There’s no doubt that scoring the lead role in Quentin Tarantino‘s 2012 film “Django Unchained” was a huge accomplishment for Jamie Foxx. But before it was officially his, he faced some pretty stiff competition.

During a recently released interview at the Toronto Film Festival, Foxx, with Michael B. Jordan next to him, said Idris Elba was also up for the “Django Unchained” lead and it made him nervous.

Jamie Foxx (L) said he tried to talk Idris Elba R) out of taking the lead role in the film “Django Unchained.” (Photo: Kevin Mazur / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images / David M. Benett / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images)

So he tried to talk the British actor out of taking it, so he could clear the path for himself. Foxx also said Will Smith was first up for the role, but he turned it down.

“I heard that Will Smith was going to play [Django],” Foxx explained. “And I was like, ‘Will, if you [do it] you won’t be able to walk the planet Earth.’ He decided not to.”

Foxx then learned Elba was tapped, and he told him once Tarantino saw him on a horse for the audition, no one else would stand a chance. In the film, the Django character spent much of his time riding a horse.

“Then I heard it was Idris Elba, and I ran into him,” Foxx explained. “And I said, ‘I don’t give a f–k, but your beautiful black a-s riding up on a horse, there’s going to be some problems for everybody.'”

Elba eventually turned the role down, and the fact that Foxx had his own horse is what landed him the part. Then after Foxx told the story, he talked about how much he enjoyed working on the 2012 film because of the cast.

“It was amazing to work with Christoph [Waltz], to work with Samuel Jackson, Leonardo DiCaprio, it was like going to work on an all-star team,” he explained. “But what was great about Django, Quentin Tarantino wanted that black man to win. And that’s the thing that you don’t see in Hollywood … That character to this day is legendary.”

You can watch Foxx talk about Elba below at the 31:45 mark.

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