Everyone and their mother wants to be in a Quentin Tarantino movie. Leonardo DiCaprio wanted to be in one so badly he flew to Germany to convince QT he could play a Nazi Jew hunter who spoke fluent French, German and Italian in “Inglourious Basterds.” It didn’t pan out, obviously, but clearly his persistence (and moxie) paid off for Tarantino’s latest, the slave/vengeance epic “Django Unchained,” wherein DiCaprio plays the main villain.
And speaking of this picture — starring Jamie Foxx as a slave-turned-bounty hunter who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner with the help of a foreign mentor (Christoph Waltz) — it appears everyone’s been dropping out like flies. Joseph Gordon Levitt had to bail on his small role in the film, Kevin Costner couldn’t commit to his role either (and you could add Will Smith to the toll; QT wanted him for the lead, but Mr.Squeaky Clean had other plans). The role of Scotty Harmony, described in the script as an overweight 24 year-old whose father purchases a key female slave for him, has been particularly difficult to cast.
Tarantino originally envisioned Jonah Hill in the role, but the comedian turned serious actor had to turn it down before he was even properly offered the role because of dreaded scheduling conflicts. Instead, Tarantino decided to go with the opposite type of casting and chose Sacha Baron Cohen for the role. But thanks to some eagle-eyed readers (thank guys), evidently Cohen told Howard Stern yesterday that he had to drop out of the part which he would have been shooting now.
“That was going to be a cameo, but I had to drop out because of [‘The Dictator’] press tour,” he said, underselling the role a little bit (listen at the 6:56 mark below). In general, “Django Unchained” is a weird one where actors like John Jarratt and Walton Goggins joined the cast, but were never even officially announced. Ah well, such is life. Adam Sandler could’ve been in “Inglourious Basterds” too, but some things are just not meant to be. No word on who has replaced Cohen in the role, but we gotta wonder at this point if they’re as big as a name as he or Hill. “The Dictator” comes out May 16 and “Django Unchained” hits theaters Christmas day. [via Cinemapulse and savvy readers here]