Will Smith wasn’t a fan of director Quentin Tarantino’s artistic choice of violence.
A resurfaced interview has revealed that Smith, 53, turned down the role of Django Freeman in the “Pulp Fiction” filmmaker’s 2012 movie “Django Unchained.”
A 2016 roundtable interview with the Hollywood Reporter has re-emerged following the controversy surrounding Smith and his disorderly conduct at the Oscars on March 27. The “King Richard” star went onstage and slapped and cursed at presenter Chris Rock during the live telecast ceremony after the comic made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and her bald head.
The actor and singer — who was interviewed alongside screen legends Mark Ruffalo, Benicio del Toro, Joel Edgerton, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Cain — noted that while he was interested in the script, he said no to playing Django because he “couldn’ t connect to violence being the answer” in the story.
The movie followed Django — apart ultimately filled by Jamie Foxx — and bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz) as they take on a journey to save the former’s wife, Broomhilda von Shaft (Kerry Washington).
“I had said yes to Django, but it was more about the creative direction of the story,” Smith said of initially giving it a thumbs-up. “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.”
But Smith — now infamous for yelling “Keep my wife’s name out of your f–king mouth!” at Rock after slapping him — apparently had deep reservations about the violence, adding that he met and spoke with Tarantino about his internal dilemma.
“I wanted to make that movie so badly, but with that story, I felt the only way I could make that movie is it had to be a love story, not a vengeance story,” the father of three recalled.
“When I choose movies, I’m choosing the arc. I read the first 35 pages and I read the ending. And to me, that idea is perfect,” he continued. “And it was just that Quentin and I couldn’t see [eye to eye]. I wanted to make the greatest love story that African Americans had ever seen from American cinema.”
Interestingly, the “Bad Boys” alum expounded further about how “love” should play into portraying violence.
“I don’t believe in violence as the reaction to violence. So when I’m looking at this, it’s like, ‘No, no, no. It has to be for love. That’s the only way he can retrieve his love is to do this. He can’t want to be this. No, no, no.’
“Violence begets violence. For me, I just couldn’t connect to violence being the answer,” he continued. “Love had to be the answer.”
After the slap, Smith won the Oscar for Best Actor at the telecast awards last month, and the film academy is reportedly “split” on whether it should revoke his golden statuette.
The organization had moved up its board meeting to Friday, April 8, instead of April 18 to discuss Smith’s actions and their ramifications.