Sam Jackson’s Playboy Q&A is the best motherf–king thing you’ll ever read

Samuel L. Jackson is “The Interview” in Playboy’s October issue. I find it hard to believe that Playboy has never done an extensive interview with Sam before, because this man (or should I say, this motherf—ker) can TALK. He drops so many f-bombs all the time, but even when his interviews are written down, you can still recognize his poetry and cadences. I don’t want to oversell this interview or anything, but this is going to be the best thing you read all week. Go here to read the full Playboy piece, and here are some wonderful highlights:

Working with Spike Lee after having a falling out years ago: “Working with Spike was just like we’d never stopped. He’s very efficient, knows what he wants and doesn’t get in my way artistically—whatever I come with, I come with, and it’s cool.”

On his Oldboy costar Josh Brolin: “We all do our homework, so beforehand I asked T.L. [Tommy Lee Jones] about Josh because he tolerates no bulls–t whatsoever, and he said, “Ah, great kid.” If T.L.’s down with you, you’re good with me. People who come to a movie set angry, bitter and giving people a hard time? It’s like, f–k, this is supposed to be a great place, a playground. Josh is good, and he understands the fun aspect of the job. When they say “Action,” you get serious. “Cut,” boom. There are a few actors who are like that who are really great, like Julianne Moore. When we were doing Freedomland, Julianne was standing there saying, “Sam, do you watch American Idol? Oh, it’s so great.” They call “Action!” and she’s crying her eyes out; they call “Cut!” and she comes right back over: “As I was saying, this American Idol thing….” She’s amazing.

On not wading into Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee’s beef about Django: “We didn’t have that conversation. One thing I’ve learned is that when I’m hired to do the job, that’s what I do. I did a film [Soul Men] with Bernie Mac that was directed by Spike’s cousin that I didn’t have such a great time doing. We didn’t talk about that either, other than my saying, “How’s he doing?” and Spike answering, “Oh, he’s fine. You guys didn’t get along so well, did you?” “No, we didn’t.” Boom—that was the end of it. One thing had nothing to do with the other. Part of the thing that f–ks with all those people who criticize Quentin for being a “wigger”—even, I guess, Spike—is that they don’t take into account that Quentin’s mom used to go to work and leave him with this black guy downstairs who would take him to these blaxploitation movies. That’s his formative cinema life. He loves those movies. It’s part of him.”

On the stupidity of Spike Lee’s claim that only black directors should make movies about black experiences: “There is this whole thing of “Nobody can tell our story but us,” but that’s apparently not true, because the Jackie Robinson movie finally got made as 42. Spike didn’t make it, but people still went to see it. When Boaz Yakin did Fresh in 1994, all of a sudden it was like, “Who is this Jewish motherf–ker telling our stories?” He’s the Jewish motherf–ker who wrote the story, that’s who. If you got a story like that in you, tell it. We’ll see when [director] Steve McQueen’s movie 12 Years a Slave comes out, if it’ll be like, “What’s this British motherf–ker know about us?” Somebody’s always going to say something.”

Defending Django: “Spike saying “I’m not going to see Django because it’s an insult to my ancestors”? It’s fine if you think that, but then you have nothing else to say about the movie, period, because you don’t know if Quentin insulted your ancestors or not. On the other hand, Louis Farrakhan, who these blackest of black people say speaks the truth and expresses the vitriol of the angry black man, can look at the movie and go, “Godd–n, that’s a great f–king movie. Quentin Tarantino told the truth.” Dick Gregory’s seen the movie 12 f–king times. I respect what they have to say more than anybody else, because they’ve been through it. They walked the walk with Dr. King. Some of the bulls–t criticisms about Django come from people who don’t understand the genre and who didn’t live through that era. They think they need to wave a flag of blackness that they don’t necessarily have the credentials to wave.”

What he would never do for QT: “Probably dress up as a woman and kiss another guy. I don’t think people want to see me do that. He hasn’t asked me, but you know what? If it’s done right and the story is good, I might.”

The film he considers his signature role: “If there were one movie I wanted people to look at, it would be A Time to Kill. It’s an American story and a very Southern story. I’d like people to look at that one and say, ‘Oh my God.’”

He was not a badass when he was young: “Oh hell no, I was not the cool guy growing up. I was bookish. I had a stutter. I wasn’t in the streets with all the other kids. I didn’t dress cool or do cool s–t. I played the trumpet, flute and French horn in the marching band and had great style on the field when we performed, but that wasn’t the cool thing to do. I was popular because I was funny. I definitely didn’t have the hot chicks. The atmosphere in the house was one of love, with a lot of joy, but I also had discipline—and a curfew.

He always loved girls: “In Georgia there was a family of girls who lived through the woods from us, and we all used to meet at this creek and swim naked. I was about 10 or 11. I think two of the girls were about 14, 15, so that’s when it happened. Girls were interesting to me, period. They could be fat, skinny, tall, short, ugly, beautiful—as long as they were willing to do that thing.”

Graduating from Morehouse College: “I wanted to be a marine biologist. That was the influence of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Even today, when they keep talking about doing a new 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, I would kill to play Captain Nemo. I loved Edgar Rice Burroughs as a kid too, and I was going to do a new Tarzan movie with Alexander Skarsgård, but it got canceled.”

He’s fine being the grammar police: “The other day I’m watching this white guy talking to black people on TV, and all of a sudden he’s saying stuff like “Pump your brakes” and “I got you,” these new politically cool terms that kind of came out of hip-hop and blackness. I’m thinking, We do still speak English, right? Though sometimes I wonder. So yeah, it still happens. But the whole language and culture are different now. I’ll be reading scripts and the screenwriter mistakes “your” for “you’re.” On Twitter someone will write, “Your an idiot,” and I’ll go, “No, you’re an idiot,” and all my Twitterphiles will go, “Hey, Sam Jackson, he’s the grammar police.” I’ll take that. Somebody needs to be. I mean, we have newscasters who don’t even know how to conjugate verbs, something Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow never had problems with. How the f–k did we become a society where mediocrity is acceptable?

[From Playboy]

There is so, so much more but this is already a long piece, so just go read the full interview. It’s worth the time. Spend your lunch break reading it and laughing. Sam offers an extremely full-throated defense of Quentin Tarantino, and while the defense is both on-point and hilarious, it’s also moving. You can tell that Sam just LOVES QT. They adore each other and it’s really sweet. Sam also talks a lot about being militant and his politics (he seems to adore Hillary Clinton) and how his daughter is good friends with Anne Hathaway (Sam calls her “Annie Hathaway” too). Sam is so f—king cool. In every way.

Photos courtesy of WENN.

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65 Responses to “Sam Jackson’s Playboy Q&A is the best motherf–king thing you’ll ever read”

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  1. aims says:

    Samuel is bad ass!!

    • V4Real says:

      He’s a real mofo is all I can say. He’s had some of the best lines in movies. If you were playing a game of who said that, Jackson’s lines would definetely stand out. Some of my favorites are.
      “Say what again.”
      “I have had it with these mofo snakes on this mofo plane.”
      “Yes they deserve to die and I hope they burn in hell.”
      “Zeus as in, father of Apollo. Don’t f*ck with me or I’ll shove a lightening bolt up you’re ass!”

  2. Sixer says:

    Do you have national treasures stateside? He’s a national treasure.

  3. DeltaJuliet says:

    “How the f–k did we become a society where mediocrity is acceptable?”

    Tell it, SLJ. Damn he’s just cool. And right.

    • Jules says:

      I love, love, LOVE this man!

    • erni says:

      Oh my! I was almost stop breathing reading that last sentence. He’s bad-ass!

    • I Choose Me says:

      Too f-cking right! I read the entire interview and Sam is the man. I hope to see him on the big screen for many, many years to come.

    • holly hobby says:

      I wonder about that every time we have interviews at work and kids think they can use slang and basically sound illiterate.

      I think it’s “everybody gets a trophy because everybody is a winner” syndrome. Now a days, people are afraid of criticizing their kids because it will “crush” them. Sorry but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Coddling doesn’t equal success.

    • Helena Hand-Basquet says:

      That line right there just made my day. I am not alone.

  4. Sarah says:

    Wow, I loved that

  5. blue marie says:

    That was awesome, so entertaining. I’ll have to go back and read the full article at lunch.

  6. Pastyousayyouneverknew says:

    Never had a negative thing to say about this man, love him.

  7. starrywonder says:

    That was great! I love him being the grammar police too all the while dropping F bombs!!!!

    • Tara says:

      Ikr! People have no f*cking vocabulary anymore, lol.

    • LadyMTL says:

      Well hey, as far as I’m concerned as long as he uses “you’re / your” properly he can drop as many f-bombs as he wants! 😀

      • Sloane Wyatt says:

        Samuel Jackson’s right to have some standards. Using ‘too’ and ‘to’ incorrectly drives me crazy. I also don’t think it’s cool to mangle our language in the pursuit of brevity. Slang is all good though.

        However, I don’t correct other peoples’ grammar because that would be rude.

      • Londerland says:

        Amen! 😀

        Love this guy. So awesome.

  8. Jojo says:

    I like the mythology of Sam Jackson so much better than the man himself. Thats partly to do with how uncomfortable Django with the whole benevolent white man teaches black man how to defeat ‘The Man’ thing.

  9. HK9 says:

    …and THAT is why I love this man. 🙂

  10. T.Fanty says:

    *bows down before motherf*cking greatness*

    That’s all I’ve got to offer.

  11. Tiffany says:

    The man is always a great interview. I watched the Golf Channel to see an interview with him. Yes, the Golf Channel. He really knows how to do a unfiltered interview right.

  12. Thiajoka says:

    I love him so much. Just so much.

  13. Tilly says:

    This is the second interview I have read recently where an actor speaks very highly of Julianne Moore. (The other was Bill Nighy.) She must be pretty awesome.

  14. Kaitlin says:

    I met him back in the day when he and Bruce Willis came into the bar where I worked when they were filming one of the Die Hard movies. Bruce Willis was a tool who came in with a huge entourage and was rude as hell but Samuel Jackson hung out at the bar with the wait staff and was amazing. Will always love that man.

    • Sloane Wyatt says:

      That’s a great story!

    • Claudia says:

      I’m not surprised about Willis, but I’m definitely relieved to hear that Jackson is a nice guy in “real life” too :). Man, he really knows how to give an interview doesn’t he?

      • Kaitlin says:

        Yeah, when he first came in, the bouncer begged him to do the speech from Pulp Fiction where he quotes Ezekiel and he did it and the bouncer just about peed his pants in happiness.

  15. Lucrezia says:

    Wait, Samuel L. Jackson is the grammar police? The same guy who has used 151 unique spellings for motherf*ckr?! (Obviously that link contains NSFW language.)

    I wouldn’t have expected grammatical pedantry from someone with such a avante garde approach to spelling.

  16. HappyMom says:

    I love to read about actors who are intelligent, well educated and have interesting things to say.

  17. menlisa says:

    I just read the whole article.
    I love this man!

  18. d says:

    Thank GOD he’ll take being the Grammar Police. Somebody has to. He is my hero just for that. That is an amazing article; he makes a lot of really great points.

  19. Arock says:

    One of my mother fucking heros. Such a decent person and reflective which is a nice change. People have commented about his use of expletives, but it’s totally context with him. It just fits. No one else is Samuel motherfucking Jackson nor could carry it so well. It saying fuck just feels so right. Fuck yeah.

  20. WendyNerd says:

    The whole controversy comes from perspective, and I like reading Sam Jackson’s perspective. I looked at Django in a similar way I looked at “Blazing Saddles”— hands down one of my favorite movies of all time. The N-word is there A LOT, both were written and directed by white guys, they were both purposely derisive towards racism and basically portrayed racists as awful, moronic people, and were partial tributes to western films. Django was far more serious (though it had its humor) and I think that tone is partly why so many consider it and its use of the N-Word so much more controversial than Blazing Saddles. The racist villains in Blazing Saddles were all just so ridiculous and non-threatening and absurd– who could actually feel intimidated by someone like Hedley Lamarr or William J. Lapetomane? It’s made immediately clear that everything they do is a hilarious failure and you honestly never worry about Bart.

    Calvin Candie was so fucking intimidating because he had real power, actually competent people working for him (even if he wasn’t the brightest bulb), and you see him do some truly graphic, horrifying shit.

    In Django, the N-Word is used in context where there is effective and lasting damage shown, brutality you have to take seriously. In Blazing Saddles, you can’t take any of the stuff the villains say seriously, so the context makes the use of the word seem less threatening.

    It’s like the controversy in hip-hop and the rationalization of “they use the N-Word, why can’t I?” that some people use. When DMX calls out “Where my N****s at?” or whatever, this isn’t a context in which a detestable, truly powerful and threatening person is using that word as he victimizes an entire race of people and uses it as fuel to dominate and exploit. If you’re some stupid kid using it to shock and “crusade for free speech”, then you’re using it with no regard for what it actually means, any sort understanding of its affect, and no sort of connection, community, or interest in real connection to those who have been the target of that word for so long.

    I use curse words, but I still censor slurs. I don’t use them in any form of personal or direct self-expression, and usually only refer to them through euphemism or censorship. I have yet to have a reason to do otherwise. I’m not a racist intending to try and hurt someone or assert power, and I’m not part of a community that has tried to “reclaim” such terms. I have probably been called the N-Word more than I’ve actually uttered it (and yes, I am 98.something white). However, I’m a writer, and if I were to write something that depicts racism, particularly racism towards black people, yes, I would use the N-Word. Sorry, but it’s almost impossible to write a narrative about racism without it. Especially if you’re trying to depict truly hateful, ignorant people. In my mind, truly ignorant racists would use that would ad nauseum because they lack the grace, eloquence and creativity to express themselves otherwise.

    Was hearing the N-Word in Django painful to hear constantly? Certainly. It disgusted me. The use of it was disgusting. But it was disgusting because it needed to be. Tarantino to me wasn’t being ignorant to put it in there.

    When it comes to people of other races telling the story of other races/groups, I think he’s right. Men tell womens’ stories all the time and it isn’t without failure. Gentiles tell stories about Jews. Asians can tell stories about Non-Asians. Can a person of a certain race bring the unique quality of personal experience and connection when telling the stories of their race? Yes, of course. And it is an important quality. But that does make everyone outside that group incapable of telling a true and proper story about those in that group? No.

    The thing I like about Jackson is that he finds the balance between expressing his own opinions while respecting the opinions of others. He’s not afraid to sugar coat things, but he isn’t condescending, hurtful or close-minded. It’s a pretty hard thing to balance. I, personally, suck at it.

  21. missy says:

    He’s so right. People always have to find something to complain about. I love the way he expresses himself. No b.s.

  22. Ag says:

    I love him. And he’s the grammar police – a man after my own heart. 🙂

  23. Relli says:

    Thats awesome to hear how QT came to love blaxploitation movies, you never know where people get their inspiration from. I remember one time someone lookign through my iPod and they were like “dang Relli, if you just looked at you iPod you wouldn’t know what you were becuase you are all over the place.”

  24. embertine says:


  25. Mira says:

    It’s time to watch Pulp Fiction again.

  26. Kaye says:

    He’s awesome. And the fact that he cares about grammar too makes him even more so.

  27. bettyrose says:

    There’s snakes on this mother f’ing plane!

  28. Asiyah says:

    I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but how is it an example of “stupidity” what Spike Lee said about only black directors being able to tell black stories?

  29. holly hobby says:

    I loved A Time to Kill. He was great in it and so was Matthew MacConaghey!

  30. TQB says:

    GO THE F**K TO SLEEP is his best dramatic work.

    Other than being daily awesome, that is.

  31. TQB says:

    PS, you know why I love this blog? If you guys post a story with a superlative description like “best m-f’ing thing you’ll ever read” 9 times out of 10, the post lives up to the hype.

  32. Dotty says:

    I used to design websites, and I love Samuel L Jackson. So, for cooler clients here and there, rather than populate their mock-up website with sample text or the standard “lorem ipsum” garbage, I’d use It is a Samuel L Jackson text generator, and it is AWESOME, just like SLJ.

  33. Denise says:

    Please don’t ever go away.

  34. Lucy2 says:

    He’s awesome.

  35. DottieDot says:

    Amen on the grammar piece!

  36. Nan209 says:

    I will watch anything with SLJ in it. I will watch anything QT has directed.

    I love SLJ! Every since “hold on to your butts” from Jurassic Park I’ve been harboring a celeb crush.

  37. Ell says:

    The interview is awesome.
    A Time to Kill… “Now, imagine she’s white”… still gives me chills.