Django Unchained looks set to be one of the most discussed movies of the year – with one of the earliest topics of conversation amongst QT-geeks being the possibility of Will Smith playing the titular Django.
That didn’t work out, and so far, all we’ve had was Smith’s word on the issue.
“I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen,” Smith said.
“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.”
But when Quentin Tarantino was asked if he could respond to Internet rumours about Smith’s involvement, he had this to say:
“Much more has been made out of that than is the case. When I wrote Django , I did not write it for anybody. I had no idea who was going to play it and it was kind of a little bit like, gosh, who is going to play this guy? And so I met with six different actors.
“[ Will Smith ] was one of the people that I met with. And then I met with Jamie [ Foxx ] and he came over to my house and I was going to put him through the ringer. It was going to be like a three-tier meeting with everybody and kind of really test it out and this and that and let’s do some scenes together. And at the end of this long process, I would make my decision.
“And, frankly, Jamie was the last one that I got together with and after I got together with him, I called the other guys up and I go, ‘Look, I found my Django. And no disrespect and everything and we could have taken it further and I know…’
“But you just know when you meet the guy and I met the guy. And one of the things about him, aside from everything else about Jamie, just when it comes to this movie, he just got it. He just understood.
“He understood what I was writing, he understood what needed to be there and he understood what needed to be on screen and he understood how people should take it.
“But then, also, just to cut to the chase, he was the cowboy. I met six guys, six magnificent actors, but he was the cowboy and I was looking for the cowboy.”
Django Unchained is released in UK cinemas 18 January 2013.