Sacha Baron Cohen Explains Why He Dropped Out Of Django Unchained
Those who followed Django Unchained all the way through production know that there were a few cases of actors signing on to the project and then leaving for various reasons. Both Kevin Costner and Kurt Russell were going to play the part of Ace Woody, a brutal slave-trainer, but the character was eventually combined with Billy Crash (who was played by Walton Goggins) and so the role ended up being axed. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was involved for a short time, but eventually had to leave due to scheduling conflicts with his directorial debut, Don Juan's Addiction (which will premiere at Sundance later this month).
And then there's Sacha Baron Cohen. The British star's involvement was first announced all the way back in November of 2011 as he was set to play a minor character named Scotty Harmony, a young, overweight gambler who makes a bet for Broomhilda (Kerry Washington) in a poker game with Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Six months later Cohen had to bow out, however, and at the time it was said it was because of scheduling conflicts with promotion for The Dictator. But apparently the real choice that the actor had to make was between taking a small role in a Tarantino film or a medium-sized role in a silver screen adaptation of one of the most popular musicals of all time.
Deadline recently chatted with Cohen and during their discussion the subject of Django Unchained came up, and while promoting The Dictator was certainly one factor in his forced departure, the bigger choice was between the western and Les Miserables. "I was editing The Dictator and we were very close to release and Paramount wouldn’t push the date," Cohen said. "And then I knew I’d have to jump straight from there into Les Mis and it basically became a choice of either pulling out of Les Mis or pulling out of Django. I’m sure Django is an incredible movie, but it was essentially one scene." What's more, that scene didn't actually make the final cut of the movie, though it's entirely possible that the reason it was left out was because Cohen couldn't participate.
Do you think that he made the right choice? If it were you, would you choose Django Unchained or Les Miserables?
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