Here’s the last segment of my interview with Samuel L. Jackson, which was done over the weekend, during Django Unchained press day here in NYC.
During my one-on-one session with him, in addition to a few questions about his involvement in Django, I, of course, asked him several non-Django-related questions, which, at times, led to revelations of items that I wasn’t previously aware of; like, in part 1 of the interview, he revealed that his planned adaptation of Walter Mosley’s The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey had attracted Rodrigo Garcia to direct, and would be made in the next 12 to 24 months.
Here are a few more topics we briefly covered during my short 15-minute session with him – some of them were my own questions; while others were questions that you all submitted to me to ask him:
– On all the pre-release chatter about the violence in Django Unchained, but violence that I didn’t think was unusual or all that violent, as I explained in my review HERE. Samuel L. Jackson replied:
I think people should know that they’re coming to watch a film that has some realistic depictions of western violence, as well as southern violence that took place during slavery, which means it’s probably going to be, well, violent. But it’s movie violence. Some of it might make you cringe and turn your head away, but it’s no more violent than any past violent films that have been made.
– On the makeup his character wears, which, as I told him, and also as I noted in my review, I didn’t really care for. His reply:
I chose to put the makeup on; it wasn’t anything that was forced on me. I was trying to find a character. I experimented with a lot of different looks, until we came up with the one that we actually have in the film. But I wanted him to be distinctly older than I was, and I wanted him to end up with a lot of different characteristics that had nothing to do with me. And I wanted him to be completely different from what most people’s idea of what a “house nigger” would be. I didn’t want to be the light-skinned “house nigger” answering the door.
– On his approach in tackling the role:
I tried to make him as honest as I honestly could. Steven is a wily character. A lot of the time he’s playing a role. Sometimes he wants people to think he’s a buffoon and that you could say anything around him and he won’t understand or get it, as opposed to being the smart guy who actually really runs that plantation.
– On any plans to retire, like Quentin Tarantino has been saying he would after a certain number of films:
I have no plans to retire. That’s what directors do. Actors don’t retire. We keep working.
– On his attraction to Quentin Tarantino’s films, since he’s acted in a few of them:
I like the fact that he puts words in my character’s mouths. The average film is only about 1/4 dialogue. QT’s films are about 2/3 dialogue. I like what he says. I like how his characters talk about where they are, who they are, and how they feel. And they’re always interesting and challenging characters.
– On any plans to direct:
No interest really. People always want me to. People ask me to all the time. I guess I could. I’ve seen it done right, wrong and otherwise. So maybe I’ll eventually do it. Who knows?
– On playing a more gentle character in Mother And Child, which was unlike roles he usually takes:
It was actually kinda easy. It’s not often that I get to sleep with white women on screen. Kind of easy for brothas to do that, isn’t it. We’ve been doing it for a long time now. And they always say we do it anyway, so, why not just do it. I mean, how hard could it be, right? [Laughter].
– On why he works so much:
When I was a kid, people always asked, why you work so much… When I was a kid, all the grown people in my house got up and went to work every day. And I kinda thought that’s what grown people did. And I actually have one of those jobs where it’s actually pretty cool to get up and go to. They pay me a reasonable amount of money to do it, and I’m usually somewhere that’s nice. So why wouldn’t I go do that, and do that as often as I can.
– On his most challenging roles:
The boxer in Resurrecting The Champ, the homeless man in Caveman’s Valentine, the violin teach in Red Violin, the school teacher in 187… there’s a few.
– On whether he’ll produce more films, as he did with Eve’s Bayou:
Well I produced Caveman’s Valentine and Ressurecting The Champ since Eve’s Bayou. And I’m about to produce a film for HBO of a novel that I bought the rights to – The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey. And Rodrigo Garcia is going to direct it. It’s something we’ll see in the next year or so.
– On how important winning an Oscar is to him, if at all:
Not at this point. I think my career kind of speaks for itself and I don’t think an Oscar is going to validate me as an actor.
– On other upcoming projects:
Well, when I finish doing the press junket for this, I’m going into Robocop. And I shot a small part in Oldboy for Spike. I’m about to go to South Africa to do a Japanese film called Kite. And then I’ll be going into Captain America 2… and maybe Tarzan. I talked to them; we’ll see if they want me. And also, I just did a film with Dominic Cooper in Winnipeg.
– On the possibility of a Nick Fury movie:
I haven’t heard about it. Sure I’m interested, but I haven’t heard about it.
– On his feelings on the new DC52 comics, since he’s a comic book fan:
I don’t have a comment on the DC52 comics, but I’m currently reading Scout, and Lock & Key, and I’m finishing off 100 Bullets.
– On what his dream roles is:
There’s no such thing in the movies; you just kind of show up. It’s not like theater where you say stuff like, “I can’t wait to be Macbeth;” it’s not that kind of business.
– On navigating the Hollywood scene:
Hollywood is no more hostile than any other environment. Why do people think that, I don’t know. The rest of the world is far more hostile than Hollywood. The world is where all the ass is, where people trie to roll up on you in strange and threatening ways ways. Take a picture of you in compromising situations, and try to sue you for them. The world is a lot more dangerous than Hollywood. Plus I’m old. I don’t go out. I don’t do the things that young people do. I don’t do the club scene. And I’m sober.
– And finally, on his daughter being in the business:
My wife’s an actress. My daughter is an independent producer. She did work for ESPN for a while, producing special events like the ESPYs… stuff like that. But now she’s an independent producer. I actually shot a comedy thing with Anne Hathaway last week that my daughter produced, that’s probably going to go online this week.
And as for the “comedy thing” he shot with Anne Hathaway, that his daugher produced, it’s embedded below: