Phase9 Entertainment

CHANGING LANES - Q&A with Samuel L Jackson

Movie Interview by Kris Griffiths

PHASE9 catches up with Samuel L Jackson at the London press conference.

What's the worst day you've ever had and what really gets your goat?

It's hard to say what the worst day I've ever had is because, you know, I could attach people's names to that. I guess one of the worst days for me was the first time I had to stand up in rehab and say I'm an addict in front of my wife and daughter. And what really gets my goat? When I go to a grocery store and have two items and get in the line that says 'ten items or less, cash only' and there's a person with fifteen items who wants to write a cheque. That burns my ass.

It's cool that you actually go shopping for groceries...

...I have to cook too sometimes!

Like what?

Whatever I want to eat. If my wife or daughter ain't at home, not that I'd make my daughter cook for me, I have to go shop down the grocery store and cook something.

What's your signature dish?

Hot dogs. I never screw that meal up.

Why did you do the Barclays advert?

I actually love British commercials. I used to go to the movies when I was over here in the eighties just so I could watch those long commercials you guys used to make... so I thought it'd be really cool to be in a unique British ad.

Have you ever been in a car crash?

I've only ever had one car accident and it was as minor as the one in this film. When I first got to LA, I was driving down the street one day when this guy in a pick-up truck braked really quickly in front of me and I drove into the back of him. It was a young kid and there was virtually no damage to the truck but the front of my car was devastated. We exchanged insurance details and went about our business... he was fine and didn't have any injuries. About five months later when I was about to renew my insurance, they told me they weren't going to renew it because they'd had to pay a $10,000 injury claim to this kid. Apparently this kid had gone home, someone had looked at his piece of paper and said, "that's who hit you?" I didn't know I was famous at the time but good for him.

When was the last time you were stopped by a policeman for a motoring offence?

The last time I got stopped was because I didn't have a licence tag on the front of my car around the time they were putting cameras up all over LA. I generally drive a black Porsche, so at night they don't see me.

Have you ever plotted revenge against someone and carried it out?

Of course not! (Laughs) I've had my moments where I've let air out of people's tyres and poured stuff into their gas tanks, but that was when I was younger and a bit more volatile.

In the film you have a brush with bureaucracy and smash up a computer in a bank, something that everyone would love to do...

I like to do that in my own home sometimes...

Does playing these roles release a lot of aggression then?

Oh yes, definitely. It was my intention to take that monitor and throw it through the window but it wasn't our bank and they hadn't bought any replacement windows. But yeah, I get a lot of satisfaction out of doing stuff like that. Sometimes I get to shoot an actor that I really would like to shoot.

Aside from our commercials, are there any other aspects of British life you admire, or dislike?

Well, the food's gotten better since the last time I was here. It's cool now that you can go to the grocery store and they actually give you a bag... the last time I was in one the groceries were just left sitting there on the counter. Where's the bag? 5p and fill it myself? Apart from that, you've got more TV channels now, which is good. I just like being here, I mean, it's cool being in a country that's foreign but where we all speak the same language...

You haven't been to Scotland then?

I've been to Liverpool! (Laughs) No, I understand Scottish people.

You can't go to a West End theatre at the moment without falling over an American actor treading the boards. Is it something you'd like to do in London?

I don't wanna be ridiculed by you guys like those other people have. I read what you lot said about Madonna. I don't know... it would have to be something really interesting and a lot of fun.

One US critic said that if you took all the 'fucks' out of THE 51 ST STATE aka FORMULA 51 it would only be ten minutes long. How do you feel about being Hollywood's most prolific swearer?

I guess it means I have a pretty good command of the language. Swearing is part of the culture and it's part of the language. If you can do it and it sounds melodic and people understand what you're saying, then hey, it's cool.