Director Quentin Tarantino has sold the rights to his new project Django Unchained to Sony Pictures, despite the best efforts of Universal Pictures to acquire the property.

Univeral co-financed Quentin Tarantino's last movie, Inglourious Basterds, and handled international distribution. Despite that picture's worldwide success, grossing $321 million, the director decided to go with Sony since it is the home studio of Will Smith, who the director wants to star in Django Unchained.

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Django Unchained will center on a newly-freed slave, who teams up with a German bounty hunter to find his missing wife. Our report from Friday indicates that Will Smith is being eyed for the slave character, Django, while the bounty hunter role was written with Christoph Waltz in mind to star. Samuel L. Jackson is also circling a role of the house slave to villian Monsieur Calvin Candie.

It is said that Will Smith is still considering the Django role. The Weinstein Company will also co-finance and distribute Django Unchained domestically. Production will likely start later this year, in hopes to release the project in 2012.