Will Smith passed on Django because it wasn't the lead

Ben Arnold
Yahoo UK Movies News26 March 2013

Will Smith has revealed the reason that he passed on playing the role of Django in the Oscar-winning 'Django Unchained'.

Smith was originally in line to play the role in Tarantino's exploitation thriller, but turned it down leaving Jamie Foxx to slip into the part of the wronged slave.

[Related story: Will Smith gives surprise performance at Brixton girls' school]

For those who haven't seen the film, there's a mild spoiler ahead...

“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead,” he told EW.

“The other character was the lead! I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'

“I thought it was brilliant, just not for me.”

Tarantino revealed last year that when the pair met, 'it just wasn’t 100 percent right, and we didn’t have time to try to make it that way'.

Other actors who were in the frame for the part included Idris Elba, Chris Tucker and Terrence Howard.

Since 'Reservoir Dogs' and 'Pulp Fiction', Tarantino has largely been able to pick and choose his actors, though the director does not always get his first choice.

Leonardo DiCaprio was originally set to play the lead in 'Inglorious Basterds' - taken by Brad Pitt instead - but eventually worked with the director as slave owner Calvin J. Candie in 'Django'.

Elsewhere in the world of Tarantino casting, as recently emerged in an article in Vanity Fair, Daniel Day-Lewis was originally in the frame for Vincent Vega in 'Pulp Fiction' and both Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke missed out on playing Butch.

[Related: Buy Will Smith movies on Amazon]

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