Whenever Quentin Tarantino decides to actually move forward with a project, it’s big news in Hollywood. So last week’s report that the Pulp Fiction auteur is pressing ahead with a new throwback to the spaghetti western genre titled Django Unchained naturally sent shivers down the spines of fans who have been waiting to hear what Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds follow-up would be.
Now it looks like Tarantino has settled on the man he wants to play the titular ex-slave-on-a-mission in the film – and it’s none other than Will Smith – who once took his suave charm to the Western genre in the lackluster Wild Wild West.
Django Unchained has been described as “100 percent pure popcorn and revenge flick,” and Heat Visionsays that Tarantino’s script has been enthusiastically received by studio heads so far. An official offer has yet to go out to Smith, who remains one of the biggest box office draws around – even though he hasn’t actually starred in a film since 2008. Needless to say, The Weinstein Company would more than welcome Smith into the mix of Tarantino’s new cinematic gig.
Christoph Waltz appears all but set to reunite with Tarantino in Django Unchained by playing a role written specifically for him – that of a bad-ass German bounty hunter who aids the freed-slave Django on his mission to rescue his wife from an evil plantation owner named Monsieur Calvin Candie.
Meanwhile, Samuel L. Jackson is said to be circling the role of Candie’s house slave, who is described as “an expert manipulator” who ends up squaring off against Django.
While I cannot speak for everyone, the prospect of Smith and Jackson facing one another in classic western-style (as envisioned by Tarantino, no less) sounds pretty awesome. Throw Waltz in the mix as a potentially even more bad-ass version of his Inglourious Basterds Nazi character, and we can forget needing a trailer to sell this thing – you’ve got my money based on that alone.
Early descriptions of Django Unchained also peg it as tackling the themes of racism in a fashion that is practically unheard of in a Hollywood production – and that although the project is shaping up to be an ultra-violent and pulpy vehicle in the vein of every film that Tarantino has ever made, the role of Django is said to be “heroic and could be iconic” if Smith decides to take it on.
Smith is one of those actors who (for me) tends to always shine through as a charming and engaging leading man, even when the movie around him is utter drivel – so I’m excited at the prospect of him signing on for Tarantino’s latest. Who knows, maybe the role of an ex-slave with a take-no-prisoners attitude, kickin’ butt and taking names in the Old South, could finally bring Smith some Oscar glory too.
Django Unchained is gearing up to begin production on location in Louisiana this fall.