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Leonardo DiCaprio in 'Django Unchained': Are you ready to see him play a bad guy?

June 8, 2011 |  6:23 pm

Leo

It's no surprise that Leonardo DiCaprio would sign on for a role in a Quentin Tarantino movie. The filmmaker is one of the few big-name directors with whom the 36-year old actor hasn't already worked -- he's previously collaborated, of course, with Martin Scorsese, Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg and Christopher Nolan, and he will next partner up with Aussie director Baz Luhrmann in "The Great Gatsby."

What is surprising is that DiCaprio is in talks for a supporting role in Tarantino's slavery revenge tale, "Django Unchained," a really, really despicable role. The part, according to press reports, is for Calvin Candie, the plantation owner and slave proprietor who gets his jollies out of watching slaves fight to the death and has no problem beating his own when they don't follow orders.

DiCaprio can clearly do wonders with character -- his Howard Hughes in "The Aviator" and Billy Costigan in "The Departed" were plenty tormented and conflicted -- but he's before never portrayed a truly evil man. Although the role of Candie in "Django Unchained" would be a complete about-face for DiCaprio, do audiences really want to see the heartthrob tackle a nasty, heartless character?

Time will tell. "Django Unchained" is supposed to begin filming at the end of the year. No word still on who will play the hero of the film, though Will Smith is supposedly considering the part. It would be a remarkable feat if Tarantino could land both actors to go mano-a-mano in a project that's destined to generate as least as much controversy as the director's most recent movie, "Inglourious Basterds."

--Nicole Sperling

Photo: Leonardo DiCaprio in"The 11th Hour." Credit: Chuck Castleberry / Eleventeen Productions

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