No actor is officially confirmed for Django Unchained, the latest from Quentin Tarantino, but the cast is starting to take shape. According to Deadline, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson are expected to sign on. Leonardo DiCaprio is about to enter negotiations to play the villain, . That doesn’t give us the titular character, though. Will Smith was the first major contender for the role of Django, “a slave who is liberated and taught the tricks of the trade by a German dentist-turned-bounty hunter (Waltz).” Negotiations are stuck in first gear, and we’re probably kidding ourselves to expect the super image-conscious Smith to sign on for such a gleefully controversial role.
Deadline hears Smith likely won’t sign on; possible replacements include Idris Elba, Chris Tucker, and Jamie Foxx. That’s an eclectic list, somewhere between intriguing and Name Three Black Actors Who Aren’t Will Smith That Headlined Box Office Hits in the Past Decade. More after the jump:
The Elba rumor struck me as silly when it first surfaced. I mean, I’d cast him in a heartbeat. But the way we collectively insisted on connecting the dots… I suppose the guesswork was spot on, though — at least that he’s talking to the filmmakers.
Jackie Brown is, notably, the last film Tucker acted in that doesn’t belong to the Rush Hour franchise. He would certainly do something interesting with the role, but I am frightened by the possibilities.
Foxx is a fine choice. But of the candidates rumored so far, we all want Elba, right?
In terms of white people, I really want to see DiCaprio take this on. DiCaprio was an early candidate for Hans Landa for Inglourious Basterds before the role went to Waltz. Calvin Candie, the part DiCaprio has his eye on, is said to be Landa’s equal:
[Candie is] a charming but ruthless proprietor of Candyland, a despicable club in Mississippi where female slaves are exploited as sex objects and males are pitted against each other in “mandingo” style death matches. Candie is a slave’s worst nightmare and the freed slave Django must cross him in order to reclaim his wife.
For how much anger drives his performance, how has DiCaprio yet to play a straight-up villain?
I wrote more than I meant to for this article, and close feeling like I ought to write more. This project is sneakily fascinating, even prior to any official news. Click here for all our Django coverage.