Samuel L. Jackson ('Kill Bill: Vol. 1')
Samuel L. Jackson usually played bad guys and drug addicts before becomming an action hero, as the character Mitch Henessey, in 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' (1996) and in 'Die Hard: With a Vengeance' (1995). From character player to leading man, his performance in 'Pulp Fiction' (1994) gave him an Oscar nomination for his character Jules Winnfield. He was active in the black student movement and in the seventies he joined the Negro Ensemble Company (together with Morgan Freeman). In the eighties he became well known by three movies made by Spike Lee - 'Do the Right Thing' (1989), 'Mo' Better Blues' (1990) and 'Jungle Fever' (1991). He even received a Silver Berlin Bear for his part in the movie 'Jackie Brown' (1997) as Ordell Robbi.
And after many other commercial movies such as 'The Negotiator,' 'Deep Blue Sea,' 'Rules of Engagement,' 'Unbreakable,' 'Stars Wars: Episodes 1 & 2,' and amongst a bevy of others both 'XXX' and 'SWAT', the widely-proclaimed 'King of Cool' is back with yet another Quentin Tarantino flick, 'Kill Bill: Volume 1'
Sitting down, one-on-one with the man himself, his coolness unbelievable, his smile wide, his presence nearly overwhelming, we both had a tall glass of cold iced water before settling into some questions about the new film.
How do you feel about your wife having a part in this new Tarantino flick?! " I think it's very cool," he smiles, seemingly very honstly. "It's going to be a very wild and exciting film. She has a very good part and it will be fun to watch her be that particular character!"
Why is it that there is always so much time between Tarantino's films and at the same time, so much controversy?! "Yeah, it's almost like Tarantino HAS to wait six years between every movie, because that's about how long it'll take before the talk begins to die down from the last one!" he laughs. "I just think that he does what he does and does it very well. Trust me, he knows what he's doing at all times!"
With all the filming troubles we've recently heard, from your 'inside opinion', was the shoot really that troubled?! "It's been really intense. We were shooting in China a while back, at the studio in Beijing shooting the interiors. Basically they were there [China] for sort of the history of Beijing and all the movies that were shot there. Quentin is doing an unbelievable job directing all these different styles of martial arts, but it's been difficult along the way, sure."
You have played some wonderful characters over the years in your movies, but in your opinion what is your most memorable role, and who was your favorite character? "Generally my favorite character is the one that I'm playing at the moment. There are some I love more than others. If I had to be one guy all the time I would choose Ordell from 'Jackie Brown.'
You were quoted as saying you didn't want to go out like a punk in 'Star Wars: Episode III'. How would you rather go out: By Boba Fett, Stormtroopers or go head to head with Darth Vader?! "I'd have to go with the Darth Vader death. I've given Anakin enough grief. I could see him wanting to get rid of me," he laughs.
What is the most difficult scene you have ever had to film, emotionally, or physically? "I think the most emotionally taxing film was 'One Eight Seven' because the journey was personal. By the time we were playing Russian roulette we were all pretty frayed. The hardest was 'Long Kiss Goodnight' because the temperature was cold (-67). It was real taxing."
What film do you give the most credit for being the one that put you on top? "'Die Hard with a Vengeance.' he answers without even havng to think. "It was the highest grossing film worldwide that year and it opened me up to a much larger audience."
How do you know if you've picked a good movie to star in? "Making movies is an enormous crap shoot. I've been in movies that were enormously successful and some movies that should have been more successful then they were. There's so many hands that movies go through. So much is up to so many, in marketing, etc."
Were your parents important to your development as an actor? "Well, actually I had an aunt that got me involved in theater at an early age. I was kind of prepped into service at an early age by a performing aunt!"
Lastly, please tell us what to expect from 'Kill Bill' "I think that the movie is going to be an homage to all the martial arts movies and all the old school movies that are out there combined, plus some modern day. I think it will be unbelievable and pretty amazing. It's going to be Quentin Tarantino-style so it's going to be pretty sweet!"
Interviewed by Fran Beatsol for Exclusive Magazine
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