When Quentin Tarantino first announced Django Unchained, there were rumours going about that Will Smith was going to play the lead character, Django. But as time went on and the casting was confirmed, the role of Django was given to Jamie Foxx.
When asked, Smith said, “I was in the middle of Men in Black 3 and [Tarantino] was ready to go, and I just couldn’t sit with him and get through the issues, so I didn’t want to hold him up. That thing’s going to be ridiculous. It was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen.”
But when Tarantino was asked to comment on the internet rumours of Smith’s involvement, he had the following to say:
“[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.”
“But then, also, just to cut to the chase, he was the cowboy. I met six guys, six magnificent actors, but he was the cowboy and I was looking for the cowboy.”