Before Quentin Tarantino released his Western-influenced revenge fantasy “Django Unchained,” he announced that his first pick for its starring role was none other than Will Smith. Now, after months of speculation as to why he turned down the role, which went to Jamie Foxx, Smith has revealed why he chose not to play Django.
The most commonly cited reason for Smith’s refusal to join “Django Unchained” was that the “Men in Black” star simply didn’t want to be involved with the film’s gratuitous violence and offensive language.
This makes a lot of sense, considering that Smith has gone out of his way to maintain a family-friendly image since his “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” days. But in a recent interview with EW, Smith says he simply didn’t see the role of Django as large enough.
“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” Smith told EW, stating that he saw Christoph Waltz’s German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz as the film’s true hero.
“I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’” he added.
Still, some would argue that ultimately, the main villain of the film was Samuel L. Jackson’s character Stephen, a house slave who lorded it over his fellow blacks and conspired against Django.
At the end of the day, however, Smith insists that he still loved the film, even if he didn’t take part in it.
“I thought it was brilliant,” he explained. “Just not for me.”
Either way, while Smith was Tarantino’s first choice for Django, Tarantino ultimately agreed that the blockbuster star wasn’t the right fit for his film either.
“We spent quite a few hours together over a weekend when he was in New York doing Men in Black III,” Tarantino told EW in a separate interview. “I think half the process was an excuse for us to hang out and spend time with one another. … It just wasn’t 100 percent right, and we didn’t have time to try to make it that way.”
Eric Brown is an IBTimes political reporter who eats far too much pizza. He is a graduate of Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, and currently resides in Brooklyn.