He might not have received the memo yet, but there really is nothing else for Samuel L. Jackson to prove in the Hollywood game any more. Having been a mainstay on our screens for decades, the veteran actor surpassed all records in 2009 when his films grossed more combined than any other performer in history.
But such landmarks are not a concern for Jackson, venturing forward with more projects than men half his age could handle. Appearing in the action comedy The Hitman's Bodyguard alongside Ryan Reynolds, Jackson spoke with The Sydney Morning Herald about his inspiration to keep working on his craft and what we can expect from him next.
SLJ: People Want To Be Provoked Through Laughter and Mystery
As the in-depth conversation started with his most recent work, Jackson described how his connection with co-star Reynolds would come to be.
"I watched Ryan for a good while," he says. "I know he has this quick wit, so when the idea was tossed to me and they said it was Ryan I thought, well, this should be great. I tend to try to bring a lot of humour to what I do just because of what I think about movies and what they should be."
Despite the title not enjoying a great reception with critics, he explained that the comedy world is something that draws him in. All other problems can be put to one side with a good laugh after all.
"I think making people laugh is the essence of what people want to go to the movies for, to escape the humdrum or depression of their lives, whatever. When you go to the movies, you kind of want to leave with a smile on your face... I would rather do a crime movie or an adventure than a story based on two people breaking up and hashing it out on screen. That is not entertaining. It's stressful."
Having spent time in both realms, Jackson argues that the theater only caters to those specifically searching for it. As far as he is concerned, the movies are the place for him.
"Theatre is a whole other kind of thing where you are allowed to explore the human condition in a whole different way and its specific audience chooses to go and see that. When I think of going to the movies, I like mysteries more than I like to see people bopping heads in some sort of relationship issue. I've been married for 37 years, I know what that is."
Jackson Went To Escape At The Movies. He Still Does
What makes Jackson so interesting as a figure is his continual involvement with large scale blockbusters. From features in the MCU to this year's MonsterVerse take on Kong: Skull Island, the actor explained that his early childhood fascination with mystery, fiction and adventure has stayed with him till this day.
"I went to the movies to see a different world that was not mine, where I could let my mind go and be part of a western scenario or even a war scenario or a comedy scenario or a horror scenario," he recalled. "When they told me there was going to be a King Kong movie and they wanted me to be in it, I said, 'Where do I sign up?' I've been running from King Kong since I was a kid. We pretended King Kong was chasing us!"
At 68 and with the body of work that is behind him, there is no need for Jackson to keep working to this degree. But for Jackson, it just comes naturally.
"You like writing so you get up and write," he said. "Painters get up and paint. So why wouldn't an actor get up and act? People say why do you work so much? And I say, when I was a young actor in the theatre I was always doing a play, auditioning for a play and rehearsing a play. I was used to working all the time. It just so happens that I now know what my next three jobs are – and I try to keep it that way."
Source: Sydney Morning Herald