Samuel L. Jackson has established himself as a household name with a very versatile range of acting performances, including cult classics like Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction as well as popular franchises such as The Avengers and Star Wars. He has worked for some of the best filmmakers in the world, like Spike Lee and Martin Scorsese, while making his way towards transforming himself into a global star.
When fans are asked about their favourite Samuel L. Jackson film, titles like Pulp Fiction and Do the Right Thing frequently pop up because of their enduring appeal. With that, Jackson respects the opinions of the audience, claiming: “We’re entertainers, and these are the people that are actually the lifeblood of the movie business, these are the guys that fill up the theatres on Saturday and Friday night and make sure that those box office(s) ring and that we’re able to do a sequel.”
However, nobody can change Samuel L. Jackson’s mind about the best role that he has had in his illustrious career. “I dig watching myself work,” the actor has always maintained. When Jackson was asked to name some of the acting parts that he likes the most, everyone expected him to list the usual suspects like Tarantino’s masterpiece or even the role that got him the most attention from a massive fan base – Nick Fury in The Avengers.
To everyone’s surprise, neither option were even included in his top five. While he did admit that his work in Tarantino’s 1997 film Jackie Brown was one of his most cherished parts, his top pick was almost impossible to guess. According to Jackson, the role that he enjoyed the most came in Renny Harlin’s 1996 spy action thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight, where he plays the role of a lowlife named Mitch Henessey.
The film stars Geena Davis as a school teacher in Pennsylvania who remembers nothing about her past life after having washed ashore on a beach in New Jersey eight years ago in a pregnant condition. In the hopes of discovering her true identity, she recruits Henessey as a private investigator who is tasked with the task of uncovering who she really is – a monumental task that others have already failed.
To this day, Jackson is furious about the film’s poor marketing and decline into obscurity because he insists that it was a masterpiece: “The studio didn’t know how to market that film because they didn’t know that women like seeing themselves as badasses. I kept saying, ‘You need to advertise this thing during the day when women are watching soaps.’ Whatever. They were like, ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.'”
The Long Kiss Goodnight’s director Renny Harlin agrees with Jackson’s verdict, claiming that his 1996 film is his favourite as well: “It is definitely. For me, it’s just very simple. It’s a movie that had a really good screenplay which meant that I was able to get really good actors, and it’s always challenging to make a movie, but it sure makes it easier when you have a good screenplay like in that one.”
Adding, “When you have characters that are complex, and you have good drama, and have some humour, and some good action, you kind of have all the ingredients. When you have that you don’t even need some crazy special effects you just need to let the characters do their thing. It was a great experience.”