Something taken as a given in the film industry is that if Quentin Tarantino wants you for a role in one of his flicks, you're damn sure going to take it, short of an inescapable emergency denying you the chance to work with one of the world's most revered filmmakers. A trend throughout the auteur's career is originally writing an iconic role for a certain actor, and when they can't (or incredulously in some cases, won't) play the role, he casts someone else who, more often than not, manages to make the part completely their own. Still, these prospective casting decisions leave plenty of food for thought to chew over - could those brilliant roles have been even better in the hands of the actors they were originally written for?
8. Will Smith (Django, Django Unchained)
Will Smith was widely lambasted for turning down the titular role in Tarantino's latest (which instead went to Jamie Foxx), all the more because the guy isn't making many movies these days, and if After Earth is any indication, the ones he does choose to make are bloody awful. Why did Smith turn it down? Scheduling conflict? Family emergency? Nope - he turned it down because Django wasn't the lead character, remarking, Django wasnt the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead! Smith apparently pleaded with Tarantino to give Django a meatier role compared to Christoph Waltz's Dr. Schultz, but even the prospect of working with a world-class filmmaker such as Tarantino apparently wasn't enough to lure the man in. Though Smith is among Hollywood's most likable leading men, this unfortunately smacks of egotism run amok.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.