Samuel L. Jackson, The Tarantino Roles

24-samuel-l-jackson-lede-mobile                                                   Samuel L. Jackson

TARANTINO’S LEADING MAN: Great profile of Samuel L. Jackson on New York magazine’s Vulture site today, concentrating on his history with director Quentin Tarantino. Six collaborations and a quarter century of working together have produced some memorable characters.

Before their first film PULP FICTION, Sam had auditioned for Quentin for RESERVOIR DOGS. Sam was a seasoned theater veteran at this point, and had just burst onto big screens in Spike Lee’s JUNGLE FEVER, for which Sam had just won the Best Supporting Actor award at Cannes.

“He’d shown up to casting for this unknown screenwriter’s first feature having memorized a scene he thought he’d be playing with Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel,” writes Jada Yuan..”Instead, he got stuck reading with two bozos he’d never seen before, who didn’t know their lines and couldn’t stop laughing. ‘I didn’t realize it was Quentin, the director-writer, and Lawrence Bender, the producer,’ says Jackson, ‘but I knew that the audition was not very good.’ He didn’t get the job.”

“It wasn’t until RESERVOIR DOGS’ notorious premiere at the Sundance Film Festival the following January that Jackson saw Tarantino again. Half the audience had fled amid all that gleeful gore; Jackson went up afterward to shake Tarantino’s hand. ‘He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember you. How’d you like the guy who got your part?’ ’ says Jackson. ‘I was like, ‘Really? I think you would have had a better movie with me in it.’ '(Let it be known that Jackson’s well-honed Tarantino impression sounds like an unholy amalgam of Gollum, Joe Pesci in GoodFellas, and the Looney Tunes Road Runner.)”

This clip from INSIDE THE ACTOR’S STUDIO features Sam doing his impression of Quentin, whom he calls “Mr. Enthusiasm.”

Vulture continues the story: Two weeks after the RESERVOIR DOGS premiere, “a brown paper package arrived. The images of two gangsters were printed on the front, and a note inside read, ‘If you show this script to anyone, we’ll show up at your door next week and kill you.’ It was Pulp Fiction, whose Bible-quoting hit man ‘in a transitional period,’ Jules Winnfield, would make Jackson a household name at age 46. But only after someone in casting greeted Jackson as ‘Mr. Fishburne,’ and he got so pissed off he murdered his audition.” The rest is history. 20-samuel-l-jackson-john-travolta-pulp-fiction.nocrop.w529.h373.2x            John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson in PULP FICTION. pulp-fiction-pulp-fiction-13197588-1920-810                            As Jules Winnfield in PULP FICTION.

Jackson’s next Tarantino character was the arms dealer Ordell Robbie in JACKIE BROWN, which is Sam’s favorite role in the Tarantino-verse. “I think he would be a great guy to hang out with — as long as you didn’t cross him,” Jackson says20-samuel-l-jackson-jackie-brown.nocrop.w529.h373.2x                                                  In JACKIE BROWN.

004KBT_Samuel_L_Jackson_002                            As a piano player in KILL BILL: VOL. 2

samuel-l-jackson-django                                As Stephen in DJANGO UNCHAINED.

These roles are remarkable for their variety, and spring from a relationship between director and actor that transcends the normal definition of those roles. The two “are the cinematic equivalent of an old married couple,” writes Yuan. “‘Quentin and I have a kind of cinematic affinity,’ says Jackson. They discovered it on the set of Pulp Fiction when Jackson was doing his usual binge of Asian movies. ‘Quentin would walk by my trailer, and he would always hear the sounds of either kung-fu fighting or bullets going off, and he would look in the door and say, ‘What are you watching?’ ’ says Jackson. They also realized they’d both spent much of their comic-book-obsessed childhoods in Tennessee in the care of their grandparents, and to this day they do regular movie nights at Tarantino’s house, because, says Jackson, ‘he’s got a bigger theater.’ ”

The next movie from the pair is THE HATEFUL EIGHT. Jackson plays Major Marquis Warren, an ex-slave and veteran of  the Union Army. The film is both a shoot-’em-up and a whodunit. Tarantino and Jackson have taken to calling Marquis “Hercule Negro, like Hercule Poirot,” says Jackson, “because he is a bit of a detective.”the-hateful-eight-samuel-l-jackson-01-636-380              As Major Marquis Warren in THE HATEFUL EIGHT.

Tim Roth sums up the creative collaboration between Jackson and Tarantino: “It feels, to me, that Quentin’s leading man is Sam,” says Roth, an original Reservoir Dog and a member of the Hateful Eight. “And I think that’s an extraordinary circumstance, for a white man, however talented, to be able to write for a leading man, a black actor, and give him such a range of roles.”

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What Does Bill Murray Smell Like? This Scratch-N-Sniff Will Let You Find Out

3049769-slide-s-1-a-scratch-n-sniff-guide-to-bill-murray                                         Life Aquatic by Sabrina Elliot

“A NEW BOOK ALLOWS YOU TO BASK IN THE REDOLENT BOUQUET OF A HOLLYWOOD TREASURE.” writes John Brownlee at Fast Company.

3049769-slide-s-3-a-scratch-n-sniff-guide-to-bill-murray                                   Lost in Translation by Henry Kaye

“Bill Murray is one of the most elusive and enigmatic actors in Hollywood, but what does he smell like? Cook Your Own Food is a new scratch and sniff tribute to the Ghostbusters and Scrooged actor that allows you to bask in Murray’s fragrant, ever-changing musk. It’s the literary equivalent of sticking your head under Murray’s armpit and inhaling deeply.”

3049769-slide-s-4-a-scratch-n-sniff-guide-to-bill-murray                                Moonrise Kingdom by Witzje Valkemar

“Published by the self-described “nomadic publisher” Sugoi Press, Cook Your Own Food – A Bill Murray Scratch And Sniff features 10 different pages drawn by 10 different artists featuring 10 different smells inspired by an assortment of Bill Murray films. It’s the next best thing to using a time machine to travel back to the set of his best movies and smell him for yourself.”

3049769-slide-s-2-a-scratch-n-sniff-guide-to-bill-murray                                      Lost in Translation by Grace Danico

“One page illustrated by Grace Danico featuring Bill Murray’s Suntory hawking character in Lost in Translation might smell like whiskey; another page, illustrating the scene from the same movie when Murray and Scarlett Johansson go out for dinner, would smell like sushi. Other pages feature smells from Moonrise Kingdom, Groundhog’s Day, The Life Aquatic, What About Bob? and more.”

3049769-slide-s-5-a-scratch-n-sniff-guide-to-bill-murray                                     What about Bob by Jon Boam

“But why Bill Murray, of all people? “Bill Murray really lends himself to re-interpretation,” says John Jarvis of Sugoi Press. “He has everything: the sadness, the hilarity, the weight. You just need to turn on your laptop and you’re bombarded with illustrations of him. We wanted to add a layer on top, bring people closer to him. So now you can eat sushi with him, chomp on apples with him, and eat a Baby Ruth with him.”

You can buy a copy of Cook Your Own Food – A Bill Murray Scratch And Sniff now from Sugoi Press for a little under $10 here.”

The Sugoi site  says “Feel closer to the greatest man alive! Delve into his scenes, drink with him, laugh with him and smell as he smells.We’ve brought together some amazing artists to re-interpret some classic Bill Murray films. Focusing on his culinary habits.Scratch the smelly pads at the top right and enter the world of Bill Murray.”

Great Buzz for STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

nwa-biopic-postersThe word is that STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, F. Gary Gray’s telling of the early years of NWA, is great.

Reviews are good; Variety’s Scott Foundas says “Director F. Gary Gray turns the meteoric rise and fractious fall of rap supergroup N.W.A. into a sprawling, exhilarating Los Angeles hip-hop epic.”

Lizzie Plaugic writes in The Verge review: “The movie’s Compton backdrop gives it a heavy atmosphere, but one in which levity can still be found, and when its jokes land — which is often — relief rushes in with the laughter. The relatively unknown cast rises to the incredible challenge of portraying some of the most recognizable people in the music industry. As Eazy-E, Jason Mitchell is by turns thick-headed, cunning, kind, infuriating, and fragile. Corey Hawkins plays Dr. Dre with an easy intelligence that would’ve made him look like an undoubtable force even if we didn’t already know the man he would turn out to be (He cries twice during the movie; so did I). O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Ice Cube’s real life son, who looks almost exactly like his dad on screen) plays Cube with a humanity that makes him seem both familiar and untouchable.”

And the advance word of mouth coming out of the audience preview screenings is enthusiastic; check out these tweets:

n-STRAIGHT-OUTTA-COMPTON-large570Ice Cube, F. Gary Gray, Dr. Dre

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON opens August 14.