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Will Smith's Not That Interested In 'I Am Legend 2,' Explains Why He Bailed On Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

by Edward Davis
June 13, 2012 5:53 PM
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Will Smith, I Am Legend

Back in 2007, "I Am Legend" grossed $585 million worldwide for Warner Bros. Costing only $150 million -- kinda modest for a major tentpole these days -- the Will Smith-starring post-apocalyptic actioner also grossed $126.2 million in DVD revenue, making it the sixth best-selling DVD of 2008. Not too shabby, right? Plus, the film plays on cable all the time and those rights must have also cost a pretty penny. So in the logical, brand-obsessed bean-counting world of Hollywood, a sequel would seem like a natural move.

But five years is practically a decade in tentpole years, and very little movement has taken place over the years. Making matters worse (and potentially squashing a potential franchise) in a recent interview with the BBC (via, the actor said he would "probably not" be involved in any subsquent film.

"Producers are working on it. I’m not actually. If it’s great, I’m into it,” he said about his enthusiasm for the idea, but admitting he likely wouldn't star or appear in the film: “I don’t want to be the sequel guy. I figure I’ve got about six or seven more years where I can run and jump a little bit and then I’m going butt and gut for the rest of my career. Butt and gut.”  Evidently the A-lister, however, is still considering a "Men in Black 4.

Meanwhile, in the latest issue of Empire, in the feature on Quentin Tarantino's Southern/slave revenge film, "Django Unchained," the U.K. magazine got Smith to talk about his decision to ultimately not take the leading role, leaving it open for Jamie Foxx instead. "I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen," Smith told Empire about potentially leading Tarantino's latest. "I was in the middle of 'Men In Black 3' and [Tarantino] was ready to go, and I just couldn't sit with him and get through the issues, so I didn't want to hold him up. That thing's going to be ridiculous. It is a genius screenplay."

So much for those that speculated the role was too controversial for the squeaky-clean A-lister. Or is the actor being diplomatic while referencing some of the "issues" he had with the script? We'll leave that up to you in the comments. Meanwhile, does this mean "Hancock 2" and "Bad Boys 3" and "I Robot 2" are now simply producer-driven pipe dreams? Discuss.

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More: Will Smith, Django Unchained, I Am Legend

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  • ross massbaum | August 15, 2013 1:47 PMReply

    Will Smith is the leading candidate to star as legendary (in his own mind) basketball coach
    Jamie May. Maximum comedy, actual basketball story. Two major comedy directors circling
    this wagon!

  • Amari | July 30, 2012 11:45 AMReply

    Outside of Bad Boys 3, he should have stopped doing sequels after MIB 2.

    Personally though, I'm glad he took a break for a few years for he was starting to get over exposed. Django would have been a better return than MIB 3 though. It wasn't a bad movie, but it was missing a lot of the characters that made the first two great.

  • Donella | June 22, 2012 5:41 PMReply

    Probably didn't want to do the sex abuse scene with Samuel L. Jackson.

  • Corrector | June 14, 2012 8:33 AMReply

    I AM ROBOT 2? Do you mean I, ROBOT 2?

  • Piotr | June 14, 2012 7:42 AMReply

    Don't remember the movie very will. Didn't Will's character die at the end? Also, of course he's the sequel guy, that's why he's doing MIB3. Other than the MIB movies, what sequels/franchises does he have? Ditto his boy Tommy Cruise. Look at what Tom's selecting these days. They're easing into "franchise" territory so they can rest on their laurels and coast into oblivion. The Fresh Prince is a liar.

  • jo bohn | June 14, 2012 11:35 PM

    Actually their was an alternative ending to I am legend. Look at it on YouTube. Will smith survives

  • Great Scott! | June 14, 2012 12:39 AMReply

    So...the graphic reveals that QT has put himself in Django. Can somebody he might listen to please tell him to stop ruining scenes and stay behind the camera where he belongs?

  • Great Vapidness | June 14, 2012 5:18 PM

    Stay out of the comments section, where you belong

  • Great Scott! | June 14, 2012 7:43 AM

    It looks to me like he could be in costume.

  • KT | June 14, 2012 7:00 AM

    ... Are you serious? Look at his hands - he's visualizing, he's setting up a shot... you know, seeing as how he's the director. Rest assured, he's staying "behind the camera where he belongs."

  • Yod | June 13, 2012 11:54 PMReply

    lol at everyone who thinks they know why he passed on Django. You've got no idea.

  • AS | June 13, 2012 8:53 PMReply

    Oh what BS! He didn't do it cause he's never done anything controversial in his life and he'd never risk upsetting his family friendly image.

  • Mike Lowwwwwrrrryyy | June 13, 2012 8:50 PMReply

    Honestly, Bad Boys 2 is one of the most entertaining insane action movies ever. I would love for there to be a third one with Martin and Will playing older versions of themselves teaming up with younger stars (Kevin Hart anyone?). Bay needs to stop playing with Toys and direct that shit!

  • President_Obama_Rulz | June 13, 2012 6:28 PMReply

    I was really Looking forward to A Hancock Sequel. With the success of the Avengers and other super hero Sequels I really think this was a no brainier. With that being said its all about the money. I'm sure with the right amount of money will Smith would make a porn0.

  • ehi | June 13, 2012 6:15 PMReply

    I sure Smith passing on Django was throwing Foxx the proverbial bone. Smith was highly influential in and a huge advocate for Foxx's sliver screen presence. Pushing (almost demanding) Foxx be cast for his (Foxx) breakout role in Ali. Which was the first time Foxx exhibited his acting talent. Which then lead to Ray and so on, and so on. With the combination of whatever time conflicts Smith had with MIB, and Foxx's subsided Ray heat, it's seems very likely that Foxx (again) got plugged in by Smith.

    P.S I would love to see actors like Michael K. Williams get a crack a roles like these. Just my personal opinion

  • ska-triumph | June 13, 2012 7:54 PM

    While your insights are in the right place, I would be more specific about Foxx's "acting talent." Like Smith, he came out of doing successful comedy work on TV, and movies - arguably with the Wayans' help. That's no small thing to dismiss. But, yes, Smith was definitely in Foxx's corner, and probably pushed QT to taking him on for Django.

  • Drew | June 13, 2012 6:07 PMReply

    I think ill go butt and gut for the rest of my career too. :P

  • E | June 13, 2012 6:01 PMReply

    I think the biggest reason Smith didn't do Django Unchained was that he likes being heavily involved in the script of all the movies he does nowadays. And obviously QT's not gonna let anyone but him interfere with his script.

  • Huffy | June 13, 2012 10:44 PM

    Seems about right. Smith is the kind of megastar who can get what he wants. There are a handful of megastars who are willing to completely trust a director and give themselves over to his/her ideas (to his credit Tom Cruise seems to be very easy to work with despite his kookiness) but most of them are going to bring their own ideas on what the movie should be. Unless they're a Kinski-level genius someone like that may not be worth working with (from an auteur's standpoint) and to be blunt Smith isn't at that level.

  • Marge | June 13, 2012 6:52 PM

    I've heard this too about Smith. Apparently he heavily rewrote the Hawthorne scripts to involve more Jada and everyone on set was not amused by his shenanigans.

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