Cheat Sheet: Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel Leroy Jackson
Date of Birth:
21st December 1948
Place of birth:
Washington, D.C., USA
Acting, producing, having had enough of these motherfucking snakes
Jungle Fever, Jurassic Park, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, The Incredibles, Star Wars: Episodes I-III
What you probably already know:
Samuel L. Jackson is, absolutely without question, the coolest man in the world. Despite being well into his sixties he’s still an incredibly bankable action star as well as a respected dramatic actor – in fact, it was recently calculated that the extraordinary $7.4 billion taken by all his films put together makes him the highest-grossing actor of all time. Ever. Jackson shot to international prominence when Quentin Tarantino specifically wrote him the part of Jules in his seminal hit Pulp Fiction – it may have been the role for which many fans first remember him, but it was actually Jackson’s thirty-first film. By the end of this year he will have appeared in 107, including five of the nine Marvel films in which he’s playing SHIELD founder Nick Fury.
Appealing effortlessly to all ages and fans of all genres, Jackson has ensured his immortality with generations of children and young people through his starring roles in George Lucas’ otherwise ghastly Star Wars prequels (he insisted on having a purple lightsaber because he’s fucking Sam Jackson) and The Incredibles, in which he voiced villain Frozone. Previous supervillainous outings included playing Bruce Willis’ implacable opponent Mr Glass in Unbreakable, one of four collaborations with the similarly bald and ageless star). Whilst he’s certainly made his share of sophisticated dramas, Jackson is known and loved for his appearances in frenetic big-budget affairs – and, to give him his credit, he is absolutely unapologetic with regards to his habit of signing up for films that sound fun. Who but Samuel L. Jackson would have agreed to make Snakes on a Plane based on its title alone?
What you might not know:
It hasn’t always been easy for Jackson. Growing up in Tennessee with an absent father, Sam went to college but got sucked into the equal rights movement – the year after Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination he was arrested for helping hold his college’s board of trustees hostage, and shortly afterwards he became involved with Black Power. His mother eventually sent him to L.A. after the FBI told her that her son’s life expectancy would be less than a year if he stayed involved in radical black politics. Jackson’s first film followed in 1972, but spiralling alcohol and cocaine addictions (combined with not a little heroin use) nearly killed him until he finally managed to get clean in the early 90s. His first film after leaving rehab was Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, in which Jackson found catharsis playing a crack addict – the 1991 Cannes Film Festival created a special ‘Best Supporting Actor’ award specifically to acknowledge his performance.
Still, having an addictive personality doesn’t just go away. Fortunately, Jackson found a more healthy (if more boring) outlet for his cravings – he is a huge golf enthusiast and a very proficient player, demanding that all his film contracts provide for him to have lessons two days a week. Apparently golf tournaments are the only places he can “dress like a pimp” without anyone caring. Unusually, Jackson is also a fan of watching his own movies on the silver screen – he attends a public screening of every film he makes and buys $2000 worth of tickets for his local church, reasoning that at least he’s ensured the film doesn’t take nothing at all. That might be the loveliest thing we’ve ever heard.
Samuel L. Jackson quote:You better recognise.
What to say at a dinner party:
“When he was honoured with a hand- and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in 2006 – only the seventh black actor to be so recognised – Samuel L Jackson cemented his position as one of the world’s foremost actors. Long may his unbreakable winning streak continue!”
What not to say at a dinner party:
“So, tell us about what went through your head when you agreed to do The Spirit…”
This year we’re mostly excited about Jackson and Quentin Tarantino reuniting for Django Unchained. Plus, of course, AVENGERS AVENGERS AVENGERS! Ahem. It’s out on Thursday, you know…