman. He’s the single most popular black actor on the planet, and he needs to keep up his own brand. That being said, last year’s Men in Black 3 was the first time that we saw Smith on the screen since 2008’s Seven Pounds. I don’t think it would have hurt his career to have been in one more movie in 2012, even if he did have to share the spotlight.
What do you think of Will Smith’s reasoning? Do you think that he was right about Django not being the central character? Why don’t you just tell us what you think in the comments below?
Source: Entertainment Weekly