Samuel L. Jackson: “I’m not one of those actors who feels like audiences have to like him”

django-jacksonSamuel L. Jackson

continues his long association with director Quentin Tarantino with a major role in Django Unchained.  Jackson plays Stephen, the head slave on the plantation known as Candieland.  A Tarantino film on its own is often a source of controversy, but the controversy surrounding Django Unchained is heightened because it deals with slavery.  Naturally, since Stephen is a slave, one would expect to feel compassion for him.  However, instead Tarantino and Jackson have created a paradox not seen in film for decades — a villainous slave. Jackson spoke to The Los Angeles Times about the issues surrounding the role.

Though Jackson generally doesn’t really look his age — he just turned 64 in December — Stephen looks all of those years plus more.  When asked if this is the type of appearance one can expect in future Jackson roles, he replies with a laugh, “No, it’s not. At least, I hope it’s not. Quentin and I wanted to give Stephen a certain look — we wanted him to appear like the most ancient slave in the place. Which he is. But we also wanted him to seem strong and smart. He looks feeble, but there’s also something else there.”

Even more surprising, however, is just how funny Jackson’s character is.  He points out, “I’m not one of those actors who feels like audiences have to like him. Stephen’s funny — he does funny things, at least. There’s an insulting jocularity to him. But he’s still insulting.”

In fact, Jackson believes that Tarantino’s humorous approach to horrid things is one of the best things about the film, and he mentions a particularly funny scene to make his point.  He explains, “Quentin has an affinity for writing horrible things and then making you laugh. So there’s the scene … where the Klan is gathering and they’re about to go do some terrible stuff, and then they start arguing about their hoods because they can’t see out of them. I think it’s dangerous if this is where you get your information from. He’s making entertainment. Hopefully, it makes you go ask questions and you Google it. If you want to learn something from a movie, watch a documentary.”

Jackson affirms his support for Tarantino by talking about how other great movies are hardly as entertaining for audiences than Tarantino’s controversial films.  He says,  “They’re making entertainment. I can’t blame them for that. And it comes down to what people want to watch when they’re eating popcorn. I just saw this movie Sex Traffic. It’s a documentary about the sex-slave trade across Europe. Awesome movie. But no one’s going to see it. Look at The Hurt Locker. Oscar winner. Did anyone go see it? No. You can’t blame Hollywood for wanting to make entertainment.”

Leave a Reply

Latest Videos

http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/sag-foundation-conversation-with.jpg
SAG Foundation Conversation with the Cast of NBC’s ‘Marry Me’
Earlier this month NBC put in an order for five additional episodes of its freshman romantic comedy series, Marry Me. While that isn’t exactly the shot of confidence that a full-season renewal provides, it’s enough to keep fans of the comedy — which is about an engaged couple who are determined to get married despite […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/michael-caine.jpg
Michael Caine Talks About Acting With Your Eyes and Does an Amazing Cold Read of a Script
This week acting legend Michael Caine appears in his sixth film directed by Christopher Nolan, Interstellar. In an interview clip from The New York Times that was shot around the release of the last movie Caine worked on with Nolan, The Dark Knight Rises, reporter Melena Ryzik spoke to Caine about his six-decade career. In […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/director-dan-gilroy-narrates-a-s.jpg
Director Dan Gilroy Narrates a Scene from ‘Nightcrawler’ Featuring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo
Nightcrawler is easily one of the best movies of the year and its star, Jake Gyllenhaal, is outstanding. Definitely check this out when you have a chance. In the above clip, writer/director Dan Gilroy narrates a sequence from the film that features Gyllenhaal and Rene Russo. He talks about giving Gyllenhaal a small piece of […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/matthew-mcconaughey-talks-losing.png
Matthew McConaughey Talks Losing the Lead Role in ‘Bernie’ to Jack Black
Though Matthew McConaughey has increased his earned plenty of respect since he started taking on more substantive movie roles in the last few years (with Dallas Buyers Club even earning him an Oscar for Best Actor), one director that always has been a fan of McConaughey is Richard Linklater. Linklater gave McConaughey his first big […]
http://www.dailyactor.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/watch-benedict-cumberbatch-film.jpg
Watch: Benedict Cumberbatch Film the Smaug Motion Capture for ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’
Though Peter Jackson‘s movie adaptations of The Hobbit haven’t received the same critical acclaim as his films based on the book’s sequel, The Lord of the Rings (turning a 300 page book into 9+ hours of film tends to do that), fans are still eagerly anticipating the release of the final part of The Hobbit […]