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Kevin Costner Drops Out Of Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

by Oliver Lyttelton
September 16, 2011 1:01 AM
11 Comments
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After several films in a row where he's cast either relative unknowns ("Death Proof"), or scattered A-listers among an eclectic cast ("Inglourious Basterds"), Quentin Tarantino has been heading towards his starriest-ever cast for slavery Western "Django Unchained." Biggest-movie-star-in-the-world Will Smith might have turned him down in favor of a M. Night Shyamalan film (a decision that will likely come back to bite him in the ass), but 'Django' isn't suffering too badly: Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx took the title role, and has the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L Jackson all in support.

However, the film's now one movie star down, as a tweet from Variety staffer Justin Kroll brings news that Kevin Costner, who was said months ago to be in talks to play Ace Woody, the mandingo trainer that serves as villain Calvin Candie (DiCaprio)'s right hand man, won't be in the picture. Costner was widely thought to be a done deal, but apparently not; Kroll says that he passed due to scheduling conflicts.

The actor's been firmly on the comeback trail of late, booking Django after a role as Pa Kent in Zack Snyder's "Superman" reboot "Man of Steel." It's possible that conflicts with that film caused the conflict, but we'd be surprised, as neither role was huge, and we imagine schedules could have been worked out. It's more likely that "The Hatfields & The McCoys," the History Channel-adaptation of the legendary Western feud that sees Costner reunite with his "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" director Kevin Reynolds, is to blame.

Or it may just be that Costner simply lost his nerve over a particularly unsympathetic part in a film that's already likely to get tensions running high. Either way, it'll be interesting to see who replaces the actor -- we had a number of suggestions when we read the script, headed up by the couldn't-be-more-different Danny McBride. So, you know, Quentin, if you're really stuck? Our commission is pretty reasonable... "Django Unchained" will hit theaters on Christmas Day, 2012.

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11 Comments

  • dez | December 27, 2011 8:30 PMReply

    I believe will smith not only turned this down to do n m night movie, but his son is starring along side him in it its called "after earth" I still think it is a bone head move its a flashback of him choosing wild wild west over the matrix

  • eshowoman | September 28, 2011 6:05 AMReply

    Why would Will Smith want to play second fiddle in a white savior slavery fantasy? Smith has built a carreer on color blind casting. Where Jamie Foxxx's career is filled with white guy sidekcick roles. I think Pete Postlewaite would make good overseer.

  • Nancy | September 17, 2011 7:56 AMReply

    Piotr, The guy from DEADWOOD is GERALD MCRANEY and he would be AMAZING in ANY role he played.

  • bobmorton | September 17, 2011 1:00 AMReply

    danny mcbride would be lousy in this role. he's got no menace. ace has got to be a seasoned, grizzled genre stalwart... and a villainous turn for costner would have been perfect.

    it's too bad... i've been racking my brain trying to think up a viable replacement.

    viggo mortensen would actually probably be great.

  • R | September 16, 2011 3:35 AMReply

    Costner would have been really good like DeNiro was really good in Jackie Brown but better than the part needed and a little wasted in it. You don't use a Lamborghini to deliver pizzas. With the A-listers already covered Q could have fun mixing them with a D-lister who needs the money. Or Robert Blake.

  • paul | September 16, 2011 3:01 AMReply

    Danny McBride is an inspired bit of casting. Tarantino LOVES to cast against popular mindsets.

    I think it could work. Most of McBride's humor is based off of dark humor both sexist & racist- coming from lovable idiots. Would be interesting to see his humor made unfunny with a genuine hate mongering character.

  • Sam | September 16, 2011 2:40 AMReply

    @AS, you'd hang yourself over a movie casting decision?

  • Glass | September 16, 2011 2:37 AMReply

    Ahhh too bad. I'm not huge on Kevin Costner, but I thought this would be a cool character for him to play/movie to be in.

    And nonstop lulz @ Will Smith turning this down for an M. Night movie. This isn't 1999, bruh.

  • Piotr | September 16, 2011 2:16 AMReply

    Maybe the guy from Deadwood they cast the other day has taken this role?

  • AS | September 16, 2011 1:59 AMReply

    That sucks. Costner would have been really good in that role. I'll bet it was an image thing. But Danny McBride? Are you serious? He's ruined every film he's been in with the exception of Up in the Air. I'd hang myself if QT cast him.

  • [A] | September 16, 2011 1:14 AMReply

    That's a shame.

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