Will Smith turned down the title role in Oscar-winning epic Django Unchained because director Quentin Tarantino didn't offer him "the lead".

The Men in Black superstar was initially rumoured to be in talks to play slave Django when production on the project got underway in 2011, but the role eventually went to Jamie Foxx.

Smith has now confirmed he was offered the part, but rejected it over concerns Christoph Waltz's bounty hunter character was the better role.

He tells Entertaiment Weekly, "Django wasn't the lead, so it was like, I need to be the lead. The other character was the lead!... I was like, 'No, Quentin, please, I need to kill the bad guy!'"

Waltz went on to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role as Dr. King Schultz, but Smith insists he is not bitter about missing out on a part in the film.

He adds, "I thought (the movie) was brilliant. Just not for me."