It was announced yesterday that Will Smith turned down the title role in Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning spaghetti western Django Unchained. The role eventually went to Jamie Foxx, and he received some of the best reviews of his career. Smith made a statement saying: : "Django wasn't the lead, so I was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!" Smith even tried to convince Tarantino to change the script so he could SPOILER kill Leonardo DiCaprio's slaveowner character.
Even though he turned it down, Smith is a big fan of the film. "I thought it was brilliant. Just not for me," he said.
Does that strike anyone as kind of whiny? Smith hasn't been anything but front and center since, what? The Legend of Bagger Vance in 2000? Six Degrees of Separation in 1993? He would have unspoken shared lead status with Christoph Waltz (even though he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar), and maybe Smith doesn't like to share.
If you ask me, Smith should have done Django Unchained if only to try something different. It would have been great to see him step out of his "Welcome to Earth!" action hero comfort zone and try something that actually garnered some serious conversation. If Smith knocked it out of the park, he could have landed himself a Best Actor nomination. Or it could have been a trainwreck. Who knows!