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Image: Will Smith 'Django Unchained' Rejection: Turned Down Role, Wanted to Lead

Will Smith 'Django Unchained' Rejection: Turned Down Role, Wanted to Lead

By Megan Anderle   |   Tuesday, 26 Mar 2013 09:56 AM

Will Smith turned down the lead role in the Oscar-winning Western drama "Django Unchained," because he said Django didn't wasn't the hero, Entertainment Weekly reported.

The "Men in Black" star said he was disappointed with the part of Django – though it was a leading role – because he wasn't the highlight of the film.

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“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” Smith said, referring to bounty hunter King Schultz, played by Christoph Waltz, who won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor at the 85th annual Academy Awards, a role that many felt was a lead.

“I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’” Smith said, spoiling the film.

Director Quentin Tarantino chose Jamie Foxx to star in the film instead. Foxx plays a slave who is bought and freed by King Schultz (Christoph Waltz), an abolitionist bounty hunter. The pair treks across the United States on a mission to rescue Django's wife from a cruel plantation owner.

Smith originally told Esquire last summer that he was passing on the part because of a scheduling conflict.

"I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever ever seen. 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," Smith said.

He seemed to go back on that excuse, though, in the recent interview.

“I thought it was brilliant,” Smith added. “Just not for me.”

Smith will star with his son in this summer's "After Earth," a science fiction thriller about a boy who navigates an abandoned Earth to save himself and his estranged father after their ship crashes.

Smith has accepted a wide range of roles. He is most famous for his work in the action franchise "Men in Black" but was also in the romantic comedy "Hitch" and the animated underwater feature "Shark Tale." Smith received Best Actor Oscar nominations for "Ali" and The "Pursuit of Happyness."

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Related links

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