Rumours that DiCaprio will star as a villain in Django Unchained could herald a reinvention as radical as that of John Travolta

This article titled “Will a Tarantino turn unchain a new era for Leonardo DiCaprio?” was written by Ben Child, for guardian.co.uk on Friday 3rd June 2011 11.00 UTC

Love him or loathe him, Quentin Tarantino has always been able to cherry pick his actors, and it looks like his forthcoming Django Unchained project may be his most tantalising so far. Until recently there were suggestions that Will Smith was lined up to play the lead role of Django, an escaped slave who learns to become a contract killer and heads home to his old plantation to free his wife in the film’s 19th-century deep south setting. The latest rumour is that The Wire’s Idris Elba may play the part. Quite what Elba has done to deserve such elevation in a movie career that includes Fatal Attraction rip-off Obsessed and cheap supernatural thriller The Unborn is anyone’s guess, but few who enjoyed his long-running role as upwardly mobile Baltimore gangster Stringer Bell would take issue with seeing him in something more substantial.

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