"I'm the $6billion man!"
Matt Adcock meets Samuel L. Jackson
In strolls Samuel L. Jackson – the epitome of cool and still looking very good for his 56 years. Moments before he arrives at the Dorchester Hotel in London I am told that he has this month (Feb’ 05) become the highest grossing actor in the world, having overtaken Harrison Ford to take the top spot with combined film grosses of over $6billion – a truly staggering achievement.
So how does he feel about that?
“You know, it’s a kind of dubious honour, but hopefully it will mean something. I don't think it's going to make someone pay me more money, but it kind of cements my place in cinema history.”
Master of the understatement then, he’s in the UK to promote his new film Coach Carter, based on the real life tale of the basketball coach who worked to inspire his team to achieve academically as well as on the court (and locked the team out of the gym when they let their grades slip). I ask if he had any of his teachers in mind when playing Ken Carter?
“Young men need teachers that challenge them to perform and I certainly had those. There is a good feeling that comes from having a teacher tell you ‘You did a job there, you did well’ – that is a great feeling of satisfaction. Making my teachers proud made me feel better so that was an important part of it.”
And are you like the real Ken Carter at all?
“Well we’re both snappy dressers! That guy coached basketball in a shirt and suit – so I played it like that although I guess his suits probably didn’t cost as much as mine. We kept his flamboyant taste in ties though.”
How did you feel about the film’s message?
“The message that life is more than just about winning is important – kids need to be inspired to enrich their lives with education so that when the winning is over you still have something. The community in Richmond who opposed Carter were more interested in the immediate gratification of their team winning. But having said that, winning is important. I went to a Liverpool football game, it ended 0-0 and people were like ‘yeah!’ – what’s that about, a game should be won or lost right?”
You have another big film opening in a couple of months – how was playing Jedi Mace Windu?
“It’s wish-fulfilment stuff. It's rousing and I got to keep my light sabre. I asked George if I could keep it and he said ‘of course’. The guys from the props dept even inscribed the letters BMF (Pulp Fiction reference) on it at the end of filming.”
Nice, and whilst on other topics, I’ve heard that you like British TV?
“I love ‘The Office’ and have that series on DVD. Actually I’m going to be doing an episode of ‘Extras’ while I’m over here” (Extras is Ricky Gervais’ new TV show about people who work behind the scenes in show business). Gervais apparently said: "Tell him Ricky Gervais wants him. The weather here is bad, we're really badly paid and I make things up as I go along - if he doesn't jump at that, then he's a fool!"
But Jackson is nobody’s fool and it is surely his willingness to make such a diverse range of films and TV shows that is the reason he’s the world’s no.1!!
Click here to read: Matt Adcock's Film Reviews