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Sony Wins International Rights to Tarantino's Django Unchained; Is Will Smith Locked In?

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood May 9, 2011 at 9:12AM

Sony has landed international rights to Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, for which the writer-director is eyeing Will Smith. The Weinsteins have domestic rights. Smith is affiliated with Sony, which explains why Sony landed the prize despite Universal's success with Inglourious Basterds. With Smith, Django would have huge mainstream appeal.
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Thompson on Hollywood


Sony has landed international rights to Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, for which the writer-director is eyeing Will Smith. The Weinsteins have domestic rights. Smith is affiliated with Sony, which explains why Sony landed the prize despite Universal's success with Inglourious Basterds. With Smith, Django would have huge mainstream appeal.

Here's more from our previous stories on Django Unchained: Christoph Waltz plays a German bounty hunter in the antebellum south who joins up with former slave Django to save his wife from an evil plantation owner. Samuel Jackson is reportedly on tap to play the villain's chief house slave. No start date or locations have been finalized. Original Django star Franco Nero has said that he is attached, along with Keith Carradine and Treat Williams (unconfirmed).

Thompson on Hollywood

In 2010, Tarantino described what he wanted to do:


“I’d like to do a Western. But rather than set it in Texas, have it in slavery times. With that subject that everybody is afraid to deal with. Let’s shine that light on ourselves. You could do a ponderous history lesson of slaves escaping on the Underground Railroad. Or, you could make a movie that would be exciting. Do it as an adventure. A spaghetti Western that takes place during that time. And I would call it ‘A Southern.’.. I want to do movies that deal with America’s horrible past with slavery and stuff but do them like spaghetti westerns, not like big issue movies. I want to do them like they’re genre films, but they deal with everything that America has never dealt with because it’s ashamed of it, and other countries don’t really deal with because they don’t feel they have the right to"…

More here.

This article is related to: Directors, Genres, Headliners, Independents, Studios, News, Quentin Tarantino, Will Smith, Weinsteins, Sony/Screen Gems/Sony Pictures Classics


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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.