When Quentin Tarantino began casting Django Unchained, many thought Will Smith would land the role of Django, a freed slave, in the gun-slinging western.
But things didn’t go as planned. Smith admitted to Entertainment Weekly that he turned down the role, which went to Jamie Foxx, because he refused to play anything other than the lead.
“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like I need to be the lead,” Smith told EW. “The other character (played by Christoph Waltz) was the lead.” Before giving a firm no to Tarantino, Smith pleaded with the director to edit the script. “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy,'” said Smith.
When the film was complete and promotion began, Foxx was billed as the film’s lead actor, while Waltz was considered a supporting actor.
Despite not starring in the film, Smith thinks it turned out great. “I thought it was brilliant,” said Smith. “Just not for me.”