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Leonardo DiCaprio Confirmed For Early ‘Django Unchained’ Talks; Will Smith Unlikely To Sign?

Leonardo DiCaprio Confirmed For Early 'Django Unchained' Talks; Will Smith Unlikely To Sign?

Jamie Foxx & Chris Tucker Also In The Running For The Lead

While Deadline is trumping exclusive, they were (kind of) beat to the story a week ago so let’s rewind a bit. Last week, former Creative Screenwriting magazine Senior Editor Jeff Goldsmith tweeted, “Casting Rumor: Leonardo DiCaprio WILL play villain Calvin Candie in [Quentin] Tarantino‘s “Django Unchained”! QT wanted him for I.B. & now has him!” Well, it looks like it’s just a matter of working out deal points right now.

Mike Fleming reveals that negotiations are happening and DiCaprio signing seems like a good prospect to land the job. If the deal is sealed, DiCaprio will play Calvin Candie, the owner of Candyland, a mixed race club in Greenville, Mississippi, and a dealer in mandingo fighting slaves. Candie takes possession of Broomhilde — Django’s slave wife — through a card game, and so it’s there that Django and the German bounty hunter Schultz (Christoph Waltz) travel. He’s a typically rich Tarantino villain, both eccentric (he’s a Francophile, and insists on being called ‘Monsieur,’ even if he can’t speak French) and complex—he’s a solid gold bastard, to be sure, but he’s also charismatic and not without his depths. The previously cast Samuel L. Jackson will play his right hand man, Stephen. However, with Leonardo DiCaprio looking like a good bet, it appears the Will Smith is looking less likely to take the meaty lead role.

Granted, there is little behind this posit other than Fleming’s gut feeling, but he’s been around the block, and he believes that the extended courtship is a sign that Smith may not be too keen on taking on the racially charged role of the slave Django. So who are possibilities? Well, there’s Idris Elba who recently tweeted (cryptically) about meeting for the film and is now confirmed to be one of the players in the mix.. But apparently Jamie Foxx and Chris Tucker are also possibilities. And don’t be too surprised to see the “Rush Hour” star’s name in there.

As we mentioned in our dream casting piece about the film, Tarantino still hangs with Tucker who had a memorable turn in “Jackie Brown” and they’ve recently been seen partying together. It would be one helluva gear change for Tucker who seems hesitant to do anything but work with Brett Ratner, but it would be an odd, yet inspired choice.

Still plenty of time to decide. “Django Unchained” is tentatively slated for a late summer/early fall production start.

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