Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson has been named a presenter on the 70th Academy Awards Presentation,
telecast producer Gil Cates has announced. This will be Jackson's second appearance as a presenter on the
Jackson received an Oscar nomination for Pulp Fiction, in the Actor in a Supporting Role category. He recently
starred in Eve's Bayou and Jackie Brown and will soon be seen in Sphere, The Red Violin and The Negotiator.
His other credits include A Time to Kill, Die Hard with A Vengeance, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Losing Isaiah
and Jungle Fever.
The 70th Academy Awards Presentation will be held on Monday, March 23, 1998, at the Los Angeles Shrine
Auditorium, and will be broadcast live by the ABC Television Network beginning at 6:00 p. m. (PST).
Information about the 70th Annual Academy Awards can be accessed on the world wide web.
Someday, when the world is fair and actors
are given awards for merit rather than box office
receipts, Samuel L. Jackson will win an Oscar.
Hopefully, he won't have long to wait. Jackson is
more than a good, solid actor, who, according to
Spencer Tracy's humorous opinion, should "learn
lines and not bump into furniture." His talent is sui
chameleon. People may not remember him in
Ragtime, Mo' Better Blues, or Coming to
America. Or recognize him in True Romance, Do
The Right Thing, Kiss of Death, Patriot Games, or Jurassic Park.
While ambiguity might bother the more
traditional actor, Jackson likes it like that. For him, morphing
between characters is a favorite pastime (eclipsed
only perhaps by a good game of golf, when his perpetually busy
Working steadily on the New York stage since receiving a drama
degree from Atlanta's Morehouse College, Jackson had supporting
roles in over a dozen films before his breakthrough in Spike Lee's
1991 Jungle Fever. Film audiences and critics alike were awed by
his portrayal of the crack-addicted Gator, and the Cannes Film
Festival created a "Best Supporting Actor" category to honor his
work in the film.
In 1994, Jackson slipped into the skin of Jules Winnfield, a
Jeri-Kurled, Bible-quoting professional hit man, in Quentin
Tarantino's Pulp Fiction, and his life changed. Anonymity is now
harder to come by, if at all possible, no matter how many hairstyles
he wears. His performance in Pulp earned him Best Supporting
Actor nominations for both the Oscars and the Golden Globes, and
a Best Supporting Actor Award from the British Academy of Film and
Also in 1994, Jackson starred in John Frankenheimer's Emmy
Award-winning Against the Wall, an original HBO production.
For his imperious performance as one of the few non-violent
convicts in the take-over of Attica Prison, Jackson received
both Cable Ace and Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting
Actor in a miniseries or TV movie. Since that film, Jackson has
camouflaged himself in a series of roles, including the
hard-edged attorney in Losing Isaiah, a hustling fight promoter
in The Great White Hype, unwilling sidekick to Bruce Willis in
Die Hard With A Vengeance and to Geena Davis in The Long Kiss
Goodnight, and as the outraged father in A Time to Kill, with
Sandra Bullock and Matthew McConaughey. Last year, in 187, Jackson
portrayed a victim-turned-vigilante inner-city schoolteacher,
perhaps his most emotionally gripping role to date,
and produced as well as starred as a hot-blooded Southern doctor
in Eve's Bayon.
In a 1997 reunion with Quentin Tarantino, Jackson portrayed Ordell
Robbie, the boastful and extremely dangerous gun smuggler, in
Jackie Brown. Tarantino has reported that he wrestled with using
Jackson (his first and only choice for the part), because he
wondered if pleasant memories of their work together on Pulp
Fiction were unduly influencing his judgment. "But," as Tarantino
said, "I honestly think any director who was casting this role would
give his right arm to be able to get Sam. The combination of a bad
guy who projects absolute menace, but is also eloquent and
intelligent - which just makes him scarier - who else could do that
as well as Sam can do it?"
This spring, Jackson introduces his first film of 1998, in which he
stars with Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone in Barry Levinson's
scifi thriller Sphere, based on the bestseller by Michael Crichton.
On the day SMOKE caught up with him, however, he was enjoying a few
days off between shooting The Negotiator, in which he co-stars
opposite Kevin Spacey, and filming a few pick-up shots for Sphere.
YOU SEEM TO CHANGE YOUR CHARACTERS'
HAIRSTYLES MORE THAN MOST ACTRESSES DO.
I always try and figure out how I want a character to look,
according to what he does in the script, or from the background I've
researched. The character should be someone totally separate from
who I am. I make an effort to alter myself, so that when I look in a
mirror, I see that character and I don't see Sam.
YOUR APPEARANCE WAS THE MOST OUTRAGEOUS
IN JACKIE BROWN. WHERE DID YOU GET THE IDEA
FOR THAT LITTLE BEARD?
I met a guy in Taiwan last year who had a mole right here on his
neck [points to the left side of his neck]. He had two hairs that
grew out of it and he looked gross, because the
hairs were about four feet long. Apparently, he waxed them, because
they didn't hang straight down; they arched
off of his neck. He wore shirts that accentuated this mole and those
hairs, so you could always see them against
the shirt. I started thinking about Jackie Brown while I was there
and said, "I can have a braid on my chin and put
the little gold thing on it." I loved it.
YOU THEN SHAVED YOUR HEAD FOR YOUR ROLE IN SPHERE.
Last winter, I did a film called Red Violin [not yet released,
where I play a 60-year-old guy. I cut the center of my hair
out for that and the rest of it was
white around the sides. When I finished that film I was going
into Sphere about three days later, so all I could do was shave
my head. It turned out that was perfect for the character.
YOU HAVE A CAMEO IN THE PREQUEL TO STAR WARS. HOW
MUCH CAN YOU DESCRIBE WITHOUT GETTING SUED?
You know, I don't remember signing any waivers. [Smiles] But I
actually don't know that much. All they gave me
were the pages I was in, so I don't know what happened before or
what happened after. I enjoyed working with George Lucas - I think
he's a wonderful guy.
DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR FIRST CIGAR?
It was probably one of my grandfather's White Owls. I used to sneak
those from him and his brother.