Tag Archives: Harvey Keitel

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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Happy Birthday Dwayne Johnson—Here are The Rock’s Best Comedy Moments

DwyaneJohnsonBallerIn honor of Dwayne Johnson’s birthday,  Bill Bradley at Huffington Post is celebrating 10 of The Rock’s best moments. But Bradley missed my favorite: the “Bring It On” scene from BE COOL.

Everyone talks about Dwayne’s ability to bring intensity to action movies; he earned the nickname “Franchise Viagra” after he injected new life into FAST FIVE  and GI JOE: RETALIATION .

Not enough appreciation is shown for Dwayne’s comedic skills. In this hilarious scene from the sequel to GET SHORTY, he steals the spotlight from John Travolta and Uma Thurman. Gay Samoan bodyguard Elliot Wilheim (portrayed by The Rock} breaks into Edy’s (Thurman) house to demand an impromptu acting audition from Chili Palmer (Travolta), who has become a Hollywood film producer. Elliot performs a scene from BRING IT ON. He also does the People’s Eyebrow, his signature gesture from his days in the WWF/E. Check it out:

Dwayne commits fully to the character. Notice how closely he listens and reacts to every word Travolta says. Dwayne is one hundred percent invested in the scene, and that makes him very funny.

BE COOL also stars Vince Vaughn, Harvey Keitel, Cedric the Entertainer, Andre Benjamin (aka Andre 3000), Danny DeVito, Steven Tyler and Christina Milian.

HuffPo’s 10 best moments include other comic high points:

1) When he lip-synced to Taylor Swift’s SHAKE IT OFF on Lip Sync Battle, pitting his skills against Jimmy Fallon :

2) The time he played ukelele and sang “What a Wonderful World:”

3) When he turns into The Rock Obama:

Head on over to HuffPo to see the other 7.

Happy Birthday Dwayne!

dwayne-johnson-slice1

 

Cannes 2015 – “You never look as ugly as you do in a selfie”

2015-cannes-film-festival-poster-fb-640x320

The lineup for the Cannes Film Festival 2015 was announced today in Paris. The festival begins on May 13 with a jury chaired by Joel and Ethan Coen.

Reportage of the announcement has been varied, but the most unique news item concerns selfies. The Telegraph leads its article with the festival’s ban of red-carpet selfies, quoting festival director Thierry Frémaux: “We think it’s ridiculous and grotesque and really slows things down,” he officially declared, adding, “you never look as ugly as you do in a selfie.”

As always there is a wide ranging mix of international films and stars on display. Some outlets celebrate actors, others auteurs.  People zeroes in on the stars in attendance, under the banner “Charlize Theron, Emma Stone, Natalie Portman Headline Star-Studded Festival Slate.” The article goes on to mention Joaquin Phoenix, Matthew McConaughey, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jesse Eisenberg, Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin, Benicio Del Toro, Salma Hayek,  Rachel Weisz and others. The Huffington Post, on the other hand, concentrates on “cinema heavyweights including China’s Jia Zhangke, Italy’s Paolo Sorrentino and the United States’ Gus Van Sant.”

No surprise to see the parochial nature of some of the journalism; national interests drive regional reporting. The Guardian sulks, bemoaning the almost total absence of British directors: “Asif Kapadia’s documentary Amy, about Amy Winehouse, has been selected for a midnight screening, but there are no British directors elsewhere.”

Down Under, news.com.au cheers on Cate Blanchett and Naomi Watts. Strangely, the Aussie site also promotes the out of competition screening of George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road” with a photo of Mel Gibson, who originated the role, instead of a photo of Tom Hardy, who stars in this reboot.

Variety notes that “Asia will enjoy its strongest competition presence in some time with Our Little Sister,” a Japanese comicstrip adaptation from Hirokazu Kore-eda; “Mountains May Depart,” a three-part drama from mainland Chinese auteur Jia Zhangke; and “The Assassin,” a long-gestating martial-arts epic from Taiwan’s Hou Hsiao-hsien. Cannes 2015 also looks to be a robust edition for Italian filmmakers, with Palme bridesmaids Matteo Garrone (“The Tale of Tales,” a lavish, effects-driven fantasy starring Salma Hayek, Vincent Cassel and John C. Reilly) and Sorrentino (“Youth,” toplining Michael Caine and featuring Weisz, Jane Fonda, Paul Dano and Harvey Keitel) duking it out with Palme laureate Nanni Moretti, back with his semi-autobiographical drama “My Mother.”

The official festival poster features Ingrid Bergman this year. Some journalists, such as Brad Brevet at Rope of Silicon, are underwhelmed by this design, preferring the style of  posters from the past few years. 2014 presented Marcello Mastroianni, 2013 had a great photo of Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, 2012 delivered a striking shot of Marilyn Monroe, and 2011 showed a sophisticated Faye Dunaway. Each one combines text and image in a powerful graphic interplay. Each one epitomizes cinematic glamour; no selfies here. Check them out below: 2014-cannes-film-festival-poster2013-cannes-film-festival-poster cannes-poster-2012-marilyn-monroe_02282012_234555 cannesposterlargecannes_2015