On the heels of Adam’s post discussing Will Smith’s non-controversial role choices, seemingly as a strategy to maintain a certain image, comes this revelation courtesy of the latest issue of Empire magazine (via The Playlist)…
There is a feature on Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained in the current issue of Empire, which includes a conversation with Will Smith about his decision not to star in that film.
You’ll recall last year, when news of Tarantino’s slave revenge flick surfaced, and all the speculation on who would star as the title character, with Will Smith being Tarantino’s very first choice for the part. At the time, Tarantino said that he planned to cast “top shelf” for the film; and it certainly didn’t get more “top shelf” than Big Willie.
At the time of that post, Will Smith had received the screenplay, but hadn’t yet signed on to play the part.
Of course, he later decided not to star in the film; and while we weren’t necessasrily surprised by that, we did wonder why he decided against it.
A year later, in the latest issue of Empire magazine, Will 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.”
Of course I’m looking long and hard at the part of his response where he says “I just couldn’t sit with him and get through the issues.“
So I’m reading this as: while he boasts the screenplay he read as “amazing” and “genius” he obviously had enough “issues” with it that a sit down with Tarantino was necessary.
I know he’s a busy man, but I’d think that if he REALLY wanted to do it, he’d have found the time to work things out with Tarantino, MIB3 or not.
There’s also the question of how much Tarantino would have been willing to compromise.
What’s your read on this folks?