Smith said no because he didn't think his role would be the film's lead
Will Smith has revealed why he turned down the chance to appear in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained.
Tarantino asked Smith to play the title role in his bloody western film, but the Men In Black star declined and the part eventually went to Jamie Foxx. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Smith explained that he felt the role of bounty hunter Dr King Schultz – played by Christoph Waltz – was more prominent than the one he was offered.
He said: “Django wasn’t the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!” Smith also admitted he asked Tarantino to change the script to make the title role more appealing for him, saying: “I was like, ‘No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'”
Despite Smith’s protestations, Christoph Waltz actually ended up winning an Oscar for best supporting actor for his performance in Django Unchained. However, Smith insisted that he has no regrets passing on the film, saying: “I thought it was brilliant. Just not for me.”
Since its release last December, Django Unchained has gone on to become Tarantino’s most successful film ever at the box office, grossing over $413 million (£271 million) worldwide. It also won a second gong at the Oscars last month (February), for the original screenplay penned by Tarantino himself.