August 2002
Sam Jackson : The Man

Interviewed by Monikka Stallworth

Sam Jackson : The Man

Sam Jackson exudes an air of balanced humility and confidence. He doesnít bother with the typical Hollywood fanfare Ė no entourage, no conceit. Heís an accessible man with charisma and charm. We met in Beverly Hills to talk about his latest film XXX.

MS: Did being in such a high-action movie fulfill any childhood fantasies?

SJ: From the first time I saw a Bond movie, I wanted to be James Bond.

MS: In XXX, as Agent Gibbons, youíre more like James Bondís boss -

SJ: Well, yeah, but thereís something about Agent Gibbons that we donít know yet or havenít been told and you know heís a very dangerous character in an interesting sort of way, very worldly, intelligent, heís well-spoken, heís well-dressed, but heís lethal.

MS: Why did you and Vin decide to work together?

SJ: The first time Vin & I met, we were able to laugh together and talk about some serious topics and just kind of be normal together and natural. Sometimes you just meet certain people and you click in a certain kind of way and you know that when you find yourself in a dramatic situation with them its going to be a give and take.

MS: The audience reacted quite well to XXX Ė they screamed the loudest whenever Vin took his shirt off Ė

SJ: Well, tattoos tend to do that. (chuckling) Vin has this bubbling undercurrent of danger about him thatís always there and that hasnít quite exploded yet. Thereís a mysterious quality that creates this thing and audiences respond to that.

MS: Any similarities between you and Vin?

SJ: His drive, his intensity, his joy for coming to work and his preparation.

MS: What are your feelings about working with new talent?

SJ: I think itís incumbent upon me to interact with the next generation of actors that are coming up.

MS: What about alongside hip-hop artists?

SJ: Iíve worked in movies that have rappers in them and I didnít have a problem with that. I donít cast the movies. But I do think that if somebodyís building a film around some rapper and they come to me with it, I have a right to say no. I donít have to validate their careers by joining them in their acting escapades. There are kids that are going to Julliard and NYU and the Actorís Studio that Iíd be more than happy to validate or work with. Acting is a craft Ė not a whim.

MS: Do you think that you will eventually get into directing films?

SJ: I see directing as the natural outgrowth of what I do. But Iím still very passionate about acting.

MS: What is it about acting that fuels your passion?

SJ: It gives me a chance to get outside of myself and take the kinds of risks that you donít normally take in your day to day life. I have a chance to remove myself and become this other person thatís braver than me, sometimes shyer than I am, sometimes a bit more colorful than I am and I can do it with the relative safety of a controlled environment.