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Samuel L. Jackson on His 51-Year Caree

When Samuel L. Jackson heard about a script called Snakes on a Plane, he reached out to the film’s director, someone he’d worked with before. “Are you going to do a movie called Snakes on a Plane?” Jackson asked. Yes, the director replied, and it was going to be about exactly that — a plane full of poisonous snakes. “I’m like, ‘Oh shit, can I be in that?’” Jackson recalls asking. He wanted the part so bad that when that director was fired before production began, Jackson stayed on. And when the studio tried to change the name of the movie to Pacific Flight 121, Jackson vehemently objected: “Hell is wrong with you? I signed up for Snakes on a Plane.” Jackson, an activist from a young age, has been in hundreds of movies, TV shows, and plays over the course of his 51-year career that have taken him this close to winning his industry’s highest awards many times over. (He eventually got an honorary Oscar, and he has feelings about that.) Yet, in this winding interview with Vulture’s Bilge Ebiri, he makes clear his earnest affection for the kinds of popcorn movies that made him, in his words, “an international motherfucker.”

—Katherine Brooks, deputy editor, Vulture

‘I Can Do Things to You With My Voice’ Fifty-one years of acting. Hundreds of roles. One Samuel L. Jackson.

Photo: Jay Kolsch

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