“Please, I need to kill the bad guy”: Will Smith’s Obsession to be the Lead Actor Became the Reason Why He Turned Down Leonardo DiCaprio’s Oscar Winning Movie

Will Smith Cancelled Django Unchained After Not Getting The 'Lead' Role

"Please, I need to kill the bad guy": Will Smith's Obsession to be the Lead Actor Became the Reason Why He Turned Down Leonardo DiCaprio's Oscar Winning Movie


  • Will Smith was offered the role of Django in the Quentin Tarantino classic, Django Unchained but he turned it down
  • The actor stated that he did not see Django as the lead character, and he needed to be in the lead role and kill the bad guy
  • Will Smith praised the final version of the film but he added that it wasn't the kind of film that he would like to do
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Will Smith is often considered to be the most charismatic actor in the film industry, as he is an actor who has worked in every genre, flawlessly portraying his characters. The actor has gained a tremendous fan following and love from his fans, as he had a phenomenal career with countless hit movies, making him a global icon. The Men in Black actor is considered to be a gem of the industry as his works in movies like Gemini Man, The Pursuit of Happyness, King Richard, and many more remain timeless watches.

Will Smith as Agent J in Men in Black 3
Will Smith as Agent J in Men in Black 3

However, Will Smith would have had another smash-hit blockbuster in his already stacked career. The film is none other than Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. However, Smith was obsessed with being the face of Hollywood and this obsession made him turn down the film that starred Leonardo DiCaprio.

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Will Smith’s Obsession Makes Him Lose Out On an Oscar-Winning Opportunity

Throughout his career, Will Smith has done countless films but he chooses his roles very carefully, as he wants to have a stellar career that has nothing but smash-hit blockbusters at the box office. As a result, when he was offered the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. While Jamie Foxx bagged the role of Django, it was rumored that Smith was somewhat uncomfortable with the film’s combination of slavery and blood-soaked violence.

Will Smith in I, Robot
Will Smith in I, Robot

During an interview with Entertainment Weekly via Guardian, Will Smith mentioned that he felt the role of Dr. King Schultz which was played by Christoph Waltz was the lead role, and not that of Foxx’s Django as he didn’t get to kill the main villain. 

“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead! I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'”

Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained (2012)
Jamie Foxx and Leonardo DiCaprio in Django Unchained (2012)

The Hancock actor added that he did enjoy the final version of the film, especially the role portrayed by Christoph Waltz as he said the film was just not right for him.


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

Although Will Smith felt the movie was not right for him, he would have definitely regretted turning down the role in the film which was a blockbuster earning $449.8 million at the worldwide box office, including several award nominations.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Made Quentin Tarantino Change A Scene in Django Unchained 

In a scene from the 2012 film, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Calvin Candie cuts open a skull and elaborates on the science of phrenology to explain how the African race mentally differs from white people. This explanation was to justify slavery, and how ‘submissiveness’ is instilled in their brain. Though this science has now been proved to be wrong, DiCaprio convinced Tarantino to keep this scene in the final version of the film so that he could embody the role.

A still from Django Unchained
A still from Django Unchained

In an interview via Outstanding Screenplays, the director stated what the actor felt while playing the role of Calvin Candie, as he felt that he was the “bad guy.” And it was his idea to bring the whole phrenology aspect into the film.

”I don’t think he ever thinks in terms of ‘I’m playing the good guy, I’m playing the bad guy’. He couldn’t help but realize that the guy was a repellent gargoyle. At the same time, he wanted to get a sense of who Calvin Candie is. How could this way of life actually exist in this time period?. It was actually his idea to bring in the whole phrenology aspect. He sent me a bunch of materials to read.”

The Wolf of Wall Street actor’s research of the character just showcases his dedication and how adding little details makes a huge difference in the film.

Django Unchained can be rented on AppleTV.


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Written by Tushar Auddy

Articles Published: 792

Tushar Auddy, Junior Content Writer. He has been in the entertainment industry for 3 years and is always on the lookout for a captivating story. He is a student of Linguistics and currently pursuing his Master's degree in the same field. He has a passion for literature that runs deep and loves nothing more than getting lost in a novel for hours on end. When he isn't reading, you'll find him capturing the beauty of language.