Tarantino, 49, eventually cast Jamie Foxx as Django in the upcoming movie, but he says Smith was the initial frontrunner for the role and the two movie buffs met up to discuss the film shortly after he had written it, the Collider reported quoting Playboy magazine.
"We spent quite a few hours together over a weekend when he was in New York doing 'Men in Black 3'. We went over the script and talked it out. I had a good time - he's a smart, cool guy," Tarantino said.
The "Inglourious Basterds" director said the film's controversial subject matter - slavery - was not what turned Smith off, contrary to reports.
"He didn't walk away from it because he was scared of the material.
It just wasn't 100 per cent right, and we didn't have time to try to make it that way.
"We left with me saying, 'Look, I'm going to see other people.' He said, 'Let me just see how I feel, and if you don't find anybody, let's talk again.' And then I found my guy," he said.
Tarantino also said that he met with Tyrese Gibson, Terrence Howard, Idris Elba, Chris Tucker and Michael K Williams, but he cast Foxx because "he was the cowboy".
"Jamie understood the material... He's from Texas. We sat there talking, and I realised, 'Wow, if this were the 1960s and I was casting a Django western TV show...' and they had black guys as stars of those in the 1960s, I could see Jamie on one of those. And that's what I was looking for, a Clint Eastwood," he said.