Samuel L. Jackson sat down for an interview with Vulture in conjunction with Quentin Tarantino’s epic missive with the same outlet. Quentin spoke at length about his distaste for True Detective, his lack of appreciation for a certain “dingbat” journalist, and the casting wins for The Fighter (versus those of The Town). Sam’s piece isn’t as engrossing, but there are still a few gems to be found.
All of this talk promotes The Hateful Eight, which is the sixth movie that Quentin and Sam worked on together. Tim Roth steps into the discussion at one point to call Sam “Quentin’s leading man,” which is quite true. However, Sam is still a little sore about missing out on Reservoir Dogs, but this wasn’t for lack of trying:
He’d shown up to casting for this unknown screenwriter’s first feature having memorized a scene he thought he’d be playing with Tim Roth and Harvey Keitel. Instead, he got stuck reading with two bozos he’d never seen before, who didn’t know their lines and couldn’t stop laughing. “I didn’t realize it was Quentin, the director-writer, and Lawrence Bender, the producer, but I knew that the audition was not very good.”
It wasn’t until Reservoir Dogs‘ notorious premiere at the Sundance Film Festival the following January that Jackson saw Tarantino again. Half the audience had fled amid all that gleeful gore; Jackson went up afterward to shake Tarantino’s hand. “He’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah, I remember you. How’d you like the guy who got your part?'” says Jackson. “I was like, ‘Really? I think you would have had a better movie with me in it.'”
At that meeting, Quentin promised he was writing a role for Sam, which was — of course — the iconic Jules of Pulp Fiction. Thus, a long-term working relationship was born. Sam talks about how he and Quentin “have a kind of cinematic affinity,” so they regularly hold private movie nights in Quentin’s home theater. These two both love kung-fu fighting movies and both enjoyed “comic-book-obsessed childhoods in Tennessee in the care of their grandparents.” All of this common ground can be found, yet Sam still regrets missing out on Dogs. Ah, the film that got away. Which character would he have played, by the way? Surely not Mr. Pink.