Will Smith could have been in Quentin Tarantino's film "Django Unchained," but the "Men in Black" blockbuster star rejected the role when he couldn't play the leading role.
"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!" Smith told Entertainment Weekly in an article published today. "I was like, 'No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'"
"Django Unchained" is a 2012 American action western drama film that stars Jamie Foxx, Christopher Waltz, Leonardo DiCaprio, Kerry Washington, and Samuel L. Jackson. Foxx, who took the role that Smith was offered, plays a freed slave who travels across the U.S. with bounty hunter (Waltz) to rescue his wife (Washington) from a cruel plantation owner played by DiCaprio.
Foxx played the character Django Freeman; Christopher Waltz's role was that of Dr. King Schultz; DiCaprio's role was that of Calvin J. Candie; Kerry Washington was Broomhilda Von Shaft, and Samuel L. Jackson played Stephen.
The film was nominated for 5 Oscars, including Best Picture. Waltz won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Interestingly, the character that Waltz played, which Smith had considered the lead role, was packaged as supporting when it came to the Academy Awards.
"Django Unchained" went on to earn over $400 million worldwide, making it the most commercially successful Tarantino film. But the film was not without controversy, with some criticizing the film for being overly violent, especially given that the film debut around the time of the Sandy Hook school massacre.
The Independent described the film as the "new sadism" in cinema. "The is something disconcerting about sitting in a crowded cinema as an audience guffaws at the latest garroting or falls about in hysterics as someone is beheaded or has a limb lopped off," writes Geoffrey Macnab in a Jan. 11, 2013, review in the U.k.'s The Independent.
But Tarantino defended his film in an NPR interview, saying, "Movies are about make-believe. It's about imagination. Part of the thing is trying to create a realistic experience, but we are faking it."