“I’ve always avoided making films about slavery.”

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Will Smith knew very early in his career that he would not star in any movies about slavery.

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“I’ve always avoided making films about slavery,” Smith said in a new interview with GQ. “In the early part of my career … I didn’t want to show Black people in that light.”

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“I wanted to be a superhero,” he continued. “So, I wanted to depict Black excellence alongside my white counterparts. I wanted to play roles that you would give to Tom Cruise.”

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“And the first time I considered it was Django [Unchained], but I didn’t want to make a slavery film about vengeance.”

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Because of his beliefs, Smith passed on playing the lead in the 2012 Quentin Tarantino film. The role later went to Jamie Foxx.

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Although he knew slave films weren’t for him, Smith went on to star in his upcoming movie, Emancipation, which is about a runaway slave named Peter.

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You can read his full interview with GQ here.

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