Will Smith Explains Why He Turned Down Django Unchained.
When director Quentin Tarantino was casting for his Oscar-winning film “Django Unchained”, Will Smith was in the running for the starring role. But he passed.
And in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the 47-year-old explains it was a difference in “creative direction” with Tarantino that made him walk away.
“It was about the creative direction of the story,” he said. “To me, it’s as perfect a story as you could ever want: a guy that learns how to kill to retrieve his wife that has been taken as a slave. That idea is perfect. And it was just that Quentin and I couldn’t see [eye to eye].”
Smith says he met with the director for hours, but they still couldn’t come to an agreement on how the story should be told.
“I wanted to make that movie so badly, but I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story,” Smith said.
“We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to f*ck somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.”
Jamie Foxx went on to take the role, and the film scored two Academy Awards in 2013.
Smith also spoke to the publication about turning down the role of Neo in The Matrix(eventually played by Keanu Reeves) in favour of the flop Wild Wild West.
“There’s been disappointments, but every time I came back with a newer, fresher attitude,” he said of failed projects.
“But the first time where it didn’t work the way that I wanted was Wild Wild West. I was coming off of Men in Black, and everything was like, ‘Oh, we can’t lose,’ you know? I was like, ‘Oh! Tragedy!’”