Will Smith turned down role in ‘Django Unchained’ because he ‘needed to be the lead’

By Allison Cordaro,

When it was announced that Quentin Tarentino was going to make a western, rumors swirled around I Am Legend star, Will Smith, to be cast in the film. Smith recently admitted that he turned down the role of the vengeful Django because he did not want to share the spotlight.

According to Entertainment Weekly, the Men In Black star confessed that he wanted to be front and center in Tarentino’s revenge fantasy.

“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!”

The “other character” to which Smith is referring is Dr. Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, who ironically won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal of the German bounty hunter.

Before Smith declined the project, allowing Jamie Foxx to play the role of slave-turned-vigilante, he begged Tarentino to give Django more screen time. “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’”

The Huffington Post reported that Smith originally told fans that a scheduling conflict kept him from accepting the role.

"I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen. 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 is a genius screenplay."

Despite not being involved with the project, Smith still showed his support for Tarentino’s film.

“I thought it was brilliant,” Smith added. “Just not for me.”

Photo courtesy of INFDaily.com

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