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Audition videos are unfair. We normally see them long after we’ve known that the actor showcased in them didn’t receive the part. So we’re left to watch the clip and judge what the performer did wrong – or improperly – so as not to get the role they so desperately wanted.
We all know, for example, that Jamie Foxx played escaped-slave Django in Quentin Tarantino’s Oscar-winning revisionist Western Django Unchained. But the part might have gone to Tyrese Gibson, of Fast & Furious fame. The Web site World Star Hip Hop has the exclusive video of an "intense" audition reel Tyrese recorded. They don’t mention where it cam from, but the clip gives us a six-minute monologue of Gibson in period garb in a room that establishes the locale of Tarantino’s movie.
At the very least, Gibson might have brought more anger to the part than Foxx managed. Django was a pissed off bounty hunter, but Foxx – probably with Tarantino’s coaching – made the role more accessible with hints of compassion and a level of cool.
What would Tyrese Gibson been able to do with Tarantino’s coaching? We can only speculate. That’s part of the problem – and the fun – of these dream-casting sessions. "What if?" we ask ourselves, knowing full well that it can never happen. But when audition reels like this surface, we get to play Devil’s Advocate and ask if you think Gibson would have been better than Foxx, or if they should have gone with Will Smith, as Tarantino originally proposed (according to legend).
Gibson, meanwhile, has his own franchise to fall back on. He’ll be part of the next Furious movie when it rolls into theaters next year. What do you think about his Django audition? Too intense? Or just right?