Often called 'the hardest working man in Hollywood', today Samuel L. Jackson celebrates another year and we want to wish him a very happy birthday. For the past 25 years, he's been in almost 100 films. That's an incredible amount for any actor let alone an actor starting out so late in his career. It was in 1988 when Jackson, at age 40, was cast in an early Spike Lee film called School Daze, followed by Coming to America as 'hold-up man', Do the Right Thing as 'Mister Senor Love Daddy' and then Sea of Love as 'Black guy'. If you peruse his IMDb page, you'll see the bit roles keep coming in films like Def By Temptation, The Exorcist III and Jungle Fever.
And then he met Mr. Quentin Tarantino. It's fair to say that was a turning point for his fame and fortune. To think this partnership almost didn't happen, to think Jackson almost lost the role of Jules Winnfield to actor Paul Caulderon - it's worth hearing the 'almost didn't happen' story yourself as recounted by Jackson in a Pulp Fiction Vanity Fair spread. Here's what happened after a first round of auditions and promises turned into doubts and callbacks.
I sort of was angry, pissed, tired. When they (producers) came back, a line producer or somebody who was with them said, 'I love your work, Mr. Fishburne.' It was like a slow burn. He doesn’t know who I am? I was kind of like, Fuck it. At that point I really didn't care.RICHARD GLADSTEIN (producer)
In comes Sam with a burger in his hand and a drink in the other hand and stinking like fast food. Me and Quentin and Lawrence were sitting on the couch, and he walked in and just started sipping that shake and biting that burger and looking at all of us. I was scared shitless. I thought that this guy was going to shoot a gun right through my head. His eyes were popping out of his head. And he just stole the part.LAWRENCE BENDER
He was the guy you see in the movie. He said, 'Do you think you're going to give this part to somebody else? I'm going to blow you motherfuckers away.'
When Jackson was waiting to find out if Tarantino cast him in Pulp, he was shooting the film Fresh.
Finally, Jackson heard the great news. He would be Jules Winnefield and Bender assured him this scene sealed the deal. "When Jackson came to the final scene in the diner, where Jules quotes the Bible, his acting became so real, so angry, that the actor reading with him lost his place."
After Pulp, Jackson and Tarantino continued working together on three more films including Jackie Brown, Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Django Unchained. Currently, the dynamic duo are shooting their fourth movie together, The Hateful Eight with Jackson playing your new favorite character, Major Marquis Warren. We saw a Live Read of Hateful earlier this year and Jackson's Warren has some epic Tarantino dialogue and monologues you'll be quoting in no time. Even Jackson couldn't contain himself when reading an explicit blow-job monologue, saying, "I can't believe I'm reading this - oh the visuals."
In an interview with Globe and Mail, Jackson explained why he works so hard.
I grew up in a house where the adults went to work every day. The fact that I just happen to be an actor - with an interesting kind of job - doesn't mean there's any reason to ease off. I think I should be able to go and do it every day. I have stuff going on around me all the time. I feed off that.
Here's to many more years of work from one of our favorite actors. Enjoy more of Jackson's amazing performances in our clip gallery and YouTube channel and vote for your favorite Jackson character in the poll below.
Jackie BrownYour Ass Used To Be Beautiful
Jackie BrownThe Surprise Element
Jackie BrownLittle Surfer Gal
Pulp FictionA Miracle
Pulp FictionBig Kahuna Burger
Pulp Fiction20 Second Recap
Pulp FictionBMF Wallet
Pulp Fiction20 Great Moments
Pulp FictionRoyale With Cheese
Jackie BrownI'm Impressed!
Watch more clips of Samuel L. Jackson on our Miramax YouTube channel.