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Leonardo DiCaprio Confirmed For Early 'Django Unchained' Talks; Will Smith Unlikely To Sign?

by Kevin Jagernauth
June 8, 2011 3:28 AM
9 Comments
  • |

Jamie Foxx & Chris Tucker Also In The Running For The Lead



While Deadline is trumping exclusive, they were (kind of) beat to the story a week ago so let's rewind a bit. Last week, former Creative Screenwriting magazine Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith tweeted, “Casting Rumor: Leonardo DiCaprio WILL play villain Calvin Candie in [Quentin] Tarantino‘s “Django Unchained”! QT wanted him for I.B. & now has him!” Well, it looks like it's just a matter of working out deal points right now.

Mike Fleming reveals that negotiations are happening and DiCaprio signing seems like a good prospect to land the job. If the deal is sealed, DiCaprio will play Calvin Candie, the owner of Candyland, a mixed race club in Greenville, Mississippi, and a dealer in mandingo fighting slaves. Candie takes possession of Broomhilde -- Django's slave wife -- through a card game, and so it’s there that Django and the German bounty hunter Schultz (Christoph Waltz) travel. He’s a typically rich Tarantino villain, both eccentric (he’s a Francophile, and insists on being called ‘Monsieur,’ even if he can’t speak French) and complex—he’s a solid gold bastard, to be sure, but he’s also charismatic and not without his depths. The previously cast Samuel L. Jackson will play his right hand man, Stephen. However, with Leonardo DiCaprio looking like a good bet, it appears the Will Smith is looking less likely to take the meaty lead role.

Granted, there is little behind this posit other than Fleming's gut feeling, but he's been around the block, and he believes that the extended courtship is a sign that Smith may not be too keen on taking on the racially charged role of the slave Django. So who are possibilities? Well, there's Idris Elba who recently tweeted (cryptically) about meeting for the film and is now confirmed to be one of the players in the mix.. But apparently Jamie Foxx and Chris Tucker are also possibilities. And don't be too surprised to see the "Rush Hour" star's name in there.

As we mentioned in our dream casting piece about the film, Tarantino still hangs with Tucker who had a memorable turn in "Jackie Brown" and they've recently been seen partying together. It would be one helluva gear change for Tucker who seems hesitant to do anything but work with Brett Ratner, but it would be an odd, yet inspired choice.

Still plenty of time to decide. "Django Unchained" is tentatively slated for a late summer/early fall production start.

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9 Comments

  • Kevin Jagernauth | June 8, 2011 12:53 PMReply

    Um, no. Idris Elba is in contention for both films, which both shoot this fall. But he was def tweeting about "Django Unchained." Nothing about Del Toro or his film are "controversial" as the actor said in his tweet.

  • Gregor | June 8, 2011 12:49 PMReply

    The film Idris Elba was probably tweeting about was Del Toro's Pacific Rim. http://www.thewrap.com/movies/column-post/idris-elba-gets-pacific-rim-27939

  • yes | June 8, 2011 9:15 AMReply

    I instantly liked Chris Tucker for the role.

  • The Playlist | June 8, 2011 5:25 AMReply

    Hinted at this in a piece that Ed did when it was first announced. Will address it now since everyone has that wrong -- including Deadline and Variety about the Landa part being written for Leo DiCaprio.

    Remember when Tarantino said he couldn't find his Landa, that he almost gave up on the movie?

    http://www.usatoday.com/life/movies/news/2009-05-20-christoph-waltz_N.htm
    (just one example, any even semi-die hard QT fan has probably read quotes like this several times from several different outlets as Tarantino reiterated this many times)
    <<
    Tarantino says he was ready to scrap the project when he had trouble casting the villain, who has verbal spars in French, English and German tongues.

    "I started casting actors in Germany, and I wasn't finding anybody who quite has everything I needed 100%," Tarantino says. "They could do the poetry in this language, but they couldn't do the poetry in that language. And they had to be able to say the poetry in every language.">>

    So right, why would he give up on this part when he wrote it for Leo DiCaprio one of the biggest stars in the world? Because he didn't. DiCaprio loved the role and sought it, but QT was dead stuck on someone who could effortlessly and seamlessly speak English, German, French and Italian.

    DiCaprio couldn't do that so QT politely passed (probably noting, "hey, good to know you're interested, maybe one day we'll work together").\

    And then he searched and searched and searched and almost gave up until he found the person who had "100% of everything" he demanded. Enter Christoph Waltz.

    True story: also, these facts aside, i heard this story first hand from someone who worked on the film. The end.

  • jimmiescoffee | June 8, 2011 4:20 AMReply

    i like chris tucker. sure rush hour 2 and 3 were embarrassing and brett ratner is a loser. he also doesn't have much of a resume, but friday, rush hour and money talks are average-good. plus beaumont livingston is a classic. cant we all picture his dumb ass getting into that trunk? hilarious.

  • Wiliam L. | June 8, 2011 4:09 AMReply

    If Tucker doesn't take the role of Django, which he should, give a call or drop me an e-mail I'll do it.

  • KitCon | June 8, 2011 3:56 AMReply

    I vote for Chris Tucker. Not a huge fan but in this instance I think he could give it an unexpected edge; make things more interesting.

  • TheoC | June 8, 2011 2:03 AMReply

    Actually Chewitel Ejiofor would be perfect for me.

    I just cried typing his name.

  • TheoC | June 8, 2011 2:01 AMReply

    I have to say I read Calvin Candie in my Josh Brolin voice, so Leo seems wrong, maybe a little weight and some facial hair would swing it.

    I couldn't get will Smith out of my head for Django, especially the quiet subdued Django in the first act.

    I don't see Chris Tucker because I find him horrible in everything, Idris seems way too big, so for me it's Robert Downey Jr as Django maybe that could spice up the reasonably flat third act.

    Donald Glover? Andre Royo? Ludacris in his fast five persona?

    What about Hildy? and could fat Neil play her lover?

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