Quentin Tarantino‘s “Django Unchained” made its way to the Comic-Con faithful over the weekend, and by all accounts, including our own, it blew the lid off the place. The film has seen a number of casting changes and additions as it has rolled on its production, which started late last year. But one of the of the biggest What Would Have Been bits of casting involves the lead role itself. Over a year ago, it was revealed that Will Smith was in contention for part of Django. Indeed the actor himself confirmed this last month, saying, “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.” But according to Tarantino, it was Jamie Foxx he ultimately wanted.
“When I wrote ‘Django,’ I did not write it for anybody. I had no idea who was going to play it and it was kind of a little bit like, gosh, who is going to play this guy? And so I met with six different actors,” Tarantino told Total Film. “[Will Smith] was one of the people that I met with. And then I met with Jamie [Foxx] and he came over to my house and I was going to put him through the ringer. It was going to be like a three-tier meeting with everybody and kind of really test it out and this and that and let’s do some scenes together. And at the end of this long process, I would make my decision. And, frankly, Jamie was the last one that I got together with and after I got together with him, I called the other guys up and I go, ‘Look, I found my Django.. ”
There’s no word on what exactly the issues were that Smith couldn’t get past, but with Foxx admitting over the weekend that Tarantino worked with him to to strip away all of his notions of celebrity to inhabit the role, perhaps Smith wasn’t willing to completely mask the star persona he’s made his name on. But either way it seems to have worked out for all involved, and Foxx has been hugely impressed with Tarantino. Particularly when it came to the writer/director completely reimagining the ending for the film at the last moment.
“On the spur of the moment, he rewrote the end of the movie. Blows up the house and says, ‘My ending doesn’t work.’ We’re like, ‘What are you going to do?’ ‘Just give me a second.’ He’s walking on the rubble like this, ‘Okay, I got it.’ Goes to his trailer and comes back with the ending of the movie, but dope,” Foxx said at Comic-Con (via FemaleFirst). “When a writer writes a movie, he goes into his cabin and he’s there for like nine months, and comes down with like the tablets. This dude just went in his trailer.”
So while the script for ‘Django’ leaked a long, long time ago, it seems characters and even the ending have been removed, changed, swapped and tweaked. You’ll see what QT ultimately delivers on Christmas Day.