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Sacha Baron Cohen Has Dropped Out Of Quentin Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

by Edward Davis
May 9, 2012 5:18 PM
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Everyone and their mother wants to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to be in one so badly he flew to Germany to convince QT he could play a Nazi Jew hunter who spoke fluent French, German and Italian in "Inglourious Basterds." It didn't pan out, obviously, but clearly his persistence (and moxie) paid off for Tarantino's latest, the slave/vengeance epic "Django Unchained," wherein DiCaprio plays the main villain.

And speaking of this picture -- starring Jamie Foxx as a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner with the help of a  foreign mentor (Christoph Waltz)  -- it appears everyone's been dropping out like flies. Joseph Gordon Levitt had to bail on his small role in the film, Kevin Costner couldn't commit to his role either (and you could add Will Smith to the toll; QT wanted him for the lead, but Mr.Squeaky Clean had other plans). The role of Scotty Harmony, described in the script as an overweight 24 year-old whose father purchases a key female slave for him, has been particularly difficult to cast.

Tarantino originally envisioned Jonah Hill in the role, but the comedian turned serious actor had to turn it down before he was even properly offered the role because of dreaded scheduling conflicts. Instead, Tarantino decided to go with the opposite type of casting and chose Sacha Baron Cohen for the role. But thanks to some eagle-eyed readers (thank guys), evidently Cohen told Howard Stern yesterday that he had to drop out of the part which he would have been shooting now.  

"That was going to be a cameo, but I had to drop out because of ['The Dictator'] press tour," he said, underselling the role a little bit (listen at the 6:56 mark below). In general, "Django Unchained" is a weird one where actors like John Jarratt and Walton Goggins joined the cast, but were never even officially announced. Ah well, such is life. Adam Sandler could've been in "Inglourious Basterds" too, but some things are just not meant to be. No word on who has replaced Cohen in the role, but we gotta wonder at this point if they're as big as a name as he or Hill. "The Dictator" comes out May 16 and "Django Unchained" hits theaters Christmas day. [via Cinemapulse and savvy readers here]

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  • Moben | May 10, 2012 2:17 PMReply

    Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to be in one so badly he flew to Germany to convince QT he could play a Nazi Jew hunter who spoke fluent French, German and Italian in "Inglourious Basterds." From where is this thing? It sounds so funny. It's the other way around. This article will definitely land up in

  • Holden | May 10, 2012 8:33 AMReply

    EDWARD DAVIS, the writer here tried so hard to be humorous. Why would Leo want to be in QT 's movie so badly? It was Leo who turned down Inglourious Basterds.

  • rotch | May 9, 2012 10:02 PMReply

    seems Kurt Russell exited the film too...

  • hank | May 9, 2012 7:48 PMReply

    Yeah AMA, I believe it was Leo who turned down Inglourious Basterds, not the other way around. But I wasn't there.

  • FeelSureAboutThatIfYouLike | May 9, 2012 9:45 PM

    Believe that if you want. Sure, Leo has a total fluent command of German, French and Italian, of course he does.

  • cirkusfolk | May 9, 2012 7:18 PMReply

    Will Smith obviously didn't want to be in a QT film either even though QT specifically wrote the main character for him. What gives?

  • ArtsBeatLA | May 11, 2012 7:40 AM

    I'd far rather see Foxx than Smith in a role -- every time.

  • Huffy | May 10, 2012 11:44 AM

    Smith is about one thing and one thing only: the Benjamin. Even his "serious" roles have been squarely commercial. And to his credit he is pretty much the last fool-proof movie star out there (well, at least was before Seven Pounds). The bottom line is that Smith is never going to take a role that he feels would damage his squeaky-clean reputation, and apparently Django would do just that. Even then Smith is being a little bullheaded I think. After all almost all actors have to let their careers evolve if they don't want to risk falling by the wayside. I mean who really wants to see a 40-something Smith play the same smartass as he did when he was 25? I know I don't. Django could have been an awesome opportunity for Smith to reinvent himself and gain a ton or respect in the process. Oh well, his loss Foxx's gain.

  • cirkusfolk | May 10, 2012 11:15 AM

    Uh I thought this was common knowledge among film buffs but I suppose not. Imdb trivia page says, Will Smith, Idris Elba and Chris Tucker were considered for the role of Django. Quentin Tarantino actually wrote the role with Smith in mind, and Smith's agents and manager wanted him to accept it, but Smith ultimately decided to pass. Tarantino then offered the part to Jamie Foxx, who accepted.

  • a | May 9, 2012 7:29 PM

    "QT specifically wrote the main character for him." Who says?

  • Ama | May 9, 2012 6:17 PMReply

    "Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to be in one so badly he flew to Germany to convince QT he could play a Nazi Jew hunter who spoke fluent French, German and Italian in "Inglourious Basterds.""

    This is incorrect. Where did you get this info?

  • KC | May 9, 2012 5:54 PMReply

    I heard michael Fassbinder

  • Jon | May 9, 2012 5:39 PMReply

    Chris Pratt.

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