Samuel L. Jackson Poster

Quotes (43)

  • [When asked about his character in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999)] "He's black."
  • [on the subject of his character's inevitable death in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005)] "I don't mind dying, I just don't wanna go out like some punk."
  • People mistake me for Laurence Fishburne all the time. And he always gets mistaken for me. (And why not? We've both starred in Spike Lee movies, haven't we?) Even when we're standing together, people have called him by my name and me by his. A woman recently ran up to him and said, 'My daughter loved you in Pulp Fiction (1994)! Could she have your autograph?' So he signed it, 'Respectfully yours, Samuel Jackson.'
  • To be frank, I am as passionate about golf as I am about acting. I very seldom get angry at golf. The year I started golf I had a caddie and one day I did get angry with myself and threw a club. My caddie told me, 'You're not good enough to get mad'. I have never thrown a club since. I enjoy my golf, it does not matter whether I play great or badly. I let it go.
  • I've played Loch Lomond - that's the one with the bogs isn't it? I played the one with the lighthouse. When we were in Liverpool we used to take the ferry and go to Northern Ireland. Films get in the way of my golf, but they have afforded me the chance to play a lot of golf.
  • On playing Othello - "I didn't realise how much I hated that play until I agreed to do it. I don't mind Shakespeare so much, but I really hate Othello. Here was a guy who had been all over the world, kicking ass, looting, plundering and probably raping the baddest babes on the planet. Then he falls in love with some teenager and loses his fucking mind. I don't like that idea at all. I mean, how stupid was he?"
  • People shout at me "Hey, loved that The Matrix (1999), man!" Yeah - me too. I was actually on a plane last year and this guy sat down next to me. Finally, he said something to me, and we started talking about Pulp Fiction (1994). He couldn't remember the actor's name, so I tried to help and said "I think it might have been Samuel Jackson." He jumped in "No, no, it's the other guy, that Fishburne guy". We rode the whole flight having that conversation and then, right at the end, he looked hard at me and said, "You sure look familiar, you're sure you're not Laurence Fishburne?" I said "No, and I definitely am not in Pulp Fiction (1994), either".
  • I think everyone who says they don't like watching themselves in movies should stop lying.
  • People like the Ezekiel speech. I have to say that speech about three times a week to people, just to prove that I still know it.
  • I was a square for so long and it totally amazes me that people think I am cool.
  • [on how his look was created in Pulp Fiction (1994)] "Quentin Tarantino wanted Jules to have a big afro. He sent this PA out to buy a wig. She went to South Central and bought this jeri-curl wig. And Quentin was going off, saying, 'It's got to be an afro because he had this whole blaxploitation thing'. I told him, 'That's the South Central look.' You look at Ice Cube and NWA. Guys had all this shit dripping down their necks. I had already grown the sideburns out and the mustache. It was perfect. Total Gangster."
  • A movie is just a movie to me. They open, they close.
  • I have a place that's pretty much cemented in Hollywood in terms of liability, box-office viability and everything else. The only thing an Oscar would do is jack my check up maybe $1 million.
  • What kills me is that everybody thinks I like jazz.
  • I can't say to myself, 'I haven't had a drink in 15 years, I could have a glass of champagne and be OK'. That might be true, but history says when I opened that bottle of champagne, I sat there and drank it until it was gone. People who've been through what I went through are always going to be tempted. I enjoyed drinking and I enjoyed taking drugs. But I have to remind myself every day that I can't have a drink.
  • I feel like I have a kinship to England. I go about three or four times a year because you guys love me. Seriously, that's it right there. I just need to feel that love every once in a while. I like England because I can go anywhere on the tube and buses. So when I'm there I go to all the places where I used to hang out.
  • Hollywood people tend to think that because one is successful in one aspect of entertainment they can bring them into this particular world and make a success out of them. They ask people like me to be in a film with those people that they are kind of headlining and your name ends up behind them. If you do that, it sanctions the fact that these people come into this world and you think they are worthy of you sharing your time on screen with them. I don't particularly think that. A month or so ago, someone called me about the 50 Cent movie and I'm like, 'What are you calling me for?'. I don't even need to read that because that's not something I want to do. I like listening to 50 Cent and I can groove to his music but I don't want to groove to him on screen, just yet. Maybe if he does five movies and he shows some talent. I mean how does he get to work with Jim Sheridan and I don't. What is it about 50 Cent that makes Jim Sheridan say, 'I'd really like to make a movie with him.'?
  • Definitely. And I always do - I love me on-screen! (On if he watches his own films)
  • When I came to New York, it was bubbling. We watched each other, we encouraged each other, we went to auditions together, we rode trains together, and every Monday we had great parties. But it was also a time of, you know, drugs.
  • I don't understand how people live without creating. You know? I don't know how you do one picture a year.
  • I was the crackhead in Jungle Fever (1991). I was two weeks out of rehab. I'd been smoking cocaine for a year and a half, two years, and I understood the nature of the disease. I had done the research. So when I started talking to Spike about it, I said, "You don't see him high that much. You always see him when he needs something. He's on a mission to get some shit. That's what I wanna do." And that was my breakthrough. That got me into Hollywood. It was the perfect marriage of experience and opportunity.
  • I was raised to be cautious. I went to work with my grandfather, who cleaned office buildings and furnaces, and there would be twenty-year-old guys callin' him Ed, and he called 'em Mister. My grandfather was this old guy, very dignified, but he never looked 'em in the eye. He'd look at me like, "Turn your head down! Don't look the white men in the eye 'cause they'll think you being uppity or arrogant." Now the name of my production company is Uppity.
  • I never asked for anything except a purple light saber. George said, "Well, light sabers are either red or green." I said, "Yeah, but I would like a purple one."
  • I've never been to jail. I've never been arrested. I've never been locked up. I'm a good son, a good father, a good husband--I've been married to the same woman for thirty years. I'm a good friend. I finished college, I have my education, I believe in education, I donate money anonymously. So when people criticize the kind of characters that I play onscreen, I go, "You know, that's part of a story.'
  • I went to the movies a lot when I was a kid. That was my joy. Saturday mornings, my mom kicked me out of the house, I went to the movies at nine in the morning and watched cartoons and serials and the double-feature horror picture, and then I would meet her later for the adult stuff. So I love movies that way. So I'll do a movie like Snakes on a Plane (2006), and I'll do a film that's very serious. And I'll do a comedy, because it's there.
  • I haven't had a drug dream in ten or twelve years. All of a sudden, I had one, like, two weeks ago. Even in the dream, you're hiding shit from people! People that you know pop up in the dream and you got this big-ass ball of cocaine in your hand and you stick it behind your back and go, "Yeah, I'm all right." And then you wake up and you feel as bad as if you'd actually done it.
  • [1992] A few years ago Morgan Freeman's granddaughter - she's a friend of my daughter - says, "We're going to England. My grandfather's doing Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)". I got on the phone: 'How the hell did Morgan get Robin Hood?' They said the part was written for him. So I said, 'Are there any more black people in it?' I want to do a pirate. I want to swing from ship to ship with a knife in my teeth. I want to kick some butt. I would love to do that stuff. I don't want to ruin my artistic facade or anything, but I love splatter movies. I love stuff like Scanners (1981). I've always liked to be freaked-out and I love to freak people out.
  • (1992, on early film auditions) I've been told I wasn't African enough. And sometimes you don't get jobs because you're too good-'We wouldn't want to waste your talent on this meager part,' they say, and I'm sitting there thinking, 'I got a daughter who goes to school. She needs to eat, I need to eat.' When I auditioned for Mississippi Burning the director told me I didn't sound Southern. I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee! And this guy tells me I don't sound Southern! See, he was British.
  • Want to know what the 'L.' in Samuel L. Jackson means? None of your fucking business.
  • I heard that you can do what ever you want in International Waters, that's why I filled my jacuzzi with International Water.
  • I don't understand these actors who talk about how difficult it is to act with nothing there. I was an only child so most of the time I was always playing against something that didn't exist. It's called using your imagination.
  • (2013, on his father) Once, when we were performing in Topeka, Kansas, my wife, my three-month-old daughter and I went to see my other grandmother, and it just so happened my father was living in her house again. I was in my 30s, and there was this woman and this older lady, and then this teenage girl comes downstairs with a little baby in her arms as young as my daughter. He's like, "Hey, I want you to meet your sister." I think he's talking about the girl, but he's talking about the fucking baby. I'm like, "You're a grown-ass, old-ass man doing this shit?" Then the older lady's like, "So when's the last time you saw your dad?" And it was like, "I haven't seen this motherfucker since I was three months old." We go outside and he gets angry, going, "Why'd you have to tell her that?" I said, "Do you want me to tell her we hang out, that you've been taking care of me all these years? You're not my father; you're just a guy who happened to be my mom's sperm donor. I'm here to see your mother, not you." He passed not long after that. He was an alcoholic with cirrhosis and all that other shit. They had called me from the hospital: "Mr. Jackson, your father's ¬≠really ill now. If we have to take drastic measures, do you want us to keep him alive?" I said, "Are you calling to ask if I want you to put him on life support, or are you calling to see if I'm going to be responsible for his medical bill?" They're like, "Well...." I said, "He's got a sister in Kansas City-you should call her." Click. It's done.
  • (2013) I was not the cool guy growing up. I was bookish. I had a stutter. I wasn't in the streets with all the other kids. I didn't dress cool or do cool shit. I played the trumpet, flute and French horn in the marching band and had great style on the field when we performed, but that wasn't the cool thing to do. I was popular because I was funny. I definitely didn't have the hot chicks.
  • (2013, on his signature role) If there were one movie I wanted people to look at, it would be A Time to Kill (1996)... It's an American story and a very Southern story. I'd like people to look at that one and say, "Oh my God."
  • (2013) W. Kamau Bell's FX show [Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (2012)] had this whole segment where he was criticizing Django. He's a young black man with nappy hair and very dark skin, but he also has a very white wife and an interracial child. You can't tell me you know what people in the South did if you never spent time down there. He can say there had to be words Quentin (Tarantino) could use other than nigger. Well, what are they? These 20-somethings can't turn around and tell me the word nigger is fucked-up in Django yet still listen to Jay Z or whoever else say "nigger, nigger, nigger" throughout the music they listen to. "Oh, that's okay because that's dope, that's down, we all right with that." Bullshit. You can't have it one way and not the other. It's art-you can't not censor one thing and try to censor the other. Saying Tarantino said "nigger" too many times is like complaining they said "kike" too many times in a movie about Nazis.
  • (2013, on white directors doing films based on black history) There is this whole thing of "Nobody can tell our story but us," but that's apparently not true, because the Jackie Robinson movie finally got made as 42. Spike (Lee) didn't make it, but people still went to see it. When Boaz Yakin did Fresh (1994) in 1994, all of a sudden it was like, "Who is this Jewish motherfucker telling our stories?" He's the Jewish motherfucker who wrote the story, that's who. If you got a story like that in you, tell it. We'll see when [director] Steve McQueens movie 12 Years a Slave (2013) comes out, if it'll be like, "What's this British motherfucker know about us?" Somebody's always going to say something.
  • (2013) I'm not trying to change the world. I'm just trying to entertain people.
  • (2013, on directing) I don't have that directing thing. I don't want to be out there setting up shots all day. I like to act. I read the script and sign the contract. I like hanging out in my trailer watching Judge Judy (1996) and eating sandwiches.
  • (2013, on maintaining sobriety) What's it been now, 22 years or something? There's all kinds of shit in my house that I've never tasted in my life, like Cristal-stuff I couldn't afford back when I was drinking. All I'd have to do is walk in the closet, open a beer, and no one would know, but I know that I probably wouldn't stop at one beer. So I drink nonalcoholic beer. I'm not looking for the kick.
  • (2013, on Jungle Fever (1991) and staying sober) I got out of rehab, and about a week or something later, I was shooting the movie. I had a modicum of fame because I'd done other Spike Lee movies, so when I'd go buy coke or something, the guys sitting around would go, "Hey, man, _Do the Right Thing (1989)_(Qv)! Yeah, sit down!" and I sat right down and got high with them. All of a sudden with Jungle Fever (1991) I'm travelling in a different circle, which brought the next challenge because that circle has some darkness too-drink, drugs, only now they're offering them to you free. Now you have the chance to really get fucked-up. You know how it is. Make a wrong turn at a party and there's a bunch of people sitting around a table with more cocaine in front of them than you saw the entire time when you were using. I said to myself, Do you want to be fucked-up and think you're having a good time, or do you want to be satisfied artistically and spiritually in another way? I chose the other way.
  • (2013, on quitting drugs & alcohol and re-establishing his career) In 1990 my wife said, "Look, you're going to rehab," and the very next day I was in rehab. I didn't go kicking and screaming. I was tired, burned-out and at that low point of like, What the fuck is going on with me? They ask you in rehab to take an assessment of how you got to the point you're at, and I said, "I guess I could have gone to that audition without my eyes red, without smelling like the beer I had or the weed I'd smoked." I never blamed anybody else for not being successful or not getting to the places I saw everybody else I worked with, like Wesley Snipes, get to. I had no problem doing roles like Black Guy in Sea of Love (1989) or Hold-Up Man in Coming to America (1988) or going to Boston once a year to get killed on Spenser: For Hire (1985) or A Man Called Hawk (1989). LaTanya asked, "Why are you doing these piddly-ass jobs?" I told her, "Well, this or that guy I worked with is probably going to be something somewhere down the line." I always left an impression in an audition. I was memorable. In rehab I saw that I owed it to myself to see things another way and try it the other way. I opened my mind to what was being said... Like the petals were closed and, all of a sudden, the sun hit the flower and opened it up. People looked at it and it smelled great, it looked great to them. I'm like, Oh Jesus, this is not bad at all. I wondered whether I was going to be as much fun as I used to be, wondered whether people were going to think I was as good an actor. But the clarity and professional satisfaction that came with sobriety-couldn't beat it.
  • [on Snakes on a Plane (2006)) I stand by that movie!
  • I did t.v., I did film, I did theater, I did children's theater. I just did what was there.