Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Margot Robbie, Jamie Foxx and Bruce Willis are just some of the many actors who have worked with the iconic cult director Quentin Tarantino throughout his time as a director since the 1990s. No actor has managed to secure the same relationship with the director as Samuel L. Jackson; however, starring in six of the filmmaker’s projects, including Pulp Fiction, The Hateful Eight, Jackie Brown, Kill Bill, Django Unchained and even as the narrator in Inglorious Basterds.
Claiming that their collaborative efforts are incredibly organic, the actor recently said: “There’s just something very natural in our connection in terms of his art and my talent that mesh in a beautiful and wonderful and creative, joyous, ecstatic, orgasmic kinda way”.
Whilst many would turn to his iconic performance as Jules Winnfield alongside John Travolta in Pulp Fiction as the finest of his Tarantino roles, when asked about his favourite character in a Tarantino film during an interview with Indiewire, Jackson instead his supporting role in Django Unchained as a house slave named Stephen. Speaking to the publication, Jackson noted: “I love fucking Stephen…I mean, the dude ran that fucking plantation. Candyland was his fucking plantation… dude’s writing the bills. [Stephen is] making sure the crops get planted. He’s making sure the slaves get sold. He runs that place”.
Although, Jackson’s character was almost very different, with the actor recalling in an interview with Charlie Rose: “That’s a tame steven, he [Tarantino] edited out all the really bad things that I did in the movie because he said, ‘I don’t want anybody to kill you'”. Highlighting the controversies of the 2012 film that starred Jamie Foxx’s Django as a freed slave searching for revenge, Jackson also put to bed any talk of Tarantino being racist.
“He [Tarantino] has enough problems being vilified himself as a racist because he uses n***er in his scripts that much, or puts those kinds of words in a character’s mouth,” he tells Rose, before adding: “I always tell people, I don’t understand how they can’t look at his work and realise that every character he’s ever given me has pretty much been the smartest character in the film”.
As Samuel L. Jackson points out, each character that was written for him had “dignity and respect” and was “not a fool of any sort,” before exclaiming: “For him to write characters like that for me, would be impossible for a racist to do”.
Samuel L. Jackson hasn’t appeared in a Quentin Tarantino film since the release of The Hateful Eight, having missed out on the director’s modern classic Once Upon a Time In Hollywood. With rumours that Tarantino could soon be looking at retirement, we hope there’s still time for one last Jackson/Tarantino collaboration.