In the lead up to the release of “Django Unchained,” director Quentin Tarantino revealed that he considered quite a few names before settling on Jamie Foxx. Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, M[ichael] K. Williams, and Tyrese. were among those mentions, but the biggest one of all is Will Smith. In fact, the former Fresh Prince was one of the first names linked to the movie, but things didn’t work out.
“I came really close, it was one of the most amazing screenplays I had ever seen… I just couldn’t sit with him and get through the issues, so I didn’t want to hold him up,” Smith said in June 2012, going on to share on of his initial concerns in March 2013: “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character [Christoph Waltz‘s Oscar-winning King Schultze] was the lead! I was like ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!”
However, in a new roundtable talk with THR, Smith reveals another reason he didn’t gel with the material — it needed more romance. “We talked, we met, we sat for hours and hours about it,” he said about his conversations with Tarantino. “I wanted to make that movie so badly, but I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story. I don’t believe in violence as the reaction to violence. So when I’m looking at that, it’s like: ‘No, no, no. It has to be for love.’ We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to f— somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. So I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.”
What Smith is proposing is more or less an entirely different movie, so it’s easy to why he and Tarantino couldn’t get on the same page.
We’ll see if they find something else to work on down the line, but I would imagine that even if Smith got the script for “The Hateful Eight,” he probably realized there wasn’t a love story in there based on the title alone.