Will Smith revealed why he passed on the lead role in Quentin Tarantino’s 2012 drama Django Unchained, citing creative differences as his reason for walking away from the part.
Smith joined Michael Caine, 82; Benicio Del Toro, 48; Joel Edgerton, 41; Samuel L. Jackson, 66; and Mark Ruffalo, 47 for The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Actor Roundtable and during the interesting conversation, the topic of Smith’s departure from Tarantino’s film (which went on to star Jamie Foxx) came up.
“It was about the creative direction of the story,” Smith said during the 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 [Tarantino] and I couldn’t see [eye to eye]. I wanted to make the greatest love story that African-Americans had ever seen —”
The pair tried to work their creative issues out, but couldn’t find any middle ground that they both could agree on. Smith added, “We talked, we met, we sat for hours and hours about it. 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. I don’t believe in violence as the reaction to violence. So when I’m looking at that, it’s like: “No, no, no. It has to be for love.” We can’t look at what happens in Paris [the terrorist attacks] and want to f— somebody up for that. Violence begets violence. So I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer. Love had to be the answer.”