Tarantino first offered the part played by Jamie Foxx to Smith, but the actor felt the role played by Christoph Waltz was the real lead.
Smith was rumoured to be in the running for Tarantino's Oscar-winning paean to the spaghetti western prior to production. Foxx ultimately took the role of Django and there were hints in the press that Smith was uncomfortable with the film's combination of anti-slavery polemic and blood-soaked violence. Now Smith has revealed he simply felt the part of dentist-turned-bounty hunter Dr King Schultz was the real lead.
"Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead," Smith told Entertainment Weekly, while promoting his new science-fiction film After Earth. "The other character was the lead! I was like, 'No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'"
Smith added that he nevertheless much enjoyed the final version of the film, for which Waltz ironically won the Oscar for best supporting actor. "I thought it was brilliant," he said. "Just not for me."
Django Unchained turned out to be Tarantino's biggest ever box office hit, grossing a hugely impressive $413-million worldwide. A sizeable critical smash, it was nominated for five Oscars and the film-maker also took home the prize for best original screenplay last month. – Guardian News and Media 2013