Slavery, racism, Mandingo negro warriors that fight each other to the death… did Samuel L. Jackson have any reservations when he read the script to Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained"? "Nope," he said matter of factly in our recent interview with the actor. "I read it straight through, laughed and thought, 'This is going to be fun.' "
Then Jackson picked up the phone, called Tarantino and said, "Well, this Django character was written 15 years too late for me, so you do want me to play the most hated negro in cinematic history, right?" And just like that, Jackson joined Tarantino for their 5th collaboration together (counting the "Kill Bill 2" cameo and the disembodied narrator voice in "Inglorious Basterds")."It was like, 'Ok, I'm down with that.' Let's see what happens."
In case you're living under a rock, "Django Unchained" stars Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christoph Waltz and Jackson in a story that centers on a slave-turned-bounty hunter (Foxx), who sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner with the help of his mentor (Waltz). DiCaprio plays the racist plantation owner Calvin Candie (one of his most delicious turns ever) and Jackson plays his faithful house slave Stephen. While it had been 15 years since their last proper and full-blown collaboration with "Jackie Brown," Jackson said getting back into the Tarantino river was like putting on an old glove. "It was cool," he laughed casually. "The cast gets together, you try and enlarge or dial back on the page. Quentin's laughing, falling on the floor having a good time. So we know we're doing the right things with his words when that's happening."
We've noted several times that Tarantino has a longer cut of "Django Unchained" and he's recently talked about releasing that one day. But what does Jackson miss of the material that was left out? Everything. "A lot of stuff I wish was still in the movie," he said. "That's who we are, we're actors. Every scene I shot I still want in the movie, but they're not!" Fans should note, Jackson said his character Stephen "would be a lot more despicable if some of these scenes were still in the movie" and even agreed with Jamie Foxx who recently told us about his favorite deleted scene in the movie. He then laughed and quipped, "We'll just have to wait for the five hour director's cut. Blu-Ray special edition."
As for the upcoming Marvel Universe films where Jackson plays agent Nick Fury, the actor said it's unclear whether he'll appear in the "S.H.I.E.L.D." TV show. "I don't know. They haven't talked to me about it," he said, "But when I think about the TV show I think Nick Fury should at least be like Charlie in 'Charlie's Angels.' You should hear his voice, they should talk to him."
We joked that he should do a walk on cameo in the background, and Jackson randomly told us an 'Avengers' anecdote that involved "Breaking Bad." Both productions shot in New Mexico ("They shot in the studio right across from us in Albuquerque"). Jackson had hoped to walk into a shot in costume and order some chicken from Pollos Hermanos, but he said none of the producers would allow him. "I just wanted to order a three piece and really freak people out," he chuckled. "Then people would be going, 'Wow, was that him?"
"Django Unchained" opens on December 25th. Nick Fury will be seen next in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" which arrives in theaters April 4, 2014. — additional reporting by Drew Taylor