The Truth Comes Out! Will Smith Reveals The Real Reason Why He Rejected ‘Django’

The Truth Comes Out! Will Smith Reveals The Real Reason Why He Rejected 'Django'

First, as I said when I reviewed the script for Django Unchained in the spring of 2011, after it was first announced that Will Smith was Quentin Tarantino’s first choice to play Django…: 

Django isn’t quite the hero here – not the way you’re probably expecting. For a good 2/3 of the script, he’s playing second fiddle to Christoph Waltz’s character who is essentially Django’s mentor, and the man responsible for his freedom, later providing him with the necessary skills Django needs to eventually challenge the plantation owner who holds his wife captive. Waltz is pretty much playing Hans Landa, the same character he portrayed in Inglorious Basterds… the difference being that he’s on the side of “good” here. But, as I read it, I saw Landa all the way – multi-lingual, professorial, cunning, but efficient and deadly when necessary.

In fact, I’d say that Django doesn’t really, fully, come alive until about the last 25 minutes of this almost 3-hour script/movie. And there are circumstances that accommodate that transition – circumstances that felt all-too-convenient. Suffice it to say that just as it takes the assist of a white man to set Django free and on course towards saving his damsel in distress, it also takes the assist (however unintentional) of a white man to finally allow Django his moment to really shine, and get out of the white man’s shadow. And even those last 20 minutes, aren’t very satisfying.

Waltz is pretty much the show for much of the film, with the occasional unintentionally comedic line from Django, as well as flashback sequences to provide back-story.

I’d be shocked if Will Smith agrees to do this, as is. I can’t see it AT ALL! Not only because the part doesn’t suit him; not in the slightest; but also because this isn’t what I’d really call leading man material. As I already noted, Will Smith would essentially have to play second fiddle to Christoph Waltz for about 2/3 of the film, and I just can’t see him signing up for that.

What I think a lot of us would prefer, given your reactions to the initial announcement of this project, is a story centered on some brute slave, fed up with the oppressive system he’s been subjected to for all his life, seething with rage, who courageously takes it upon himself, in the face of near-insurmountable, even deadly adversity, to restore some humanity and dignity to the life he and his family lead. Sure, like Nat Turner, he most likely would be killed in the end, but, I’d rather have that, than this, essentially, black/white buddy action/comedy movie, in the most basic sense.

At the time of that post, Will Smith had reportedly received the screenplay, read it, talked to Tarantino a bit about it, but hadn’t yet signed on to play the part.

Of course, he later decided not to star in the film; and while I wasn’t necessarily surprised by that, I did wonder why he decided against it.

A year later, in an issue of Empire magazine, Will, while promoting Men In Black III, said the following when asked why he didn’t take the part:

“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.”

As I said at the time, I felt Will was being diplomatic, and wasn’t entirely honest about why he turned own the part. I felt that the section of his response where he says “I just couldn’t sit with him and get through the issues,” was particularly telling.

Obviously he had enough “issues” with the script that a sit down with Tarantino was necessary.

And then a week or so later, we got Tarantino’s side of the story, who “set the record straight” during the Django Comic-Con panel, saying the following, when asked about Will Smith’s casting in the title role:

“Much more has been made out of that than is the case. 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. “[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. And no disrespect and everything and we could have taken it further and I know…’ But you just know when you meet the guy and I met the guy.”

As I also noted at the time, there seemed to be some conflict between what Tarantino said above, and what was believed to be the case when it was first announced that Will Smith was supposedly Tarantino’s #1 choice for the role (casting “top shelf” is what he said from the beginning), with suggestions that Smith didn’t take it because of the controversial nature of the part, and also the fact that, as I noted, he’d be playing second fiddle to Christoph Waltz’s character for much of the film.

Now, skip ahead to this morning, months after the film debuted in theaters, to an interview posted on Entertainment Weekly’s website, in which Will Smith, doing some early press for this summer’s release of After Earth, tells EW that he turned down Django Unchained because… drum-roll… his character would’ve been second-fiddle to the bounty hunter (played by Christoph Waltz) who teaches Django his trade.

“Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” says the Men in Black star, whose departure opened the door for Jamie Foxx to play the role. Smith says that before he left the project, he even pleaded with Tarantino to let Django have a more central role in the story. “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!’” 

That’s deep… He actually pleaded with Tarantino on this, and Quentin apparently didn’t want to make the adjustments! 

But his last lament (“I need to kill the bad guy“), I think sums of some of the frustration that many folks (myself included) had with the film’s story. What instead happens is that Django maims (shoots him in the knees) and then roasts Stephen (Samuel L. Jackson), the house negro, by burning down the plantation home, as if to suggest that the house negro deserves a worse fate than the slave master/plantation owner himself.

I had several problems with the script/film that I’ve already detailed in a number of past posts, so I won’t rehash everything here. But I really dig the fact that Will Smith didn’t compromise (even if it was more of a Will Smith ego thing than a “brothaman” thing), and stood his ground, forcing Quentin to make second and third tier choices – the 6 other actors he met with for the part; actors who apparently were OK with the story as it was (seemingly); or felt that starring in a Tarantino-directed film could be a boost to their careers.

Or maybe the other actors felt as Will Smith did, and Jamie Foxx was really the only one willing to do it as is…

Things that make you go hmmm… all very interesting nonetheless. And also maybe indicative of Tarantino’s motivations and intent here. Let’s see if he responds.

Clash of the egos…

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Comments

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This looks so good…I am speechless..even with that small snippet…i've never seen anything so beautiful in its pres

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This looks so good…I am speechless..even with that small snippet…i've never seen anything so beautiful in its pres

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This looks so good…I am speechless..even with that small snippet…i've never seen anything so beautiful in its pres

disgusted by you people

jesus, its a freaking movie….. who the hell cares who the real lead is, whether or not the black guy gets to kill the bad guy or why will smith really didnt wanna play the role. You people amaze me with the bs you do and call it a job. I only made it here accidentally because I wanted to read something about why they recasted the role of aunt vivian in fresh prince of bel air, something to do with will smith's egomaniacalismnessyness…. seriously though, who the hell cares?

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Marcel Zachary

I'm glad Will Smith didn't play that movie he was smart for not falling into a category where the white man the hero and the black guy just a sidekick it seems we can't make progress in Film. I didn't really like it. It's not because of Tarantino and it's action sequcners his old days of Pulp Fiction and humor were great then he tried to make violence the motive and less satire and spoof.His old method of filmmaking have been long gone what's he doing with alternating history and not the fact that You wish you could change it. But the real reason why I didn't like it was the fact that it tried make fun of slavery and made it feel like it was joke and less about less of the humanity and the horrendous thing to happen escepically to people like myself why would anyone insult and think something funny about i agree with Spike Lee 100 percent on this one if this movie din't get made we wouldn't be making more slave that are telling the truth but it's the truth I don't want see as entertainment value let alone call it comedy

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

    Rob

    What? Has no one seen this film? I grant you Waltz’s character frees Django at the beginning. Django is a slave after all. Django quickly comes into his own. Now Waltz is a scene stealer having come from a theatre background it shows, but Django is undoubtedly the lead. Waltz won best SUPPORTING actor for a reason. Will Smith has been the number one film star for more than the past decade. In Wild Wild West the film’s story was tweaked to allow for him as a black actor to portray a white character. Foxx, however, is the more talented actor. I say kudos to Tarantino for not giving into Smith. Changing your script to suit star’s egos is not a habit you want to get into as a filmmaker.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

Will

I appreciate the fact that Will Smith after being unsuccessful in his attempt to have Tarantino to modify the script, turned it down. Tarantino appears to knowingly or maybe unknowingly deprive the lead character of any manhood or dignity. Being treated as if you have no dignity during slavery doesn't mean that slaves had no dignity. Given the way the character is written which appears to be for pure entertainment, one could see why some African American actors would turn this role down. I now see clearly the problem Spike has with Tarantino's depictions of characters and use of some words. A story can be told innumerous ways without insulting the very people wwhopay to see it.

JustMe

God forbid Will Smith play second fiddle to anyone or not be the main attention in a movie. His ego is bigger than it should be. And God forbid he play second fiddle to a white man. Let's call it what it is. Will Smith and his wife are Racist.

JustMe

God forbid Will Smith play second fiddle to anyone or not be the main attention in a movie. His ego is bigger than it should be. And God forbid he play second fiddle to a white man. Let's call it what it is. Will Smith and his wife are Racist.

JustMe

God forbid Will Smith play second fiddle to anyone or not be the main attention in a movie. His ego is bigger than it should be. And God forbid he play second fiddle to a white man. Let's call it what it is. Will Smith and his wife are Racist.

Russ

Haven't read the comments, so I don't know if this has been mentioned, but I believe that there was some symmetry you're missing between the good guys/bad guys.

You're right that Django was not exactly the lead between the good guy duo; but similarly, Calvin was not really the lead between the bad guy duo. That was the point of having Stephen's death come later and more gruesomely. There are several points in the film that imply Samuel L. Jackson was actually the lead between him and DiCaprio. Some examples:

1. Calvin treats Stephen as nearly a family member, greeting him with obvious affection and only "pulling rank" once when Stephen is undermining his authority in front of other whites.

2. Stephen is clearly shown to be both the more cunning of the two in the way he sees through Django's plan and the way he manipulates numerous white people into doing exactly what he wants them to. He is also shown to be at least as cruel as Calvin as he taunts Django with the various tortures he has convinced Calvin's surviving family to skip in favor of a far worse fate.

3. Stephen acts very superior and condescending to Calvin, drinking his liquor without asking and talking down to him in private.

4. Stephen is black, which not only aids the symmetry (black hero has white mentor, white villain has black mentor) but also implies that he is willingly involved in the torture, mutilation, and murder of his own people; something many would argue is worse than the transgressions of the whites. (Historically, 'house negroes' were HATED by slaves for just that reason.)

Cpaul

So… According to Will Smith's way of thinking, Leonardo DiCaprio is a second class actor because he is not the Lead in this film… But he'll, this is te same man who turned down Matrix to do Wild Wild West… Shame on you and shame on your ego

Lee

Of course Tarantino didn't change the movie for Will Smith. Why would he do that? "Hey Quentin, I'll be in your movie if you make it a shitty Hollywood blockbuster starring me in the lead." Thank god he didn't change it and that Will Smith didn't play it. He would have been terrible. We are talking about a guy who said he picked Men in Black III over Django because of issues when those "issues" turned out to be that he wasn't the star. Cry me a river. And to the author of this article, did we even watch the same movie here? I think you missed the point entirely.

Thomas

How could the guy who wrote this not see why Samuel L. Jackson's character was the main bad guy. He was traitor to his the African American Slaves. In that time the head house slave practically raised the children of that house. They also became part of the family having all of the white mans ideals instilled into their heads. That's why Django explained how low the head house slave was to the other slave. Jackson's character hated his own kind and probably raised De Caprio's character instilling all of his views (which he got from being so close to the family) onto De Caprio. So L. Jackson was definitely the most evil. It was way more satisfying for Django to kill a traitor like him than it would be to kill De Caprio. It was a great movie very satisfying sure Waltz stole the show but with his acting ability any movie he's in every scene that he's in will just mesmerize the audience. Which is why Quentin had to kill him off 25 min before the movie ended so you could realize the story is about Django and see him finally use everything Dr. Shultz had taught him. It's a great plot turn where the plot essentially switches who the main character is. It would have been a little better for most people if they centered on Django earlier in the movie. But as for me I would never complain about Christoph Waltz getting to much screen time. I love his character I was absolutely mortified over the fact that Tarantino killed him off. I kept waiting for him to rescue Django at the end as he had been throughout the movie, knowing it was an impossibility since he pretty clearly died, only to be completely distraught that Waltz's role in that movie was over.

Quentin has said he wrote that character for Waltz and would not take no for an answer, he just couldn't wait to put Waltz in another movie and see him perform after inglorious bastards.

Thomas

How could the guy who wrote this not see why Samuel L. Jackson's character was the main bad guy. He was traitor to his the African American Slaves. In that time the head house slave practically raised the children of that house. They also became part of the family having all of the white mans ideals instilled into their heads. That's why Django explained how low the head house slave was to the other slave. Jackson's character hated his own kind and probably raised De Caprio's character instilling all of his views (which he got from being so close to the family) onto De Caprio. So L. Jackson was definitely the most evil. It was way more satisfying for Django to kill a traitor like him than it would be to kill De Caprio. It was a great movie very satisfying sure Waltz stole the show but with his acting ability any movie he's in every scene that he's in will just mesmerize the audience. Which is why Quentin had to kill him off 25 min before the movie ended so you could realize the story is about Django and see him finally use everything Dr. Shultz had taught him. It's a great plot turn where the plot essentially switches who the main character is. It would have been a little better for most people if they centered on Django earlier in the movie. But as for me I would never complain about Christoph Waltz getting to much screen time. I love his character I was absolutely mortified over the fact that Tarantino killed him off. I kept waiting for him to rescue Django at the end as he had been throughout the movie, knowing it was an impossibility since he pretty clearly died, only to be completely distraught that Waltz's role in that movie was over.

Quentin has said he wrote that character for Waltz and would not take no for an answer, he just couldn't wait to put Waltz in another movie and see him perform after inglorious bastards.

John

Yeah Will Smith's films do so good because there are a lot more idiots in the world than intelligent people. 60% of Smith films suck balls. Every single Quentin film is amazing. Anyone who think other wise is an absolute idiot who obviously has Zero taste in cinema. You're as big of a dumb ass as the guy who wrote this thesis if you can't see that Django Unchained is an amazing film. Christoph Waltz is one of the greatest actors in the world a hell of a lot better than stupid Will Smith. It's good that he as the lead for most of the movie and a good guy. Damn you people are dumb. I guess that's why shitty music and movies do so well. Because people like you are idiots and idiots are the majority of society. You all suck.

John

Yeah Will Smith's films do so good because there are a lot more idiots in the world than intelligent people. 60% of Smith films suck balls. Every single Quentin film is amazing. Anyone who think other wise is an absolute idiot who obviously has Zero taste in cinema. You're as big of a dumb ass as the guy who wrote this thesis if you can't see that Django Unchained is an amazing film. Christoph Waltz is one of the greatest actors in the world a hell of a lot better than stupid Will Smith. It's good that he as the lead for most of the movie and a good guy. Damn you people are dumb. I guess that's why shitty music and movies do so well. Because people like you are idiots and idiots are the majority of society. You all suck.

Jimmy from London

Can you hear that whistling everyone? It started not long after Kill Bill came out.
The sound of Tarantino falling off. This film has a few classy scene but on the whole its all over the place. This movie just makes me wanna watch Blazing Saddles to see this kinda concept done properly and thats a straight up comedy.
Tarantino actually had the nerve to say he wanted to make a hero for black kids. LOL
Who Christopher Waltz ?
Chris Waltz was the man in this film!He was ice cool under pressure and even got to kill the main baddy. Tut Tut its 2013 Why cant Django do it himself?.
Django was a side kick, the film should of been called the "The Bounty hunter dentist ".
For me it was let down a cop out. I was expecting some 70s Jim Brown shit! But all we get is Rick Ross music and cameos from the fat Super Bad kid. I'm not fooled by a couple violent scenes , and Di Caprio screaming nigga .There's more to a good edgy film then that.
What happened to you Quentin?
What happened to the Pulp Fiction and Reservoir dogs .

Donella

Will Smith's movies in which he performed lead have earned more than $5 billion at the box office.

Quentin Tarantino's movies in which he was director have earned a little more than $1 billion at the box office.

Will Smith doesn't need Quentin Tarantino to succeed in Hollywood. Tarantino knows it and knows that Will knows it has been pissy ever since. So have a lot of other people and so this pissy discussion continues. Oh well. Piss away.

GimmeABreak

So, this movie wasn't racist enough for Will Smith … he would only be in it if he could kill him some honkeys!!
And Tarantino is full of shit – watch his other pre-release interviews where he clearly states that he wrote this script for a target audience who wanted to see a black man take revenge on those evil, evil, white people (because the lead in Roots didn't get to kill white people, and it made Tarantino incredibly angry that his character "took the high road").
Jamie Foxx is a goofball and totally unbelievable in any of these serious roles he's been cast in (and even more unbelievable as a singer).
However, art does imitate life, and this film does a good job of encapsulating the ever growing and increasingly violent black hatred towards whites and "mixed races".

Lily

One thing I don't agree with is that Calvin Candie is of average intelligence, I think he's a smart business man first and foremost. However, Steven is all about what's going on around him and quite observant. Hence, he figures out what's really going on. I see Steven as the real villain as he is the most against the duos real objective like Alexander Anthony stated below.

Lily

I love Will Smith and yes, he's a mega star and he can pick and choose what he wants to do. He earned that, but Leonardo DiCaprio is just as big a star and did a remarkable job. You don't always have to take the lead to be standout.

Quintin Garvin (My Real Name)

Either way you put it when talking about Will Smith not liking the whole second fiddle sh!&
At the end of day He should have realized just like everybody else coming out of the movie theaters Christmas day. The movie is still called DJANGO. And thats who the people came to see.

KJ

agreed – Alexander's analysis below was a really interesting contribution.

Lily

Just a few words for Alexander Anthony who commented below: well thought out response. I agree with everything you wrote. Bravo!

Alexander Anthony

I have some points to add:

-Structurally, Calvin Candie doesn't seem to be the villain. Sam Jackson's character Steven is the villain. Steven is the most opposed to Django's objective (having figured it out, he's an intellectual peer). Calvin Candie seems to be incestuous, of average (or less) intelligence, decadent, and perhaps steeped in the homoerotic (his intimate mandingo fighter setting is a hint). Even when Calvin is told about Django's deception (which in itself seemed a bit overwrought) Calvin was open to doing a deal (meaning he's still not opposed to Django's objective, which is the classic definition of an antagonist). Other things that suggest this include: Candie dies relatively early, his objectives against Django do not continue beyond his death because he had few to begin with, and Django faces his greatest challenges after Candie's death.

-If Calvin Candie is not the villain, then Django did in fact kill the villain… Steven. This suggests that Tarantino is suggesting the truest villainy in slavery is not the act itself – which is horrific – but the fact that we faced keen betrayal by our own to not only make slavery effective… but to make it possible. Slavery as our holocaust without guys like Steven would have likely been impossible.

-this leads me to Will Smith's accounting. Assuming he reads the structure of the film as I did – his "excuse" for why he didn't do the film is likely bullshit. It's not about killing the villain – but more about being the "lead." Inasmuch as Django was rescued and mentored, the archetype of the white man as both devil (slaver) and inexorable angel (freedom fighter) and rescuer is inevitably projected. And this is uncomfortable politically and artistically.

And that brings up a really interesting point about the chronicle of displaced Africans in the United States. Ultimately, cultural changes benefiting African Americans have officially been decreed by the oppressing class (rather than say a true revolution from the bottom like the Haitian Revolution). So the discomfort with the archetypal white savior suggests a collective discomfort with certain aspects of history. Perhaps it would have been more beneficial culturally if Denmark Vesey or Nat Turner had bought about emancipation rather than Abraham Lincoln?

My extremely humble $0.02.

sleepy

In '70's films about slavery or post-slavery, such as Buck And The Preacher, or The Legend Of N***** Charley (both actually black Westerns) the main black characters took matters into their own hands—they weren't sitting around waiting for some good white man or woman to show up and help them do a damn thing. I say that because a few posters are saying that "Oh, a black person couldn't have done all that without a white person around to help them." which is nonsense, considering that in real life slaves started insurrections and escaped from their masters all the time. Check this really good article from Slate.com titled "When Blaxpolitation Went West" by Aisha Harris—it gets deeper into the difference bwt those films and DJANGO (which I liked myself, but believe me, I had some problems with–the least also being Tarantino himself.)

Bigg Russ

He SO wasn't second fiddle in Bagger Vance.

Truth

QT has sensitive negroes in a mind grip. Still talking about his movie and getting yo ears hot!

Bee

1) I saw Django recently (got a copy slipped to me and didn't pay a cent for it because this was one film I refused to pay any money to see).

2) I think the film is utter trash and buffonery and rather tedious, but I can see how some folks enjoyed it. I admit that the KKK scene was fucking hilarious. So, I'm not going to hate on anyone for liking the film. It wasn't my cup of tea is all and, after seeing it, I feel sort of how Spike felt about it.

3) More importantly, I must say that ya'll cracking me up with this "it wouldn't have been believable to make a black man the lead" argument. Right. Because during slavery times black women slaves had perms (take a look at many of the slave women in the film, even the ones with nappier hair clearly have perms that have been frizzed up to look nappier) and had time to keep their hair looking cute. Right. Because clearly the house negroes (e.g. Stephen) were really running the show during slavery. That's all sooooo believable. Seriously folks? Ya'll killing me. All that, and it still would have been too "unbelievable" to make Jamie or Will the lead and Waltz the sidekick? (And not to mention do more with Kerry's character, but that's a whole other story. I digress.) Miss me with that b.s.

Please reevaluate your excuses for why Jamie or Will couldn't have been believable as the lead in this already completely fictionalized and unbelievable story.

CareyCarey

IT'S CRYING TIME AGAIN! I can see by the way you hold me darling, that it won't be long before it's crying time, again. Soooooooooooooo, to stop the floodgate of tears, it's RE-POST TIME!

"Stephen is like the equivalent of Candy's wife. It's really no different than countless films in which we've seen women use their feminine wiles to get men to do what they want. The old "women are really the ones with the power" line. They may not be able to physically maneuver men, but they can influence them. But at the end of the day, Candy, just like most men, rule their domain. It's still very much a patriarchy and Stephen is the "wife." He's Candy's "bitch' to put it bluntly, and Candy could do whatever he wanted to, to Stephen, because he had the power to make anything happen whenever he wanted. Stephen on the other hand, for all his cunning, couldn't do the same to Candy, or anyone else, if he wanted to, because he doesn't have that kind of power or anything close to the power Candy has, and his main motivation is to keep himself alive and in his master's favor. Yes, Stephen has power… but for a house Negro at the time, which is key. Meaning, its relative (compared to Candy's, who I believe is also cunning in his own way, and wasn't fooled by Stephen's act). Stephen's power is very limited.

I don't think Candy was an idiot at all. Greedy maybe, a businessman, but far from an idiot, just because he didn't spot Schultz's and Django's ruse. That doesn't make Stephen any smarter, nor Candy any less smart. Like I said, that's Stephen's JOB. He's the "Black Informant." Of COURSE he was able to detect the ruse, because he had his eyes fixed sharply on Broomhilde and Django the entire evening. Any dummy could've sensed something was up, if they were doing what Stephen was doing that night. Candy had his eye on the ball the whole time, which was the money and his mandingos. He's about his business. He relies on Stephen to do what HOUSE NEGROS DO BEST which is squeal on other Negroes. If Django and Broonhilde had been written smarter (keyword written) and not given away their alliance at the dinner table, Stephen would've been none-the-wiser, they would've bought Broomhilde and been on their merry way. End of the film.

But, no, we just have to get some conflict from somewhere to push the story forward and keep it going.

I seriously doubt that Candy and Stephen sit around and discuss much else about how Candy runs his various businesses. Or that Candy seeks his advice on everything that happens ON THE PLANTATION. Probably the only thing keeping Stephen alive is time. He'd been on that plantation for a very long time, since when Candy's father was running it. He'd *earned* a place at the table you can say. But Candy was no fool, and Stephen's level of power and reach is RESRICTED. Everyone knew who the master of that domain was, including Stephen.

I didn't feel sorry for him, as someone else suggested. I laughed at him, whether it was all a show or not. I understand his "double consciousness" as a means to survive, but I never felt like he was a real threat (Candy made me far more anxious), but more like a nuisance, and that's kind of how he got dismissed, like an annoying fly to be swatted. His whole death scene was comical.

And further more, like I said before, even if, in Tarantino's mind, he, Stephen, was the main villain, what does that say about Tarantino's motivations that he'd make a slave revenge movie with evil slave masters and evil slave drivers and traders, but of all those more appropriate villains, he would instead make the house negro, the only other black man in the film with any real screen time in the film, the main villain – and, oh by the way, who doesn't show up until the towards the end of the film? Makes no sense to me.

It's like, imagine if the argument was made that the main villain in Inglorious Basterds was a Jewish traitor (which is kind of what Stephen is). Not the Nazis, not the Jew hunter. But the Nazi Jew hunter's helper, who happens to be a Jew, cunning his way into a cozy life in his master's domain, like Stephen does with Candy. I'm sure that wouldn't sit very well with Jews. So the takeaway of the story is instead, that the absolute worst person on a slave plantation in a slave revenge film is the house negro. Not the slave masters, not the slave traders, not the slave drivers and all. But the house negro. Right.

And I wouldn't dismiss Will Smith's intelligence either. I'm referring to your earlier comment about him misunderstanding the script. Will Smith strikes me as a fairly intelligent person who I think could've read the script and reached supported conclusions. And he and Tarantino did discuss the script, so if Stephen was, in Tarantino's mind, the main villain all along, I would think that Tarantino would've explained to Will (especially since he really wanted him for the part) that Stephen was the main villain and his mind, and follow that up with a convincing enough explanation that Will would've come around and understood. But that wasn't even his only complaint. He just didn't feel that Django was the lead character, which many others agree, and which was broken down in the post.

So if Tarantino felt otherwise, and he really wanted Will for the film, at the very least I'd like to think he would've done his best to explain to Will what he was seeing and thinking, sharing his vision. Clearly they had a conversation or two or three about it before Will passed" ~ Nadia

DROP THE MIC…. this party is over.

Brandon the Hawk

I think Stephen really was running things, but also resented Django being a "free" black man, so he ratted him out, since Stephen was still a "slave." Remember the scene right before the two dogs killed the other slave? Django is on the horse and he is getting dirty looks from the slave next to him. Same thing.

As for why I say Stephen was running things? When we first see Stephen, he is writing out Candie's checks. When Stephen tells Candie to meet him in the library, he does, and he pours himself his own liquor, sits in the big chair, and Candie listens to him, attentively. When Candie died, Stephen was still giving orders to the remaining white men (like Billy Crash), and they listened to him.

In other words, Candie was the boss, obviously. But he didn't have the mind for "running business" – he was more focused on watching Mandingo fights. Stephen basically raised him, and helped him run CandieLand. Stephen *acted* like a bumbling fool when in public with Candie, but that act dropped when they were in private.

The point which was aptly conveyed in several scenes that apparently went over your a few people's head, is that the slaves were attuned to the inner lives of the other slaves as well as to the lives of whites, especially if they lived in the big house. Whites were not attuned to the slaves. They were too busy assuming their own superiority (the long scene about the dimples at the back of the skull).. They thought they knew but they didnt. The other part of it was that some slaves were able to fool and manipuate their owners by using their feelings of superiority against them. Since blacks were so dumb and stupid it wouldn't occur to the whites they were actually being played.

They discussed their business right in front of the slaves. The slaves acted and revealed only that which whites expected and the minimum of what they needed to know. The uncle tom character of Sam (who was depicted as being trusted enough and literate enough to tend the books) showed that some blacks learned to curry favor with their owners and therefore make an easier life for themseleves. A lot of things he did was to get over. The laughing at every joke, negative statements about the other slaves, seemingly subjegating himself to the masters. He even got away with insulting them right their faces with a laugh. His contempt for whites and his boss was conveyed when he came to tell DJango what fate lay awaitiing him. He basically said the whites were too stupid to figure out what to do with him. He interjected several times suggestions which they ignored because what would some dumb slave know, until the sister came up with the exact idea he had fed the whites.

The other scene which conveyed his feelings of superiority over his masters was when he threw down his cane, stood up straight, walked straight and started talking with less of an "ignorant" way of speaking during the last scenes when Django returned for revenge. In other words he had played up his age and fragilities to his bosses to get away with a lot and make a better life for himself. Some of his (and others like him) comtempt for the other slaves was real because he felt they were stupid to keep trying to escape only to be brought back and be beaten over and over. He felt he had figured out how best to cope and make the best of a bad deal as the other slaves had not. He got to live in the big house, eat the better food, hear all the gossip and what whites folks were up to, and in time even get to insult the whites, and feel superior to them.

For me, the reveal was a major scene and many scenes had been played to build that scene up and to reflect back on that scene. He could actually tell his white boss to meet him in the library. Sit there and sip the same liquor has his owner as and equal and his boss didn't even notice it. And, yes, he was willing to do what he needed (including throwing his own people under the bus) to keep his position. No different then a corporate raider or any captain of industry in this day and age. In other words he was ruthless.

Brandon the Hawk

"Why or How could Schultz shoot Calvin and endanger Django, yadda yadda and why wasnt it Django who did it?" And I can't believe that is a question when you see that his character is having a major breakdown in Act II.

I see this film in 3 acts. Act I is Schultz taking Django under his wing and training him to be a bounty hunter and basically "free" him. Act II is them working as a team and us seeing Django and Schultz balance their duo act. Act III is Django's starring role as we see him emerge as the hero he was trained to be.

But Act II is where its apparent that Schultz is now "breaking." It's all over the place in Act II. Even him asking Candie if he may talk to Django, after a mishap, would raise a red flag and Django even scolded him for it. Then Schultz tries to reimburse Candie so the slave won't be ripped apart by dogs. He's breaking even more. The roles of Django and Schultz have now switched as Django is now the one with common sense as Schultz is, simply, losing it. It's obvious the effect of the slave being ripped apart had on him. When Candie is on to them and giving the skull-speech, it is obvious how shaken Schultz is. He is never going to recover from that. When Candie slams the hammer and pretends to smash Hildi, just look at Schultz, he's cowering like a baby.

The next scene is us seeing him fully engulfed in his downfall. He even loses it and tells the harp player to stop playing. This man is gone. Logic escapes him now. He's not the cool-cat he was in the beginning. In many ways, saving Django caused him to bring himself down and ultimately his own life. I see Django as not only a tale of slavery for black people but slavery in general. The whole portion of Act II is Schultz learning what it's like to be in a slave-like world, being paraded around by Candie and having to oblige him and act like everything is fine despite all the torment he witnesses along the way. He's no longer in charge like he was in Act I.

The character Django wasn't supposed to be top notch yet. He had the desire, he had the need to reach his goal, but he hadn't been hardened enough in the part of slave turned free man with free will yet. Schultz had to die, to not be there to guide him any longer in order for him to stand up and say "I can do this". He was starting to – he held up under Candie's pressure better than Schultz because he knew the other side of that lifestyle. But he had not yet had to face the fight on his own. He HAD to have that point of no return, and he could ONLY do that without Schultz. That forced him to realize – this is your goal, this is your life YOU are in charge. He wasn't supposed to be charismatic. He was a pupil who was suddenly turned out and forced to realize what he knew all along – that he was a man in his own right.

CinemaMike

First and foremost, I want to say I love Will Smith's films and I love Tarantino and all involved in Django, but from Will's reasons as to why he didn't play Django, it shows that he had a very shallow understanding of the story.

He says that he found the character to be more of a supporting character, and he wanted to "kill the bad" (which is funny when you consider that Django does kill a bad guy).

First off, people keep saying Django is boring and that everyone is talking about Stephen, Schultz, and Candie quite often, but those reviews have a lot to deal with the delivery from the actors.

The thing is Django is always the protagonist in the film, we travel on his journey. Not Stephen, Candie or Schultz. They're people he meets along the way and help shape his life, all for the better for the most part. We watch Django go from a chained victim of institutionalized slavery at the beginning of the film to a confident, sharp-tongued, exceptionally skilled gunslinger to the end. From the beginning of the film, we know Django's main focus, to get back his beloved wife. The skills that Django acquires from his teachings and experiences with Schultz, and eventually Candie and Stephen all help shape the character in the end. When Django gets revenge in the movie against the antagonist, we all root for him. In the end, when he saves the day and starts horse dancing in the end, it's such a celebration, moreso than any other ending for a Tarantino film.

The fact that Will Smith couldn't appreciate that is quite jarring has he's played many strong characters in the past, like The Pursuit of Happyness or I am Legend. In this film, the protagonist develops his ego towards the end whereas in many of Smith's roles, the character has the ego juice from the start.

Django is the first and last character we see in the film. It is his story, but he is on an odyssey and so are we. He is the main character.

Regarding "The Bad Guy". Smith stated that he wanted Django to kill Canide, but this wouldn't have made sense in the slightest. As with Inglorious Basterds advertising, Tarantino has become a genius at false, but eventually rewarding misdirection with his newer films. In Inlgorious, we thought the movie was about Brad Pitt and his group of Nazi-head scalpers killing Nazis when in fact it would about Shosshana revenge against the Nazis, ironically similar to Django's revenge tail. (After all, institutionalized slavery and the holocaust are among the most savage chapters, maybe of all time in the history of human cruelty). It was deceptive that Brad Pitt's role was so small, but it was so rewarding that he wasn't a buddy flick.

Same with Django to an extent. From the trailers, and if you're watching superficially (or not really paying attention), you would think Calvin Candie is "the" bad guy and that largely has to do with the fact that he is the slave owner. He's definitely a bad guy and his purpose in the story is to serve as a symbol of slavery, pseudo-scientic theories regarding eugenics. The speech he has about the skull and the superiority/inferiority of whites/blacks showed not digustingly ridiculous he was. Dr. King Schultz, as the film progresses, becomes a symbol of abolition and civil rights, justice, human dignity and after Candie's people brutally murdered a slave, he'd rather kill Candie and put his own life in danger (and remember this guy never intended to die) and he does just that. At that moment, he probably believed that Candie was the Devil himself and he killed him. That's why Waltz won the Oscar. Whereas Hans Landa was a Nazi, Schultz, though a fictitious creation, was symbol of the great civil rights leaders that would come. A person willing to die for a cause. Thus, the symbol of oppression (Candie) had to be killed by a symbol of abolition and civil rights (Schultz). Brilliant writing from Tarantino.

Smith obviously didn't read between the lines, because the truth is that the real bad guy is Stephen (Sam Jackson's character). In this, Tarantino went to another level with the dark secret of slavery: that people will enslave and oppress their own kind for power. From the moment Stephen sees Django, he's so jealous and threatened by Django as a free man that he immediately tries to destroy him.

Think about it: Candie didn't even know he was being deceived. He only decided to turn on Schultz and Django after Stephen revealed to him that he was being deceived. Then, if you notice, Candie was taking directions from his own slave! The truth was that behind closed doors, Stephen truly was either Calvin's equal or because of the age disparity and the fact that he raised Calvin, above Calvin. Stephen's acts are what cause the mayhem in the second half of the film. All of the people that died in the end were because of Stephen. He, trying to hold onto his grip of power, tried to suppress his own. It's something we didn't know until we saw the movie. It was truly a sad, frightening revelation and because of what Stephen did to Django, it makes him 20 times more evil than Candie. Thus, Django did kill the true bad guy. The guy who is responsible for the death of the people in the second half. Had he not exposed the deception of Schultz and Django to Calvin, Django would've gotten his wife and everyone would've lived.

I'm surprised Will Smith didn't get that. I'm not saying he's not smart. He obviously is one of the most successful stars in Hollywood. But, his analysis of Django is off.

Mark & Darla

Last week on this website Will Smith was a villain, this week he is a hero, maybe I am thinking to to far out there, maybe I am skeptical of people true motives but did Will Smith read the two negative post last week and decided to distract S&A commenters with his big revelation. Than again Will Smith doesn't care what is said on S&A, S&A ain't no NYT.

The big question is ,will Tambay continue his angry toward Will on his obvious neglect to hire black screenwriters and directors or will this quench Tambay thirst.

Nicholas Gonzalez

I loved your article. I do agree that you are most accurate in how Will Smith viewed the script. I think that is what Will Smith believed. I don't share this view. Quentin is known for his dialogue and plot structure, but there is much to be said about his love for subtext in films. I saw parallels between Django and his dentist, and Candie and his house negro. The difference in Django's relationship with the dentist/bounty hunter, is that they both needed each other in order to be successful. Collaboration, cooperation and camaraderie are traits not easily witnessed in such a time, nor remotely legal. Unlike the opposite pair of adversaries, Django and the Dentist, were equals. Equals of humanity; not race. As illustrated by house negro death scene, Django asks him how many blacks he has seen killed by Calvin Candie as long as he had been alive. "9? 9,999?" Django asks. The house negro played second fiddle to Calvin Candie, despite his own race and more deeply, his humanity. Why wouldn't Django give him the worst death?

Justin D.

I knew this post would get a lot of comments. You don't write a piece potentially decrying Quentin Tarantino w/o riling up his fanatical base (as well as his more passionate detractors). I didn't hate the film, which is as much praise as I can heap upon it. From the moment it was announced I knew I wasn't going to love it. I like Tarantino (for the most part) but his handling of the subject of race has always left a bad taste in my mouth, and here he was making a film about slavery. After watching it I'm glad it turned out better than I'd hoped, but I still got that bad taste in my mouth. As for the article, I'm of the mind that Django should have been the primary protagonist of the film and should have been the one to kill Candie. Will Smith is an egomaniac but I think he made the right decision. I couldn't see him in the part anyway. Jamie Foxx is better at supporting roles.

Nappy Queen

Great post. I absolutely love your analysis and will be tuning in to your work more regularly.

Rod

Jamie Foxx yes. Will Smith no way!!!

ao

Second fiddle? So ya' think Will really preferred the role of Bagger Vance to Django? Second tier? Last I heard Jamie Foxx won an Oscar!

I like Will but Jamie knocked the role out of the ballpark. Can't imagine a better actor to play Django. Hope he gets to revive the character in a sequel.

Donella

Please read slave narratives and slave autobiographies–writing left as a record from the slaves themselves. NOT biographers, melodramatic novelists, and sadistic screenwriters. Slaves and ex-slaves told their own stories so no one else would later twist their pain and suffering and triumph into something akin to violence pornography. Please read true history and learn how slaves worked and planned and used their talents, skills, stealth, training, intelligence, and will power to free themselves and others from bondage. Frederick Douglass, William Still, Solomon Northrup, Bass Reeves, Sojourner Truth are but a few stories we've not yet seen on the big screen, but someday soon we will.

CareyCarey

**peeking in to ensure the dust has settled**

HMMMM… Smell that? You smell that? Controversy, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of controversy in the morning. But see, after reading all the comments, I had to come to one disheartening conclusion that Jimmie Walker ( JJ on Good Times fame) was absolutely right. What… y'all didn't hear what he said? Listen…

In a good interview with NPR, Jimmie Walker of Good Times fame, had a few things to say about African American's criticism of shows (then and still now).

In addition to challenging those criticisms by exalting the show's pros (like the many issues that affected the black community that it did tackle), Walker argued that it is essentially because of the fact that we (black people – although, in fairness, not all of us), routinely (and reductively, I might add) reject what we deem as "negative" depictions of black people on screen, so much that Hollywood studios, and other financial risk-takers in TV and film, are less willing to back productions that tell complex stories about black people.

Oh, and btw, I have to say this, that little tidbit of news came via our host with the most, Tambay Obenson. Yep, he penned a post titled Jimmie Walker Says Your Constant Complaining Discourages Studios From Taking Risks On Black Stories.

And Tambay knows what he talking about. Some of you guys even complain about how he writes the damn posts. That reminds me, I re-read this piece and I actually liked the way he interspersed his past thoughts and criticisms. I mean, I am generally not a fan of "film critics speech" but Tambay lays it out like we're sitting at my kitchen table, and I love that in him. However, I feel kind of sorry for him because you guys can be brutal and his hands are tied. Shiiiit, we all know Sergio will duke it out with the best (ain't NO shame in his game) but Tambay generally takes the high road.

Don't get me wrong, Tambay has it in him (the man has been known to B-slap a few folks) but since moving to IndieWire he's now more prone to turn the other cheek. But speaking of controversy, did y'all notice how he slipped this under the rug–>"But I really dig the fact that Will Smith didn't compromise [ … ] forcing Quentin to make SECOND and THIRD tier choices – the 6 OTHER ACTORS he met with for the part; actors who apparently were OK with the story as it was (seemingly)"

Well-well-well, off the top of my head I can't think of all the 6 bottom tier actors who he may be referring to, but Idris Elba was on display. Now I don't know about y'alls feelings or Idris's bank account but he could have certainly benefited from the exposure. But, a begging question is, could he have done the dang thang? Hmmm… if Thor and Prometheus are any indication, I'd say no way, Jose. But I am sure some of the ladies will disagree. They'd get to see him hanging upside down — butt naked — with his "johnson" swinging in the wind. Come on now, unlike Tiger Woods who was on top of the world, only to be vilified for tweeting his limbo stick, that's positive exposure from the bottom tier.

regi

i've already commented on smith and the movie, but i just have to chime on all those commenters who keep saying that having Django as the "hero" or the killer of Candie are "unrealistic". This is, to me, the most INANE, IDIOTIC, wholly RIDICULOUS notion i've seen in this discussion. THE MOVIE IS UNREALISTIC. most movies are UNREALISTIC. DJANGO UNCHAINED is a FANTASY, a STORY that comes from the fevered imagination of quentin tarrantino. it is NOT a documentary or based on a true story. justifying or negating its plot or story on how much it cleaves to history or reality is utterly ridiculous. perhaps me and others, like tambay, who wanted something (a black hero who motivates and drives his own story) that this movie didn't provide are wrong to complain about that and should go make our own movie. no prob. but to suggest that tarrantino COULDN'T make that movie because it wouldn't accord with history or be realistic or somehow "ring true" is utter nonsense. the fact is he didn't make that movie because he CHOSE not to. period. and i find that CHOICE to have been wrong-headed and aesthetically inadequate.

steve

excellent piece, just fix that one typo "same character her portrayed in Inglorious Basterds…"

Katarina

Will Smith may be all about the money and a clean image, but this call was a great one. Django, just like "The Help" is just another, slightly funkier, white supremacist story disguised as one about black liberation. Great article!

Amanda

Will Smith is being a bit dishonest I believe he passed on Django not just because he wanted to be the lead but he is also concerned about his BRAND. Hello, Will Smith is very vanilla, he doesn't take on risky material. The last risky film I can think of Smith taking on was the gay film Six Degrees of Separation twenty years ago. And even in that film Smith refused to kiss another man.

So for Smith to say this about Django I believe he just wants to keep his image vanilla for his audience. Will Smith is all about money and I think for him taking on the role of Django would hurt his image. Also, I think Jamie Foxx was a better choice he has an edge to his acting that Will Smith lacks.

Rasheed

Will Smith passing on Django is classic "Will Smith". Decline the edgier role in a hard 'R' film for what seems like the safer bet. Go back to him taking The Wild, Wild, West over The Matrix. Now we've got Shymalan's bound to be PG-13 After Earth over Tarantino's R-rated Django Unchained.

JMS

During slavery times the negro couldn't be the lead in this form. Jamie was the best guy for the part. I couldn't see Will doing it.

david

!SAGGIN
i PROMISE you when "12 Years a Slave" comes out, this comment thread will be filled with THE EXACT same comments as there were for D'JANGO and they are NO WHERE NEAR the same movie…we CANNOT be pleased…lol

I love yall tho! I hate this comment thread, but I love yall/us!

Miles Maker

Anybody who thinks Stephen was NOT the primary antagonist in DJANGO needs to refresh their understanding of storytelling, then watch the movie again–because even in Spaghetti Westerns, the villain is the last one to die in the end.

Those who perceive Stephen to be a 'victim' also probably think Rappers and drug dealers can say & do whatever they please because they're poor hapless victims of circumstance. Wake up! Uncle Toms are clever folk–they have you all fooled! All the while you're feeling sorry for them, they're throwing you under the bus.

A Black man wielding THAT much power in the Antebellum South with the guile to manipulate his Master's house who reads and writes and sits at his Master's table while presiding over Blacks with unchallenged dominion and authority isn't the ultimate villain to a Black Hero UNLESS he hates the very Black people he exercises dominion over. The Black Hero must neutralize the single most villainous threat to reclaiming his love; a threat even money can't buy away.

There is no greater showdown in DJANGO.
The movie ends when Stephen dies.

SmartyPants

Will was totally right about this. Feel bad that the black community was DUPED into thinking this was the savior film they've yearned for. I think we got bamb$$zled folks, we wanted a black hero so bad. By the way, did ANY BLACK FOLKS get rich from DJANGO? *sound of crickets* I know Reginald Hudlin was a producer but what about the others? Was Jamie an Executive Producer on this film? How about Sam or Kerry? *crickets*

JEFTCG

More proof Will's an insufferable, out-of-touch ass. He might be a box office draw to the Tea Party set and reality tv watchers but he never gets any of my hard earned black dollars. Thank goodness for Academy screeners. Uh, I mean, my neighbor's netflix account.

Reina

I understand your eagerness with wanting to have Django as the main hero of the film, but it would have taken away from the more realistic elements of the story. The racial dynamic of this story exists in slavery era terms, which mandates that white male supremacy be at the forefront of the story. The relationship between Django and Dr. King Shultz is an appropriate one for the story. During that time period white people that were opposed to slavery did not believe that slaves were equals. Shultz is a radical for having Django as a partner. Also Shultz serves as both mentor and big brother. He introduces Django to the basics of living free. That process takes time and guidance and by the end of the film we feel confident in Django's ability to survive, because we see his transition from slave to free man.

Alvin

Actually I enjoyed the movie. Tarentino served up a taste of what white men have guzzled since Homer to Ian Fleming. The pity of the matter is that one time, WE wait until some white person does something like this and then rip it to pieces. The hero in this movie is like many heroes in other movies. He's simple man who starts out small and by the end of the movie he has grown beyond his origins. Sometimes he has a mentor sometimes he does not. If he does that mentor has to die (usually heroically) in order for the hero to rise to his greatness. I loved the movie ,it showed a black man defying hell and high water to rescue his black woman.Instead of "B better have my money!"… It showed a black man rising above slavery to defeat impossible odds to save the love of his life which is what the white man gets to see himself do all of the time. Hell the last time I remember seein a black man do this was in "3 The Hard Way"…Frankly I rather enjoyed sippin out of the hero's cup. So many stories to tell..Samory Toure, Zumbi, Nzinga, James Beckwourth, Nat Bass, instead of whinin about being let down by another white man, howz about we come out of the blasted hood and discover the transformative power of heroic myth?

Julie

Dear Tambay, may I ask you a question? Whose project was it? Tarantino's or Smith's?
As far as I know, it says written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. If a person showed al integrity here it's Mr Tarantino. The latest spoilt Hollywood brat implores him to modify his script in order to get more screen time and to "kill the baddies". Bad news, kiddo, it's not your usual Hollywood fodder, we're talking about an auteur, whether you like him or not.
I understand it's not easy to stand in the shadow of one of the best actors working today, but at least Jamie Foxx tried and I believe he was good, much better than Smith would have been. Smith should have jumped to take the gig and he should have learned something from Herr Waltz: modesty, dignity, hard work, kindness. Enough said, if I was a writer/director I would never hire anyone as boorish as Smith.

Wm_Tucker

A movie, featuring [insert your African-American male actor here] as 'lead' according to Will Smith's interpretation, wouldn't have been believable whatsoever. Putting historical authenticity aside, exactly how would Smith's preferred version have developed? Django escapes from his master (OK), somehow acquires the financing, weaponry, and manpower (eh… OK), to lead a *successful* slave revolt (:/) *in the middle of antebellum Mississippi* (!?!) against Calvin Candie — the current owner of Brunhilda, BTW — whereby he rescues his bride, frees all the slaves at Candieland, and lives to tell about it.

Because he didn't get to play Magic Negro, Smith turned down the role of Django, to re-heat the MIB franchise?

I disagree Django isn't the central character in Django Unchained, which is the fairest yardstick for measuring who's the 'lead'. This seems like a silly discussion about the movie, which has been decontextualized and perhaps mischaracterized by Obenson.

Fred

This is more proof on top of more proof of what I was saying all along about Django Unchained. Django Unchained is a white savior movie. Period. When that confused fellow Sergio posted his review for Django Unchained where he was foaming at the mouth ready to lick Tarantino's dirty ass clean claiming it wasn't a white savior movie I already knew I was totally suspicious of that claim seeing as it was coming from someone that already loved the movie way before he even actually saw it. His reason? Because Django kills a lot of white people. It's such a simplistic request which is why it was so easy for Tarantino to fool gullible nonwhites into thinking that Django Unchained was the black version of Inglorious Bastards. Yet in Inglorious Bastards you don't see any of the Jews at the mercy of a non-Jew in order to get their revenge against the Nazis. In fact, it was a Jewish woman in the movie that planned the conspiracy against the Nazis and a Jewish hit squad that got to even kill Hitler. Yet in Django Unchained the only people that Django kills that are white are mostly unimportant and cartoonish looking clowns and the scenes are done in a manner that's almost comedic. Shultz is the one that kills almost all of the powerful whites in the movie. The only time in the movie when Django kills any white person of any kind of power is when Shultz gives him the permission to do so. This is something that even actor Jeffery Wright spoke about in an interview with Sway on his radio show and it's good to see a nonwhite actor with his head on straight about these issues. I applaud Will Smith for seeing through this movie and turning down the role because he saw it was nothing more than a white savior movie in disguise. How come Tarantino gave Jews their revenge fantasy film where Jews got to have their own revenge delivered by their own hands but can't give that to blacks? How do you make a slave revenge movie and have almost all the powerful whites get killed by a white guy and leave the supposed avenger of the slaves to kill almost only white buffoons and other black people?? Django Unchained is in no way a progress for nonwhites. People like Sergio and others are ill-informed about white supremacy and how these things work in Hollywood which is a big reason why there is no real progress in this industry since many can't even tell when they are being blatantly hoodwinked by white supremacists.

Dankwa Brooks

PLAIN & SIMPLE: Will didn't fall for the okey doke.

taylor4660

That storyline reminds me of the James Garner-Lou Gossett vehicle The Skin Game

getthesenets

ok..anybody who ACTUALLY used to watch films from blaxploitation era…you already know about Stephen's character.

My take then and now is that it's easier for a WHITE audience to swallow a Black man winning at the end and defeating "the man" if you include Black collaborater villains.

Makes the story a bit more complex than white guy is the bad guy and the Black guy/girl is the good guy….the man always has Blacks on his payroll who are selling out their "own"people.

Anybody ever see classics like Bucktown,Coffy , or ANY number of these films???

In Django, white audience isn't gonna sit through three hours of EVERY single white person onscreen being a STRAIGHT villain (with one exception) unless qt gives them an out. Stephen is that out,,,that outlet….the one they can point finger at and say….well…see…..

If you checked out any of the film sites like imdb, plenty of people took that outlet that qt gave them…and somehow, someway …they read into the film that "Stephen" is the real villain.

Makes them feel a BIT less uncomfortable having to see every white American character onscreen as demons.

Think that's partially why Blaxploitation era films were crossover hits in 70s and why Django (which is neo blaxploitation) was such a crossover hit/

Yalanda DryerBuzz.com

Amazing how black audiences can't agree on which character was actually "the bad guy."

getthesenets

Speaking of ego..how many times are you going to pat yourself on the back in one article?

Five references to "like I said correctly last year"

We get it..and we can read……..
We get it…, we can read your comments

Like I just wrote a few seconds ago, we can read it for ourselves.

Peter Jones

The whole movie was comic and ridiculous…but, that was the intent. NO ONE wants to sit through an entire movie that depicted the true lives and times of the Negro slaves and, frankly the Negro in America prior to 1968 or so. So, turning D'jango into some avenging Negro that successfully challenged the master and survived is enough fantasy of some whole cloth. Frankly Tarantino was correct: it is just too big of a stretch to history to place a Negro in Pre-1968(!!) America in a position to murder a master and burn down his plantation and save his wife …AND SURVIVE TO RIDE OFF INTO THE SUNSET!!!…. without having some white person to enable it in some fashion, somewhere in the picture? In 1800 Southern America? You guys are living in cloud coo-coo land if you thought such a movie had any chance of being made…or being seen.

Steaming Willie Beeman

WTF people?! Will does showy scifi and action comedies. I've not seen one film where I'd buy him playing a believable bad ass. The scene where Jamie as Django beats the shit out of one of the Brittle Brothers in that Gainsburgh-esque blue getup was awesome and I could never picture Will Smith doing that. Will is supposed to be the black dude that white people love and adore. You know the G-rated rapping fresh prince of Bel-Air. He can't go round expressing black rage. He'd lose half his audience. Will is no fool and Quenten knew what movie he was trying to make.

Let me just book it for ya'll; mainstream movie with huge box office receipts that stars a black slave as the named protagonist on a quest to get his black girl. Bad guys die after blackman proves how bad assed he is and blackman rides off into the sunset with the horse and the girl. Can anyone name a similar movie?

"D'artagnan muthaf***rs!!"

regi

1) smith is saying all this NOW, in RETROSPECT (after he and millions of others have seen and and passed judgement on the movie). so far we only have HIS word for why he turned down the part (if he actually did). QT?
2) that said, and having seen the movie, i COMPLETELY share in his (and tambay's) reservations (and have many more of my own) about the movie. (it really is not very good, and anybody who sites oscars as some kind of mark of quality has obviously never voted for anything.)
3) i have never been a will smith fan and much prefer jamie foxx as an actor. consequently, given my feeling about them and the film, i might actually have PREFERRED smith in the role: less waste of a greater talent, imo. i'm only thankful c. ejiofor wasn't available. lol.

Tieuel Legacy! Motion

This is definitely an "I told you so" moment as so many of Tambay's writing ends up being. It's also pointing toward more ego on Will's side and I really don't feel that it's only about EGO. He chose not to take the script. Fine. The movie still did very well and it created an uproar like it was supposed to do. Yes, Tarantino says NIGGA alot. Yes, he has lots of blood and killing. Yes, he's exploitive. What else is new? He's a repeat offender for Oscar noms as well. Viewers, don't follow his work if you think he's too over the top. Guess what. He's not going to stop because a few thousand people are upset or don't watch his films. He has millions of followers. Also, it would be cliche for Django to kill EVERYONE. He's still the top biller here. He killed quite a few white people in the process. It doesn't make Django a weaker character to allow Waltz's character to kill a key figure. He died in the end. It wasn't all peaches and cream. TLegacy

Nadia

Anyone who thinks Stephen was the main villain is a fucking moron! Either that or you're a plant. Get a damn clue! Stephen was a buffoon of the highest order. Add to that the fact that he doesn't show up in the film until the last 15 minutes. What kind of "main villain" doesn't first appear until the movie is almost over? He was a house Negro. To suggest that he was the main villain is to say that he actually had power. Stephen had NO real power. He's the fucking House Negro!!! Candy might listen to his advice, but at the end of the day, he's THE FUCKING HOUSE NEGRO!! There's a line that he simply cannot cross. If he did, all Candy had to do would be to order that Stephen be hung, and it would be a done deal. No questions asked. The character was a joke, and a buffoon and even Samuel L. Jackson himself said he played the character as comedy. And even if the argument about him being the main villain had any merit (which it doesn't), what does that say about Tarantino's state of mind that he'd make a slave revenge movie with evil slave masters and evil slave drivers and traders, but of all those more appropriate villains, he would make the house negro, the only other black man in the film with any real screen time in the film, the main villain? G-damn people! Wake the hell up!

Carl

Well at least the Django haters can have some kind of "victory"? lol Enjoy!

Stephen

I'm pleased to learn my misgivings about the film were shared–Waltz was indeed the same character in Django as he was in Basterds (Jackson or DiCaprio should have got that Oscar), and there was a bit of self-glorification in the idea that it took a white man to free the negro, when continental American history is laced with stories of successful negro uprisings–with powerful negro figures that managed just fine by themselves. I am displeased to hear about Tarantino's inflexibility in giving the Django character any sort of agency. That is extremely telling and what it tells is disappointing.

Having said all that, Django Unchained is STILL and enjoyable movie, and I STILL recommend giving it a watch.

blakscribe

I generally enjoyed your article but can't agree with the idea that Jamie Foxx is a "second and third tier" choice.

It's hard to imagine calling any actor with two Academy Award nominations and one more Oscar than Will Smith "second tier."

CareyCarey

The truth comes out? All we want are the facts, ma'am and all we know are the facts, ma'am… just the facts, ma'am.

Okay, is this Tambay's victory lap? Weeeell, for all the abuse he takes from drive-by pistol packin' blog monitors, who could blame the man for giving the drummer some? But yes, the post did ring of "I told y'all". But I have to look a little deeper. Some of his "facts" are really conjectures. I mean, is this new hub-bub-rub really a clash of egos?

Well, it's true, Willie is at his best when he is the lead. I remember his role in Wild Wild West. Although he was billed as one of the "leads", Kevin Kline and Kenneth Branagh got most of the shine (Will was essentially a sidekick). Consequently, from my perspective, it was my least favorite Will Smith movie.

So here we have Django, which by Tarantino's own admission is a rip-off of the original spaghetti western of the same name. A Man Called Django: Synopsis: After Django's wife is raped and killed by a group of ruthless renegades, Django rescues the only man who can identify the murderer, a loud mouthed theif who is about to be hanged. The men team up and head west, looking for revenge!

Django and Sartana's Showdown In The West: A vicious gang of outlaws abduct Jessica Collby and flee to Mexico! Django the bounty hunter and Sartana the gunslinger join forces to rescue her from the gang!

HMMMMM…. being fair to Tarantino and Will Smith, I suppose a few changes might have been a win-win situation for both. In Will's mind he could have been the bad-ass Django who called all the shots. But I have to believe that Tarantino knew (in this non-post-racial society) that Big Willie couldn't be shooting a million white folks, crackers, rednecks or racists, without a white man's **coughblessingscough**. Okay, I'll say it right, without the white savior calling the shoots. THERE… I said it, Quentin Tarantino pimped the sh*t out of every black person who paid their money to see another Blindside and Machine Gun Preacher.

*LOL*… Nawl, I'm just kidding. I just wanted to throw a bone to the "raised clinched black fist" crowd. But seriously, has the truth really come out? I mean, as Tambay said, is this a Will Smith ego thing or a "brothaman" thing or a pockets with mumps thang? I am prone to believe it's a money thang on the part of both Will and Tarantino. You know, it's said that if you want to find the root of a problem, follow the… money honey.

ShadowJoe

I am again AMAZED at all these comments about a/this movie the majority of the commenters HAVE NOT OR PLAN TO SEE!! LOL….get a life people. I have seen the movie and enjoyed it. Actors ALWAYS, especially A listers, have comments about their fondness or misgivings about scripts regardless of the context. Nothing overly unusual about it!!

Adam Scott Thompson

The film did boffo box office — Tarantino's highest-grossing offering to date. Tarantino won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay (his second) and Christoph Waltz snagged an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (his second). Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson and Kerry Washington all put another feather in their caps. And Will got to shoot "After Earth" with his son while rocking Denzel's haircut from "Courage Under Fire." So it all worked out for the best, is what I'm saying.

Black Sun Tzu

I haven't seen the movie yet. But I think Quentin didn't kill the white villain because he was thinking of a sequel to the film, where the white guy will seek revenge on Django. And then Jamie Foxx will get to play the lead. Just my thinking!

Salim

@Vanessa I also choose not to see the movie and though I heard on many occasions that the script was grotesquely good, this tibet on Tarantino's refusal to change the ending for one with more resolve further supports my gut feeling that this film was just another Tarantino Porn.

Katie

I didn't see the film for personal reasons, so I don't have much to say, only that I knew this would happen. I'm really glad I didn't support the film. Dang man, the black guy didn't even get to kill the bad guy? Good move Will Smith. On another note, this is why I support black web series. At least then we can propel the story forward and be the heros/heroine.

Jamie

HA!
I guess Will just made a fool out of all the rabbit Django supporters.
Love it.

rasheed

I think Will misunderstood the script. Stephen was ultimately Django's chief villain. Candy had been completely tricked by Django's and Schultz's plan. Stephen recognized what was going on and informed Candy. Had it not been for Stephen, Django, Hildy, and Schultz would have strolled out of Candy Land without firing a shot.

CAM Jr

Much ado about N-O-T-H-I-N-G!!!!!

Vanessa

Wow. That's quite a maze of events surrounding casting the so called black lead in the movie. I didn't see it, so I can't really say much concerning the movie itself. Your article really clears some things up. I know whenever Hollywood produces a movie about us, claiming a black man or woman is the lead— carrying the movie, it is never the case. Heck I was thrilled that a black man was actually going to save and rescue a BLACK woman for a change. Most movie scripts– no matter who the lead is, generally center on a team effort to save or preserve a white woman (The historic, game changing:'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner' and 'A Patch of Blue' come immediately to mind) So this was quite a departure.

Nonetheless, not having seen the movie, I understand now my instincts not to see it were correct. Will Smith–good move.

Hassan Fvckry (@DLYDJ)

"I need to kill the bad guy!" Interesting. Good point.

Troy

So Will just confirmed what we already knew. Helluva victory lap, huh, Tambay?

donnadara

Here's hoping that the usual suspects won't attack Will in the media by claiming that he is a "hater".

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