Will Smith as Quentin Tarantino’s runaway slave turned bounty hunter Django? Say ‘aww hell naww!’ all you like, but it’s in the cards. Tarantino wants the star as the lead, and Deadline says that Sony has nailed international distro on Django Unchained because it greases the way for Smith to star. Universal, who did well with Inglorious Basterds, was in the running but couldn’t offer the Fresh Prince.
This is so much not a Will Smith movie. For one thing, Smith rewrites every film he’s in (or has his guys do the rewrites for him. The stories I’ve heard about clueless, extensive notes delivered from Smith’s writers are hilarious), but this is Tarantino and nobody rewrites him. For another thing, this is an R-rated, racially explicit film. It’s not middle of the road crap that Will Smith loves to do.
But it’s exactly what Will Smith NEEDS. Yeah, he’s the biggest movie star in the world, but he’s got the albatross of Men In Black III around his neck (the film is apparently an unparalleled disaster), and he’s hitting a spot in his career where people are starting to get tired of him. He needs a jolt of energy, he needs to let us see him in a new light. Smith is too smart not to know that he has peaked; a Tarantin0-led repositioning would make a lot of sense for him.
It’ll be interesting how this all comes together.