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Quentin Tarantino: If Smith and Elba Are Out, Foxx is Right for Django Unchained

by Anne Thompson and Sophia Savage
June 22, 2011 5:33 AM
9 Comments
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Thompson on Hollywood

It's not just the great performances Jamie Foxx has given, from Any Given Sunday to his Oscar-winning role in Ray, or his sweet crooning to Oprah at her farewell blast, or his duet at Cannes this year with Kanye West, that make him the right guy to star in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained.

I get why Sony wanted Will Smith for Django. He's a huge international star. But he would have softened a leading role that Foxx could knock out of the park. What he can do is bring both vulnerability and anger to a freed slave who wants not only to wreak his revenge on evil white southerners, but save his beloved wife Broomhilda (UPDATE: Jeff Goldsmith, Foxx will play Django in Django Unchained: "Will Smith is out! Inside sources tell me that Tarantino has chosen Oscar winner @iamjamiefoxx to play Django!" he tweets. UPDATE: Variety confirms that the role has gone to Foxx.

Thompson on Hollywood

Thompson on Hollywood

Will Smith may have resisted the Weinsteins' connection to Paul Thomas Anderson's Scientology-tinged The Master, reports ThePlaylist.

Check out the results of our casting polls below, for Django and Broomhilda (yet to be cast). Idris Elba, who won our Django poll, is replacing Tom Cruise in Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim.

9 Comments

  • Talie | June 23, 2011 3:18 AMReply

    As a movie star who appeals to a very wide swath of people across the world and specifically, America, I can see why Will passed on this. It will be highly controversial with the black vs. white. As an actor and artist, it was a stupid decision for Smith to pass.

  • mary | June 23, 2011 2:08 AMReply

    But Hollywood Reporter reported that there were official offer (of playing the lead role of “Inception”) for both Will Smith and Brad Pitt. (BTW, Kim Masters is always reliable.)
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/list-directors-43873

  • john | June 22, 2011 9:35 AMReply

    No, Nolan did not offer Brad or Will at all. The studio was just suggesting (discussion) Nolan to eyes these actor. There were no official offer for neither of them. After the dark knight, Nolan dream project inception pretty much was green lighted, so he did not need to offer anybody for that reason. Studios always look for business not artistry, so they discuss these things with directors all the time. But this was Nolan project, so the studio did not have a say, that because Nolan wouldn't do another batman before this. They pretty much agreed this well before the dark knight because Inception idea was introduced around i believe 2005 or 2006. So after DK it was set and done that Nolan was going to do this with his own ideal cast not the studio. The studio were just looking out for there money return but did not have a say because it wasn't a studio movie.

  • mary | June 22, 2011 9:11 AMReply

    Thank for your infos, John. Leonardo DiCaprio clearly chose film roles very carefully, and it is a major reason why he is having a great career.

    Still, according to Hollywood Reporter, both Will Smith and Brad Pitt officially received the offers to play the lead role of “Inception” before Leonardo DiCaprio did. Maybe Nolan himself also worried that “Inception” would not be be greenlighted, so he tried to fullfill the studio's wish at first?

  • john | June 22, 2011 8:55 AMReply

    No, Actually both Brad and Smith was considered by the studio not Nolan. The studio wanted commercial actors for the role because inception considered too complicated for box office draw so they suggested Nolan to cast one of them. But Nolan actually sought out Leonardo dicaprio for long time time and he actually talked to him for several month before he said yes. This was discussed during the promotion of inception. By the way, Leo doesn't say yes quickly for any of his movie. During his career, not even for Titanic he agreed to do quickly. He always take long time to cast. That is one of the reason Inglorious basterds role did not go with it.

  • mary | June 22, 2011 8:13 AMReply

    Kevin:

    According to Hollywood Reporter, Christopher Nolan had offered the lead role of "Inception" to Will Smith and Brad Pitt sequentially, but Nolan required them to accept the offer in 48 hours, but both actors didn't do so. So Nolan offered the role to Leonardo DiCaprio, who accepted the offer quickly.
    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/list-directors-43873

    BTW, Brad Pitt also passed on "Django Unchained". So "Django Unchained" would be the second Leonardo DiCaprio film that was passed on by both Will Smith and Brad Pitt. (That said, Leonardo DiCaprio had also passed on "Inglourious Basterds".)

  • Mark | June 22, 2011 7:51 AMReply

    I think choosing Jamie Foxx, talented as he is, is too safe. It needs to be Idris Elba in the role. Will Smith was intriguing because I think Tarantino would have pushed him out of his comfort zone and really made him stand up as an actor. I'm hoping it's Elba in this part!!

  • Kevin Klawitter | June 22, 2011 7:30 AMReply

    Will Smith did NOT pass on "Inception". Leonardo DiCaprio was Nolan's first and only choice for the lead.

  • mary | June 22, 2011 6:20 AMReply

    Will Smith plays too safe; he even passed on "Inception" (which went on grossing higher than any Will Smith starrer in recent ten years).

    I hadn't read the script, but Jamie Foxx would be a acceptable choice for financial standpoint. He is a Best Actor Oscar winner, and some his recent films like "Miami Vice" and "Valentine's Day" performed respectfully at overseas box office. He and Leonardo DiCaprio should be enough for The Weinstein Company and Sony to greenlight "Django Unchained".

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