Will Smith Frontrunner for Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

May 9, 2011


Quentin Tarantino's years as a movie geek working at a video store may give him an encyclopedic knowledge of film most of us could only dream of, but that doesn't mean that when he thinks "African-American leading man," his mind doesn't go the same place your Mom's does. Thus, for the lead in his upcoming Django Unchained, Tarantino is reportedly looking at Will Smith to play the film's title hero, a former slave going up against a plantation owner to emancipate his enslaved wife.

It's a choice that makes sense when you remember QT had Brad Pitt killing Nazis a couple years ago, but it's not one that will necessarily work out, as the script has quite a few effs and ens in it, and you know how much Men in Black prefers his films be accessible to his Karate Kid and Willow. Helping the cause, though, is the fact that Tarantino is going with Smith's home studio, Sony, for international release--which must come as real slap in the face to Universal, who reportedly gave the director "a bag of handmade scalps" as an uncomfortably maniacal reference to their handling of Inglourious Basterds' worldwide distribution. (For next time, a satchel filled with handmade human scalp replicas screams trying too hard, Universal.)

If it does end up working out--which would also mean the actor taking a lot less pay than he'll get whenever he makes that next Independence Day--Smith would be joining the original Django, Franco Nero, as well as the already Tarantino-acquainted Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson, the latter of who would be playing a loyal house slave who faces off against Smith's Django. Really takes you back to summer of '99, when Star Wars: Episode I and Wild Wild West squared off at the box office. But, you know, with less CGI and absolute bullshit.

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