Samuel L. Jackson: “Everyone has become a TV star” [exclu]

samuel l jackson

Recently honored with an honorary Oscar, the actor is unfaithful to the movies with the Apple TV + mini-series, The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, where he plays an old man with dementia…

PREMIERE: You had avoided the series so far, but there you go The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray and Secret Invasion from Marvel next year. At 73, did you suddenly have a revelation?
: Ha ha, not at all! When I started, it was totally different to be a TV star or a movie star. There was a ditch, no more U-turns possible. Well, once in a while you had a Bruce Willis who started in a series and exploded in the movies… It was still super rare. Things took another turn with The Sopranos, The Wire Where Boardwalk Empire, but these series were mainly populated by very good supporting roles in cinema. The big stars, they stayed warm in the movies. The pandemic has changed everything: cinemas closed, actors unable to shoot for the big screen… And boom, everyone gathered on streaming platforms, everyone became a TV star. So you become a performer again more than a film actor, and that’s fine. I always thought that I had the right to navigate between TV, cinema, the stage…

What you have never really done!

(Laughs.) No, it’s true. I guess I could have pushed for that, but I was in a certain comfort: my agents always made sure that a new movie was waiting for me as soon as I had finished another one. It’s been a long time since I had to fight for a role.

Samuel L. Jackson disgusted that Jonah Hill is ruder than him!

But you were thinking about adapting Ptolemy Gray since a long time.

I read the book about ten years ago, and the character has always had something very cinematic for me. This guy who is in a total haze and has the option of regaining his sanity while he finds his nephew’s murderer, I thought to myself that it was a really good role. And then… My grandfather, my mother, my uncle and my aunt all had dementia or Alzheimer’s. It made it something very personal, almost on a genetic level. What I especially wanted to show is this terrible thing about expecting something from someone who is no longer able to give it to you. And the shame, frustration, sadness and anger that this generates in the patient. The hardest part was finding the right balance so that the audience wasn’t so overwhelmed that they couldn’t watch the sequel. Stay for episode 2, he becomes lucid again!

You were saying lately that you should have won the Oscar for pulp Fictionand that black actors were only rewarded when they did “ the worst crap on screen. »

Yup. We give the Oscar to Denzel Washington for Training Day and not for Malcolm X

It would be different if pulp Fiction was coming out today?

I don’t know. What I can tell you is that I’m meeting more and more young people of color who are directors, screenwriters, cinematographers… There’s more and more diversity on that side. Not just people who absolutely want to shine in front of the camera. In my opinion, this is also how we move the lines.

The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, a mini-series to watch on Apple TV+ from March 11, 2022.

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