Samuel L. Jackson: I’m NOT sure Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories In Hollywood.
More than thirty years after he entered the industry, actor/film producer Samuel L. Jackson is still one of the biggest names in Hollywood. Recently, the 69-year-old opened up about fame, being one of the biggest movie stars ever and if Black Panther will impact the success of black stories and storytelling in Hollywood. Peep the excerpts below.
On becoming a big star after his 1994 film “Pulp Fiction”:
Well, I became a recognizable star after that film, but I don’t know about a big star. Bruce Willis and I were doing Die Hard with a Vengeance when Pulp Fiction came out and we went to Cannes together to watch Pulp Fiction play for the first time. We both thought, ‘Wow, this is great!’ and Bruce said, Die Hard’s going to make you a star. And it’s true. Die Hard with a Vengeance was the highest-grossing film in the world that year. That changed the agenda.
On not finding success until his early 40’s:
I was sober when it happened so that helped a lot. If it had happened sooner in my life, I would have found a way to mess it up. Being sober and understanding who I was, and what I wanted to do, and how I wanted to shape the trajectory of my career, was a result of me being more mature, but I always attribute it to my sobriety and not listening to everything people say when they tell you how great you are.
On being an usher at Martin Luther King Jr’s. funeral:
It was held on the campus of Morehouse, King’s alma mater, so I ended up being an usher, I’d been to Spelman College in Atlanta to see the body lying in state, then I went to Mempis to march with the garbage workers, and then we flew back the next day for the funeral.”
On equal rights from the sixties to the present:
I don’t see it as some kind of anomaly. People weren’t as open in the past when it was maybe politically incorrect to espouse some of the ideas that they can now say out loud. I never thought people stopped thinking it, but now it’s as vocal as it was when I grew up during segregation. If there was a way the country’s leaders could keep certain ethnicities from going to certain things or being in some positions then they would do that, because that seems to be the dynamic right now.
I hear things like ‘make America great again’ and by ‘again,’ they mean going back to the day when a white man held all the power, women were home cooking and having babies, and the rest of the races were subservient in some way. There are a lot of things that can’t and won’t be changed because of the blood and the effort that was put in during the civil rights movement, but there are a lot of dynamics that are trying to be put back into place because of that.
On being hopeful for the future:
The stance that young people are taking on guns and violence in schools is very encouraging. They’ve found their voice. A lot of those young people are going to be of voting age by 2020. They can change the dynamic around the country. Their voices will be heard. They’re registering to vote in record numbers and recognizing that they do have power in numbers and that their actions can be effective in getting rid of the people who are standing in their way.
On finding change in the industry:
The artist community is forever changing, and young filmmakers are telling stories from different perspectives in terms of a world they grew up in that’s inhabited by all kinds of people. The fact that they have a certain kind of interaction allows them to shape their stories in a different way than it was before, so they can color their stories with all the ethnicities. They don’t perceive all black people to be criminals, they don’t perceive all Mexicans to be laborers, or all Asians to be the smartest people in the room. Young people are the lifeblood of what is about to happen – and they are all telling their stories.
On his thoughts on “Black Panther” making a mark on black culture:
I’m not positive that Black Panther is going to change the dynamic of black stories being told in Hollywood and being accepted all over the world. “It’s an action-adventure story and a lot of people like those, and they’ll work all over the world forever because everybody loves a hero. But not everybody loves a drama about somebody’s life experience – that’s why awards have a separate category for foreign films; they are perceived as being different. Once we stop perceiving them as different and just see them as good films and they get recognized in the same category, we’ll be laying markers.
On what’s next:
I’m only going to do things that make me happy. The last thing you want is to do something just for the money.
By: –Dalvin Perkins