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Leonardo DiCaprio Off ‘Imitation Game’ as WB Exits; Anthony LaPaglia Not In ‘Django Unchained’

Written by on August 18, 2012 

For the weekend, it’s time we indulge in a little game of opposites: Instead of telling you who was cast in what, you’ll get to hear who left what behind. I believe there’s a saying about “the spice of life” that would apply here.

First up, THR inform us that Leonardo DiCaprio is no longer attached to The Imitation Game — and, therefore, Warner Bros. are also out. The actor’s hesitation in getting attached would be this sudden upheaval’s main instigator, along with the “progress-to-production clause” for which it simply couldn’t live up to.

A big old shame, too, since a few professional screenplay readers called Graham Moore‘s Black List entry “the best script they’ve read in years.” I would’ve loved to see DiCaprio do the project not just because it’d probably be a wise step, but also on account of it following a real-life genius, Alan Turing, who changed human history with the simple power of his own brain. (Which is my way of saying “it’s a great story that deserves the sort of wide exposure a feature film would grant.”) J. Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) is, thankfully, still planning to direct, though who he gets or where he goes is up in the air.

We’re lucky DiCaprio stuck around for Django Unchained, especially since Quentin Tarantino‘s western has seen more casting shifts than any film I can ever recall. People getting replaced, characters being excised, and issues of this nature have been arising from the very start, so it’s only right we should hear of one more after production wrapped.

Anthony LaPaglia, who we thought would play an Australian slavewrangler named Jano — the brother to this character was going to be played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, but… you know — spoke to News (via ThePlaylist), revealing he had to leave for the TV production Underground, in which he’ll play Julian Assange.

We can blame schedules on this one, as he only made the exit “out of respect to (director) Rob Connolly, out of respect to the material, out of respect to the commitment I’d made.” A plenty noble reason, though he also says things on Django‘s end we’re “just out of control, over-budget[,] it was everywhere,” with the recast part still not having gone before cameras — but I think, by now, that’s been patched up.

Maybe Tarantino just put Jonah Hill in the spot? Maybe the characters were simply cut and some kind of fitting substitute was found? Who knows. These sorts of things happen over and over on the guy’s films, and those turn out just fine. I’m not losing any sleep over this.

Django Unchained opens on December 25th.

Were you hoping The Imitation Game would happen with DiCaprio? Does LaPaglia’s exit hurt your hopes for Django?

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