The Real Reason Will Smith Turned Down Django

In the same GQ interview, published in September, Will Smith explained why “Django Unchained” wasn’t the right fit. “I’ve always avoided making films about slavery,” he explained. “In the early part of my career … I didn’t want to show Black people in that light.” Instead, Will wanted his characters to highlight Black excellence. 

“I wanted to be a superhero,” he continued. “So I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise.” He added that the first time he even considered starring in slavery movie was for “Django,” but he still felt like it wasn’t right. “I didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.” This isn’t the first time Will has talked about turning down Quentin Tarantino’s slavery movie, though.

“It was about the creative direction of the story,” he said at The Hollywood Reporter‘s 2015 “Actor Roundtable.” He continued, “To me, it’s as perfect a story as you could ever want: a guy that learns how to kill to retrieve his wife that has been taken as a slave. That idea is perfect. And it was just that Quentin and I couldn’t see [eye to eye].” For the actor, this wasn’t an easy decision to make. “I wanted to make that movie so badly,” he said. “But I felt the only way was, it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story.”


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