Jamie Foxx Now Front-Runner For Lead In Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'?

by Oliver Lyttelton
June 14, 2011 1:03 AM
6 Comments
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Leonardo DiCaprio Locked In?



Arguably the most sought-after job vacancy in Hollywood right now is the titular slave-turned-bounty-hunter in Quentin Tarantino's neo-Western "Django Unchained." And while we might have fatigue over the same old lily-white shortlist of 18-35 year old men that come up for every superhero gig or tentpole actioner, this has been a little more refreshing, if only for the fact that it's allowed the African-American acting community to go through the rumor mill in a way that, shamefully, they generally don't get to for big projects.

The role was allegedly written by Tarantino for Hollywood's biggest star, Will Smith, but for whatever reason, it's looking increasingly unlikely that Smith will take the role, and a list of other names has emerged behind him, including the British star of "The Wire" and "Thor," Idris Elba, and Chris Tucker, who since working with Tarantino on 1997's "Jackie Brown" has only made films with the words 'Hour' and 'Rush' in the title. But, if rumors are to be believed, one actor is jumping to the front of the pack: the gossip-mongers at Showbiz 411 suggest that Jamie Foxx, previously reported to be on the short-list, is in the lead in the chase to play Django.

It's unclear where the site are sourcing the info from: they mention talking to Samuel L. Jackson, who has a supporting role in the film, at the Tony Awards on Sunday, but don't go as far as to say that the information came from him. Still, the site are sometimes on the money, and it's plausible enough: Foxx is a big enough star to keep the backers happy in lieu of Smith, but he's also a good fit for the role -- not as imposing as Elba (Django is described as being fairly slight), not as annoying as Tucker, with action experience and some decent performances under his belt, when he's not slumming it in the likes of "Valentine's Day" and "Law Abiding Citizen." We were also told last week by Warners that they'd been pursuing Foxx for a role in "Gangster Squad," but that the scheduling didn't work out -- was Foxx holding out for "Django Unchained?"

Should the comedian/actor/musician sign on, he'd join Christoph Waltz, as benevolent German bounty hunter Dr. King Schultze, Jackson as the villain's right-hand man and head house-slave Stephen, and Leonardo Di Caprio, who Showbiz 411 claims is definitely signed after he was reported as being in talks a few weeks back, as the villain, Calvin Candie. And if Foxx doesn't take the part of Django, we'd like to remind everyone that Michael K. Williams is available.

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6 Comments

  • Redletterprints | June 21, 2011 7:28 AMReply

    "Foxx is a better fit to be sure, but he can still be extruciatingly annoying at times."

    Sigh....so true.

    IDRIS ELBA por favor.

  • Nik Grape | June 14, 2011 3:29 AMReply

    Anytime Kevin :)

    After some digging i see that Jackson seems to be locked in but everyone is still just speculating that Waltz will be the German bounty hunter. Though the role definitely sounds written for him and I don't doubt he'll be cast.

  • Piotr | June 14, 2011 1:46 AMReply

    I like The Wire as much as the next guy, but let's get one thing straight - You don't have to have a scar on your face to play a slave. Michael K. Williams is great, and he will continue to be great in other stuff, but he doesn't have the right look for Django. Casting the grizzled, scarred, haunted Williams as Django is like casting Stallone as a no-nonsense tough-guy - it's TOO OBVIOUS.

    Tucker is an inspired choice because you don't expect much from him, and that's where roles of a lifetime are born.

  • Kevin Jagernauth | June 14, 2011 1:40 AMReply

    Oli, I just went in and made that fix -- but yeah, it read a little odd before. All good now -- thanks Nik.

  • Oliver Lyttelton | June 14, 2011 1:39 AMReply

    "And if Foxx doesn’t take the part of Django, we’d like to remind everyone that Michael K. Williams is available."

    What typo?

  • Nik Grape | June 14, 2011 1:36 AMReply

    Michael K. Williams for the role of Calvin Candie? That's a helluva typo ;)

    But yea, no matter how much I'd love to see a Michael K Williams or an Idris Elba in a role like this, it looks like the studios are gunning for a huge star and after Smith (thankfully) seems to have backed out, they're going for the next big thing. Foxx is a better fit to be sure, but he can still be extruciatingly annoying at times. Thought with QT's words and direction, I'm sure he'll give his best performance after Ray.

    Are Waltz and Jackson 100% locked in?

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