By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com June 14, 2011 at 1:03AM
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.