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Quentin Tarantino Talks Retirement, DiCaprio as a Villain and How Will Smith Was Almost 'Django'

Posted by Derrick Deane on November 16, 2012


 

Before you check out this week's Tarantino Movie Guide Trivia infographic, Quentin Tarantino sat down with Playboy magazine to chat about not only his upcoming film Django Unchained, but also touched on the topic of retirement.

Tarantino had stated that he had originally wanted Will Smith for the role of Django. The director revealed that he had spent "quite a few hours" with Smith in New York while the actor was filming Men in Black III. Though Tarantino wouldn't divulge what was said between the two he did say that Smith "didn't walk away from it because he was scared of the material. It just wasn't 100 percent right, and we didn't have time to try to make it that way. We left with me saying, 'Look, I'm going to see other people.' He said, 'Let me just see how I feel, and if you don't find anybody, let's talk again.' And then I found my guy."

That guy is Jamie Foxx.

Asked why he chose Foxx, Tarantino said, "There are a lot of reason I could say, but the gigantic one is that he was the cowboy. I met with six different actors and had extensive meetings with all of them, and I went in-depth on all their work. They all appreciated the material, and I was going to put them through the paces, make them go off against one another and kind of put an obstacle course. And then I met Jamie and realized I didn’t need to do that. Jamie understood the material. But mostly he was the cowboy. Forget the fact that he has his own horse—and that is actually his horse in the movie. He’s from Texas; he understands. We sat there talking, and I realized, Wow, if this were the 1960s and I was casting a Django Western TV show and they had black guys as stars of those in the 1960s, I could see Jamie on one of those. And that’s what I was looking for, a Clint Eastwood."

But of course, every hero needs overcome a villain, and for Django, Tarantino wound up casting Leonardo DiCaprio for the role. DiCaprio had shown interest in Tarantino's previous film, Inglorious Basterds, hoping to land the Hans Landa role that eventually went to Christoph Waltz.

Tarantino says DiCaprio's Calvin Candie character is "the first villain I've ever written that I didn't like. I hated Candie, and I normally like my villains no matter how bad they are. I see their point of view. I could see his point of view, but I hated it so much."

As the conversation wound through Tarantino's current state as a bachelor, his thoughts on one day having kids and his drug use to blow off steam, we eventually arrived at one of the words Tarantino fans fear the most: retirement.

Tarantino has previously stated that he wanted to retire at the age of 60, his reasoning being that " Directors don’t get better as they get older. Usually the worst films in their filmography are those last four at the end. I am all about my filmography, and one bad film f**ks up three good ones. I don’t want that bad out-of-touch comedy in my filmography, the movie that makes people think, 'Oh man, he still thinks it’s 20 years ago.' When directors get out-of-date, it’s not pretty."

When the interviewer shot back examples from Kubrick, Scorsese, Speilberg and most recently Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Tarantino replied, "I just don’t want to be an old filmmaker. I’m on a journey that needs to have an end and not be about me trying to get another job. Even if it’s old and I’m washed up, I’d still want to do it. I want this artistic journey to have a climax. I want to work toward something."

While there's plenty of rumors but no definitive word on what genre/period of history Tarantino will tackle next, fans can at least look forward to Django Unchained, which arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.

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