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During Tarantino's Jimmy Kimmel Live appearance Thursday, the 59-year-old filmmaker smiled when Jimmy Kimmel asked whether there was truth to West's recent assertion that he pitched the original idea for the movie as a music video for his 2005 single "Gold Digger."
"There's not truth to the idea that Kanye West came up with the idea of Django and then he told that to me, and I go, 'Hey, wow, that's a really great idea. Let me take Kanye's idea and make Django Unchained out of it,' " Tarantino told Kimmel, 54. "That didn't happen."
Tarantino continued to explain that he had the idea for the 2012 film "for a while before I ever met Kanye."
"[West] wanted to do a giant movie version of The College Dropout [his 2004 debut album] the way he did the album," the Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood director said. "So he wanted to get big directors to do different tracks from the album and then release it as this giant movie... not videos, nothing as crass as videos, movies, they were going to be movies based on each of the different tracks."
Tarantino noted that he and West used the opportunity as an "excuse to meet each other" for the first time and said the rapper "did have an idea for a video."
"I do think it was for the 'Gold Digger' video, that he would be a slave," he told Kimmel. "And the whole thing was this slave narrative where he's a slave and he's singing 'Gold Digger.' And it was very funny. It was a really, really funny idea."
He added that at the time, West's idea was "meant to be ironic" after Kimmel noted that the idea appeared to be for "a funny slave movie."
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"And it's like a huge musical. I mean, like no expenses spared with him in this slave rag outfit, doing everything," Tarantino told Kimmel. "And then that was also part of the part of the pushback on it. But I wish he had done it. It sounded really cool. Anyway, that's what he's referring to."
Scott Dudelson/FilmMagic Kanye West
West's claim that Tarantino and Foxx, who collaborated with West on "Gold Digger" and later starred in Django Unchained, "got the idea from me" stems from an interview with Piers Morgan last Friday, in which the English TV personality asked West if he believes there are limits to free speech.
"Tarantino can write a movie about slavery, where actually — him and Jamie — they got the idea from me, because the idea for 'Django' I pitched to Jamie Foxx and Quentin Tarantino as the video for 'Gold Digger,' " West said during the Piers Morgan Uncensored appearance. "And then Tarantino turned it into a film."
West, 45, has been widely criticized by a slew of celebrities — including Lizzo, John Legend, Jamie Lee Curtis and more — and lost multiple brand deals in recent weeks for repeated violent antisemitic remarks.