Samuel L. Jackson has revealed he was racially profiled by police officers in 1993, when he was in the midst of filming Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction.
The actor sat down with Vanity Fair to share his own experiences of the black identity within Hollywood, relaying a particular incident that took place during a brief break from filming. "In the interim, I did a play at the Coast Playhouse, on Santa Monica Boulevard, an old, 99-seat theater," Jackson described. "One night, after the play, I went with some friends to a restaurant down the street, Hugo’s."
"When we were done, we walked outside and stood on the corner for a while, just talking. All of a sudden, five sheriff’s cars screeched up. The policemen surrounded us, guns pointed, lights in our face: 'Get on the ground!' There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard. I finally said to the cops, 'Why are you doing this?'"
"One of them said, 'Oh, we got a report of five black guys standing on the corner with guns and bats.' I said, 'So when you pulled up and didn’t see a bat—I mean, maybe we could’ve had a gun concealed on us, but you didn’t see anything that looked like a bat. What-ever.'"
"I was thinking to myself, I’m in Hollywood now, on the verge of breaking through, and this is still going on. It kind of put my feet back on the ground in terms of 'O.K., you’re still just another n****r working in town, so you still got to walk softly.' And I still do. Just an object lesson for life in L.A."
Quentin Tarantino's best cameos
Quentin Tarantino's best cameos
1/7 Jimmie Dimmick in Pulp Fiction (1994)
Here he plays Jimmie Dimmick, who gets caught up in Vincent and Jules’ body disposing and panics over how on earth he’s going to get rid of the bloody evidence before his wife gets home.
2/7 Mr Brown in Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Tarantino opens Reservoir Dogs as Mr Brown, talking about Madonna hit ‘Like a Virgin’, before later being shot in the head, crashing his car and dying. Brief, but dramatic.
3/7 Miner in Django Unchained (2013)
Tarantino's Django cameo is much maligned. His Aussie miner appeared somewhat randomly in his first Western movie, before blowing himself up with his own dynamite.
4/7 Warren in Death Proof (2007)
Warrens owns the Texas Chili Parlour bar in this thriller about the murders of four women at the hands of a crazed stuntman. His own jukebox can be seen in the scene.
5/7 Pick-up guy in Desperado (1995)
Not one of his own films, but Tarantino did a favour for director Robert Rodriguez and agreed to a cameo. He wrote the three-minute long wee joke that he tells before being being killed.
6/7 Elvis impersonator in The Golden Girls (1988)
Not technically a cameo, but too funny not to include. Before his career kicked off, Tarantino played an Elvis impersonator on a 1988 episode of Golden Girls.
7/7 Dead Nazi in Inglourious Basterds (2009)
In this one he is a dead Nazi being scalped. Lovely.
Indeed, to put Jackson's story in context; his role as Jules Winnfield in Tarantino's film went on to earn the actor an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, and helped to cement his total rise to fame.
He also discussed his longstanding friendship with Sidney Poitier, his background in theatre in the '70s and '80s, and his own penchant for golf.
The actor features in the upcoming The Legend of Tarzan, which hits UK theatres 8 July.
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