Jamie Foxx passed through the Toronto International Film Festival for the debut of Just Mercy, where he stars alongside multiple other prominent names in the movie industry.
And while talking to the audience, he had some interesting things to reveal about his past work in entertainment, as well as his relationship with various other celebrities.
According to Foxx, the main role in Django Unchained was initially offered to Idris Elba.
Elba and Foxx met at an event shortly before filming, where Foxx convinced his fellow actor that he should not take the role.
He pointed out that Elba’s charismatic appearance could conflict with the film’s tone and cause controversy, although he was likely just making a joke to lighten up the mood.
The Oscar winner and R&B singer explained: “You’re beautiful black a$s riding upon a horse; there’s going to be some problems for everyone.”
In the end, it was Foxx himself who got the iconic role, and it looks like the decision was backed up by director Quentin Tarantino himself.
The director explained that Elba’s British heritage made him unsuitable for what was a purely American story in its heart.
He added that he was displeased with the general trend of casting British actors in roles that are obviously not suitable for them, leading to awkward performances and disappointed audiences.
He said back then: “Yeah, Idris is British, and this is an American story. I think a problem with a lot of movies that deal with this issue is they cast British actors to play the Southerners and it goes a long way to distancing the movie. They put on their gargoyle masks, and they do their accents, and you are not telling an American story anymore.”
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Kerry Washington has this to say about the heavy history Foxx helped bring to life about African American slavery: “This is not a doc. This is a Quentin Tarantino film. But I remember there was this one moment in the script where Jamie’s character was put in an awful crazy medieval metal mask. I said, “That’s some sick thing Quentin thought up. And when I went to the production office to meet about my wardrobe, I saw into the research office. Twenty photos of real masks like that. It made me sad. I realized as much as my degrees and everything I’ve read on slave narratives [should have informed me], I didn’t even know that they wore masks like that, that people did that to us. It took a Tarantino movie for me to know that that’s not some crazy thing out of his imagination. That’s how it went down.”
Judging by the success of the production, in the end, it is clear that everyone involved knew what they were doing, and the right creative minds were on the same page throughout the whole ordeal.
Hopefully, Tarantino and those around him will continue to make sound decisions in their future work.