According to a report at The Hollywood Reporter, Smith has emerged as the front-runner to star in the spaghetti Western about a slave in the Old South who teams with a German bounty hunter to search for the slave's wife and take down an evil plantation owner.
Sources told THR that Tarantino would like Smith to star in the film as Django, but no official offer has been made to the star. The script has been making the rounds of Hollywood last week and has garnered, in THR's words, "wide acclaim."
Jackson and Christoph Waltz also are circling key parts (Reports last week had Christoph Waltz -- an Oscar-winner for 'Basterds' -- confirmed as the bounty hunter; insiders say that Tarantino wrote the part for him). Jackson would play the house slave to the bad guy, plantation owner Monsieur Calvin Candie, and he would face off with Django.
The title of the film pays homage to the Sergio Corbucci 1966 spaghetti Western 'Django' and director Takashi Miike's 2007 'Sukiyaki Western Django,' in which Tarantino had a small role.
The original star of 'Django,' Franco Nero, has said he is attached, along with Keith Carradine and Treat Williams, though that has yet to be confirmed.
'Django Unchained,' which will be distributed domestically by The Weinstein Co., will begin shooting in the fall in the South if everything falls into place.