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Rumor: Could Leonardo DiCaprio Play The Main Villain In Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'?

The Playlist By Edward Davis | The Playlist May 31, 2011 at 6:11AM

Random posts on Twitter factual news does not make. However, this one is worth paying attention to for several reasons.
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Random posts on Twitter factual news does not make. However, this one is worth paying attention to for several reasons.

Former Creative Screenwriting magazine Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith tweeted this morning, "Casting Rumor: Leonardo DiCaprio WILL play villian Calvin Candie in [Quentin] Tarantino's "Django Unchained"! QT wanted him for I.B. & now has him!"

And yes, while Goldsmith is dialed-in in L.A., it's just a rumor and tweet. However, Goldsmith was one of, if not the first person to tweet about Will Smith's participation in Tarantino's Spaghetti Western slavery epic. And while Smith isn't 100% locked-in for the role (and Idris Elba is now rumored to be involved), the "Men In Black" star has definitely been in discussions to join the film so clearly Goldsmith's information is usually on point. But wait, there's more.

When first announced, Variety wrote, "Tarantino has also been looking to work with Leonardo DiCaprio…Tarantino was courting Leonardo DiCaprio for the villainous role of Hans Landa in 'Basterds,' which ultimately went to [Christoph] Waltz. Likewise, Tarantino is believed to have written the role of Dr. Schultz for DiCaprio, but when he passed, it was modified for Waltz."

So it sounds like the "Inception" star was at least somewhat in the mix. While that info seems to be somewhat mixed-up -- we were told DiCaprio pursued the role in "Inglourious Basterds," and didn't get the part, not the other way around (after all, if Tarantino wanted DiCaprio for the role, as reported, why did he go with Waltz instead?) -- DiCaprio was reported as being in talks with Tarantino at the time for the role, so clearly the two have had some conversations.

Lastly, a source of ours that helped us break some "Inglourious Basterds" information back in the day tells us they have heard this same information, but that DiCaprio's involvement was a "no go."

If this all falls into line and is true -- or at least the intentions are true -- it could mean a few things. Yes, Schultz was written for DiCaprio, but he's already passed as reported, end of story, and this is just a case of old news resurfacing as rumor. Or perhaps Tarantino is modifying things for DiCaprio's schedule -- "Django Unchained" shoots in the fall and could potentially overlap with Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," which DiCaprio will star in and is shooting either mid-summer or late summer/early fall -- opting to have the actor play the smaller, villainous role that could be packed into 2-3 weeks of shooting.

Here's another theory: Some are saying Will Smith has passed and Idris Elba is auditioning. If that's the case, then Tarantino still needs a major international name, no? DiCaprio would fit that bill, as would tweaking the sched to his needs.

All just (major) speculation of course. We're of course assuming that Goldsmith's information is correct. But hey, dude was right once and it surely does sound like at the very least, DiCaprio and "Django Unchained" were in the same casting-idea sentence at least at one point. As for us, we put forth Josh Brolin in our dream casting of the film in the role of Calvin Candie. But for now, let the rumor mill churn forth...

This article is related to: Films, Actors, Genre Films, Django Unchained


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