Will Smith’s almost-casting in the leading role of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained has been part of that film’s lore since its production, with Smith earlier insisting he’d ultimately passed on the role of the slave-turned-bounty-hunter for reasons that sounded vaguely egotistical. Now, on the promotional circuit for his new NFL drama Concussion, the former Fresh Prince has a more detailed explanation for turning down the film.
“It was about the creative direction of the story,” Smith explained a Hollywood Reporter roundtable. “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].”
Smith says he and Tarantino talked for hours, attempting to iron out their creative inclinations, but ultimately couldn’t find a compromise. Tarantino eventually cast Jamie Foxx. “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,” Smith said. “We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to fuck somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.”
The violence-averse actor’s other upcoming projects include Suicide Squad and Bad Boys 3 & 4.