Remember 2012’s Django Unchained? You better. It was immensely entertaining, earning over $420 million worldwide. It was also a huge hit with critics and was nominated for five Academy Awards. Most actors would have traded in their right arm to work on the film.
But not Will Smith. Director/writer Quentin Tarantino made it clear that Jamie Foxx wasn’t his original choice. He was talking with several actors before filming, and Will Smith was the front-runner. After the film was released, Tarantino claimed Smith didn’t walk away from the project. The material just wasn’t 100% right for him. He didn’t feel comfortable.
Fast forward a few years later, and Will Smith finally opened up about the role. During The Hollywood Reporter’s annual actor’s roundtable, Smith talked about how he wanted the movie to be a true love story.
“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. We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to f— somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.”
Of course, the problem with this idea is that no one wants to watch Quentin Tarantino make some bizarre version of A Walk to Remember. When you watch a Tarantino film you want to be amazed by the action and violence. You want to leave the theater saying, “Ohhh sh-t! Did you see that?” as opposed to “Aww! That was adorable.”
I love Will Smith, but I’m glad Tarantino didn’t allow him to change his story.