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Tarantino Tells Playboy Who Else Was In The Running for 'Django' Before Foxx & His Horse Won the Role

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood November 15, 2012 at 1:08PM

Quentin Tarantino, in his interview for Playboy's December edition, discusses the actors he mulled over for the titular role in this Christmas' "Django Unchained." Will Smith and Jamie Foxx were not the only ones the director considered (Hint: "Omar comin'!") -- but Foxx had the Texan-horse-owner edge.
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'Django Unchained'
'Django Unchained'

Quentin Tarantino, in his interview for Playboy's December edition, discusses the actors he mulled over for the titular role in this Christmas' "Django Unchained." Will Smith and Jamie Foxx were not the only ones the director considered (Hint: "Omar comin'!") -- but Foxx had the Texan-horse-owner edge. Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Calvin Candie, was also written with another actor in mind.

Check out highlights from the interview below:

Tarantino on the six actors he met with for the role of Django:

"I had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all of their work. Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, M.K. Williams [from HBO's Boardwalk Empire and The Wire], Tyrese. They all appreciated the material, and I was going to put them through the paces, make them go off against one another and kind of put up an obstacle course. And then I met Jamie and realized I didn’t need to do that."

Why Jamie Foxx?

"He was the cowboy… Forget the fact that he has his own horse — and that is actually his horse in the movie. He’s from Texas; he understands…He understood what it’s like to be thought of as an ‘other.’”

On Will Smith as his first choice:

“We spent quite a few hours together over a weekend when he was in New York doing Men in Black III…I think half the process was an excuse for us to hang out and spend time with one another …It just wasn’t 100 percent right, and we didn’t have time to try to make it that way.”

On his original casting idea for Calvin Candie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio):

“I don’t want to say who, simply because when I finished the script, I realized they were a little older than I wanted the character to be. That’s a problem I have. I’ll be thinking about somebody and not take into account that I’m thinking of them from 20 years ago.”

This article is related to: News, Django Unchained, Quentin Tarantino, Quentin Tarantino, News, Jamie Foxx


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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.