Yes, we're back with Will Smith again. Ostensibly, Smith turned down Django Unchained because the script didn't allow him to shoot Leo DiCaprio square in the chest. That honour fell to Christoph Waltz, and I guess it's a decent reason to turn down a film - when there's a racist monster in the room, some people might think it's the badass black gunslinger's responsibility to shoot that fool.
Yet it was also rumoured that Smith turned down the film for another reason, and that reason was image. As I've already made clear, Will Smith bucks the trend in Hollywood insofar as he's one of a rare breed of box-office bank-breakers. Cinema audiences love him, and that's probably due to a number of things: he's clean cut, good-looking, funny, and can handle kick-ass action at a canter. His identity as a Golden Calf in Hollywood had been hard earned, and Django Unchained would've given that status a massive kick in the balls. There's a simple saying in all walks of life that you don't bite the hand that feeds, and I guess it applies to Smith here.
Simply put, his screen image has been carefully cultivated to be as inoffensively badass as possible, so to portray a racially-motivated avenging angel could potentially alienate him from large chunks of his audience. So the role went to Jamie Foxx, and Will Smith cheerfully got on with, erm, Men In Black 3. Still, Smith loved it, if from a carefully maintained distance.r
Which other actors quit major roles? Share any we missed down the comments.
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Durham University graduate and qualified sports journalist. Very good at sitting down and watching things. Can multi-task this with playing computer games. Football Manager addict who has taken Shrewsbury Town to the summit of the Premier League.
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