“I didn’t want to show Black people in that light”: Will Smith Was Dead Against One Certain Role to Compete With Tom Cruise in Hollywood

Will Smith, known for his iconic roles in Hollywood, turned down the role of Django Freeman in Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning 2012 film, Django Unchained.

“I didn’t want to show Black people in that light”: Will Smith Was Dead Against One Certain Role to Compete With Tom Cruise in Hollywood

SUMMARY

  • Smith initially declined the role due to scheduling conflicts with the third installment of the Men in Black series, but later revealed his reluctance to participate in a film about slavery and vengeance.
  • The actor had creative differences with Quentin Tarantino, wanting to approach the film as a love story rather than a vengeance story.
  • Despite leaving the project, Smith praised the film and acknowledged its brilliance, but maintained that the role wasn't suitable for him.
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Will Smith has given several hits throughout his career and has played several iconic characters. However, he has also turned down multiple iconic roles. The role of Django Freeman in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning 2012 film is also one such part that was later portrayed by Jamie Foxx. The King Richard star later revealed the real reason he rejected the offer for the movie, as he stated that he did not want to star in a slavery film about vengeance.

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Will Smith
Will Smith

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Will Smith Rejected The Offer For Django Unchained

Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 film Django Unchained follows a black slave who is freed and then trained by a German bounty hunter to rescue his wife from a charming but cruel plantation owner. Starring Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz, and Kerry Washington, the movie was highly praised and won two Oscars at the 85th Academy Awards.

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Django Unchained
Django Unchained

Foxx portrayed the role of Django in the movie, which was originally offered to the Oscar-winning actor Will Smith. Initially, it was reported that the actor rejected the offer due to scheduling conflicts with the third installment in the Men in Black movie series.

However, the actor later revealed in an interview with GQ, that he denied the offer as he “didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.” He claimed that he avoided making movies that revolved around the painful and historical context of slavery.

Will Smith with Jamie Foxx
Will Smith with Jamie Foxx

“In the early part of my career… I didn’t want to show Black people in that light,” he said. Smith also shared that he wanted to play the character on par with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, like Tom Cruise, to “depict Black excellence” in Hollywood. However, it was not the only reason behind his decision.

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Will Smith Had Creative Differences With Quentin Tarantino

During his appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Annual Actor Roundtable, Will Smith revealed that he and the renowned filmmakers had creative differences while discussing the 2012 movie Django Unchained.

Will Smith and Quentin Tarantino
Will Smith and Quentin Tarantino

“It was about the creative direction of the story,” he said before adding, “Quentin and I couldn’t see [eye to eye].” He shared that he loved the script and had hours-long discussions about it. But the Men in Black star wanted to approach it as a love story rather than a vengeance story.

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He also believed that the lead character in the movie was Christoph Waltz’s Dr King Schultz. “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” he told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. He also suggested the filmmaker alter the ending and wanted to “kill the bad guy!”

Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained
Jamie Foxx in Django Unchained

He left the project after things did not go accordingly. Jamie Foxx was cast as Django Freeman and was promoted as the movie’s lead. Smith, however, has shared that he believed that the movie was brilliant, but unfortunately, the role wasn’t for him.

Django Unchained is available on Apple TV+.

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Written by Laxmi Rajput

Articles Published: 2117

Laxmi Rajput is a writer at Fandomwire. She finished her Post Graduation in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Business News writer for a year. But her interest in entertainment and pop culture compelled her to find a way towards Entertainment Journalism. She has worked across various fields and has 2 years of experience in content writing. She likes reading, music, movies, and traveling. She aspires to become a fiction writer in the future.