ABC/Lou RoccoJamie Foxx is opening up about how he secured his role in Quentin Tarantino‘s critically acclaimed 2012 drama Django Unchained.
According to Indie Wire, during a Toronto Film Festival conversation about Foxx’s upcoming film Just Mercy, co-starring Michael B. Jordan, Foxx revealed that he wanted the part badly, but had to take matters into his own hands to secure it because his management hadn’t gotten him on the shortlist of actors who were being considered.
According to Foxx, he intentionally downplayed the role to Idris Elba when the U.K. actor, who was one of those being considered, asked him his thoughts on the film.
“Your beautiful black a** riding up on a horse, there’s going to be some problems for everyone,” Foxx recalled telling Elba.
Tarantino himself later explained that Elba didn’t get the role because he wasn’t the right fit. At the time, he told the British tabloid The Sun, “Yeah, Idris is British and this is an American story.”
According to Indie Wire, Tarantino was also considering Chris Tucker, Terrence Howard, Michael K. Williams and Tyrese for the role — but after he met Foxx, it was all over. The director told Playboy in 2013 that Foxx landed the role because of his Texas roots…and because he was an experienced horseman.
“Forget the fact that he has his own horse — and that is actually his horse in the movie,” Tarantino told Playboy. “He’s from Texas; he understands. He understood what it’s like to be thought of as an ‘other.’”
Indie Wire also reports that Will Smith was Tarantino’s very first choice, but Smith turned the role down because he wanted it to be more of a love story than a revenge story.
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