Will the actor take the controversial role?
Quentin Tarantino just finished his newest screenplay, a spaghetti Western called Django Unchained. And, according to the Hollywood Reporter he wants Will Smith to play one of the lead roles, as a freed slave, Django, searching for his wife, who's still enslaved. Django's helped by a German bounty hunter (rumored to be played by Christoph Waltz) and together they go up against a plantation owner and his Uncle Tom sidekick (maybe Samuel L. Jackson).
Tarantino has never been known for racial sensitivity in his movies. Handling slavery, black love through physical and legal boundaries and general race relations in the South through a Western lense sounds like an extremely difficult feat for any director to tackle. However, if any actor could bring experience and dignity to the role, it would be Will Smith.
In the past people such as Spike Lee have challenged Tarantino's excessive use of the n-word. In an interview in Variety Lee said:
"I'm not against the word, and I use it, but not excessively. And some people speak that way. But, Quentin is infatuated with that word."
Django Unchained is sure to be a movie where the n-word is used with reckless abandon. Infatuation? Maybe. But is Will Smith up for the job? Shooting is set to begin in the fall, so maybe decisions will be made soon.