It’s not true to say Quentin Tarantino‘s Spaghetti Southern Django Unchained will be a Django film in name only – consider also the attitude, theme and some elements of style – but the lead character this time will certainly be pretty distinct from Franco Nero’s all-time classic coffin-dragger.
Tarantino’s Django is a slave, freed in the opening scenes and looking for revenge. It’s a great role, and I’d love to see it go to a great actor.
And maybe it will. There’s at least a great movie star in the frame for the part right now.
Big Casting Announcement: Inside sources tell me there’s a very strong chance that Will Smith will play Django in Tarantino’s new film!
I was told Will Smith / Django news on Tues & asked to withhold until my source was comfortable. Variety @ THR have stories on it today.
So, it’s a developing story, but as of now, it looks likely that Will Smith will take the title role in this fascinating project.
I don’t think Tarantino was thinking of Smith when he wrote the part, as the physical descriptions don’t quite match, but if he’s happy with Smith, then I am too.*
The second lead is destined to be played by Christoph Waltz. I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that every last one of Dr. King Schultz’s lines was written with Waltz in mind. I’m just as sure he’ll ace it too.
UPDATE: The Hollywood Reporter have followed up with their “Exclusive”. They say:
Will Smith has emerged as the frontrunner to star in Quentin Tarantino’s next film, a spaghetti Western about a slave in the Old South who teams with a German bounty hunter to search for his wife.
[Samuel] Jackson would play the house slave to the bad guy, Monsieur Calvin Candie. The slave is an expert manipulator and will face off with Django.
Candie’s slave Stephen is the stand-out supporting role and Jackson would be a great, if unsurprising, choice to fill the role.
SECOND UPDATE: And now Variety have chipped in. Their most interesting content is on who isn’t going to be in the film:
Tarantino is said to have reached out to Pitt for one of the numerous juicy supporting roles in Django, but the actor has decided not to pursue the project at this time. Tarantino has also been looking to work with Leonardo DiCaprio…
Tarantino was courting DiCaprio for the villainous role of Hans Landa in Basterds,which ultimately went to Waltz. Likewise, Tarantino is believed to have written the role of Dr. Schultz for DiCaprio, but when he passed, it was modified for Waltz.**
According to the same report, Will Smith is likely to forego his typical megabucks salary to take the role. Good on him.
*At least until I see the film. I’m not trying to say I have blind faith in him
**To the point of it being a skintight fit.