He’s got one of the most recognisable voices in Hollywood so, even when facing the real deal at an intimate panel talk, you can’t quite believe you’re not sat at home watching a movie.
We had to pinch ourselves several times during Samuel L. Jackson’s “In Conversation” event at this year’s Dubai International Film Festival, which he held shortly after being honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award.
During the hour-long chat at the Madinat Theatre, the Oscar winner made the crowd chuckle – and even tear up with some moving clips from his back catalogue.
So with no further ado, here are our favourite soundbites from the candid discussion…
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1. “I always dreamed about being a movie star but I was so naive. I thought the entry level was theatre, then you went into a soap opera, then you went to a regular TV show and then bam, you were a movie star.”
2. “In the theatre, actors had legends. Men who could drink, take drugs, womanise and still do their job. I thought it was just part of the job. And that’s how I ended up with a drug addiction.”
3. “[The addiction] was fun and torture at the same time. My time came at the height of my addiction, where I was using cocaine to the point that I had to put myself in rehab. Spike [Lee] called about Jungle Fever, and said it was for the part of a drug addict. I said ‘well I’ve already done the research’. When I made that movie, I was two weeks out of rehab so I didn’t need makeup. What you see there is where I was. Jungle Fever was the first time I had ever performed without any substance in my body, so I was able to connect in a very real and visceral way.”
4. “I have often actively wondered whether I would be able to act if I had no substance in me. I have often wondered if I will be a fun person to be around and I wondered if I would be brave enough to step in front of the camera without substance. But the clarity I gained after getting sober gave me strength to do what I do.”
5. “[Pulp Fiction] is the film I can’t run from, and I don’t – I embrace it. Somewhere, every day, somebody does the ‘what do they call a quarterpounder with cheese in France’ line. Now I gain five to 10 million new fans a year because of that movie, because kids are discovering it as they come of age.”
6. On A Time to Kill: “How the … did I not get an Academy Award for that?!”
7. “[Quentin Tarantino] will send me scripts and ask for my opinion. That’s the beauty of working with Quentin, he understands the value of rehearsal time. We rehearsed Pulp Fiction for a least a month before filming started, same with Hateful Eight. [Tarantino] has the most creative film sets I’ve ever seen. There’s nothing with an on/off switch except for the camera so no one’s on their phones between takes. He’ll play music a lot, anything from opera to James Brown, so we sing and dance a lot.”
8. “I think of myself as someone who gives people the opportunity to get away from their lives for two hours. I choose movies that are entertaining to me, or one I would have seen as a kid, like King Kong.”
9. “I am who I am. I remember when the US still had apartheid, I was part of it – there were places I couldn’t go. I’m not bitter though, I just understand more than most people. Like with the election, I get it. I understand who these people are who want to make America great again.”
10. “The Muslim community is a vital part of our country – there’s less crime, more education, their businesses are thriving. To those who think otherwise I say pick up a Quran, you might actually learn something.”
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