Quentin Tarantino considered Will Smith for the lead role in Django Unchained. Obviously he made the right choice by giving the choice part to Jamie Foxx instead.
Tarantino’s brave pick of Jamie must have been difficult to explain to his movie’s investors. Logically, Smith should have been a shoe for the part.
He‘s a two time academy award nominee and has incredible name recognition to boot. The actor has two weaknesses though that actually served him well in films like Hitch or I am legend.
First and most apparent is Smith’s Hollywood movie star looks – the guy I think, is just too beautiful for a gritty role such as Django. His face makes his characters in Hancock or Independence Day believable.
Then there the actor’s over analysis problem, which was not an issue for his Oscar nominated film, The pursuit of happiness. Django was written as a man in tutorship. A student is supposed to be naïve and open to new ideas, Smith over inhabits most of his roles.
Will had passed on the Neo character from the Matrix in 1999. He made the right choice there too. Keanu Reeves’ take on the role was more authentic than Smith would have brought to that part.