Why Did Will Smith Turn Down Django Unchained?

Will Smith attends the "Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted" New York Premier at Ziegfeld Theatre on June 7, 2012 in New York City. Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Why did Will Smith pass on the lead in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained after a monthlong flirtation with the project? "I came really close," Smith tells Empire ... but ultimately, his giant trailer was parked squarely on another production. "I was in the middle of Men in Black 3 and [Tarantino] was ready to go, and I just couldn't sit with him and get through the issues, so I didn't want to hold him up." Still, Smith predicts big returns for the movie, which eventually cast Jamie Foxx: "That thing's going to be ridiculous. It is a genius screenplay."