If you happen to be in New York City this weekend, stop by The Film Society of Lincoln Center for their retrospective, Foxy: The complete Pam Grier. Grier will be at the three-day event for discussions and Q&A's. Programmer Josh Strauss aimed to highlight many points of Grier's iconic career, saying this goes, "far beyond the genre of Blaxploitation. She has continued to serve as a muse and inspiration for many filmmakers since culminating in her critically lauded turn in Quentin Tarantino's classic noir Jackie Brown."
Grier pays homage to the role that made her famous in Quentin Tarantino's Jackie Brown (1997) as a sexy flight attendant who makes a little extra dough on the side by smuggling money from Mexico to the U.S. for Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), a gun-runner. As Tarantino goes, Jackie Brown is full to the brim with wit and maniacal charm. In his review, Roger Ebert declared "whoever is the smartest will live" and Grier's Jackie Brown is one smart lady.
Grier's early work and tag line for the movie Coffy gave her the nickname "baddest one-chick hit-squad that ever hit town." The name stuck and she continued to work in Blaxploitation films during the 70's - all films and roles that influenced Tarantino and led up to him chasing her down a busy LA street to get her address to send a script her way. According to her autobiography, 'Foxy: My Life in Three Acts', a few weeks went by and she still didn't have the script until it eventually showed up at the post office.
It took me a few days to find the time to claim my package, on which there was 44 cents due. I paid and they handed me a manila envelope. Quentin's return address was scribbled on the left-hand corner in what I assumed was his own handwriting, and inside was a script entitled Jackie Brown. He had sent it weeks ago, but they had been unable to deliver it because there was money due.
Movieline talked with Grier about working with Tarantino on Jackie Brown.
Well, the fact that the film had legs because of the wonderful talent of Quentin Tarantino and his ensemble and the film that he invested two years of his life to write for me -- and for me, I wrote a journal of how wonderful it was to work on the film. My experience was very emotional; I wouldn't reveal it to other people. It's very sentimental, on and off camera. Moments, Quentin's direction, and how he worked with me and other actors, his belief in me... but I really believe that if I hadn't done theater and that process of rehearsal, because when you're on stage people are eating sandwiches, sneezing, there are noises and you can't lose that focus. So that prepared me to work at his level of intensity. Jackie Brown meant a lot. I would always say, 'If I never work again, I have been to the mountaintop.' This was an extraordinary experience with someone who loves films.
Visit Lincoln Center's site for a full list of the screenings and complete retrospective schedule.
Own Jackie Brown, part of the Tarantino XX: 8-Film Collection, which celebrates Tarantino's 20 years of filmmaking here.