They include the cult classic Snakes on a Plane; the award-winning Fresh; Black Snake Moan with co-stars Justin Timberlake and Christina Ricci and the gripping thriller Lakeview Terrace.
In 2009 Guinness World Records named Jackson as the highest-grossing film actor of all time, taking in more than $7.4 billion at the box-office. However, it wasn’t until Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction (1994) – when he was 46 years old – that Jackson broke out as a star in what was his 30th film role. Altogether, Jackson has to date appeared in more than 100 movies.
Samuel L Jackson Movie Month starts on Saturday, September 5 at 21h00, with the cult classic Snakes on a Plane which gives new meaning to cold-blooded terror! When hundreds of venomous snakes invade an ill-fated trans-Pacific flight in this action horror extravaganza, it’s up to Jackson to thwart the twisted scheme of a deadly assassin to eliminate a key witness in an upcoming trial and kick some serpentine asps! Director David Ellis (Cellular and Final Destination 2) ups the velocity in this adrenaline rush of a picture with performances from Rachel Blanchard (Without a Paddle), Julianna Margulies (ER) and Nathan Philips (Wolf Creek).
Jackson reveals that when he heard that there was a film in the works called Snakes on a Plane and that it was actually about poisonous snakes on a plane, he pursued the project and asked for a starring role. He says that aside from the film’s title, the main reason he did the movie was simply because he thought it would be fun – and it was!
Fresh (Saturday, September 12, at 21h00) is a gripping tale that thrilled audiences at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Filmmakers’ Trophy. Twelve-year-old drug runner Fresh (Sean Nelson ) is surrounded by poverty, crime and gang warfare. Occasionally he sees his father (Jackson) who is obsessed with chess. Fresh shares his father’s love of chess and plans to use its tactical knowledge to escape his circumstances.
When ex-blues musician Lazarus (Jackson) finds the town nymphomaniac Rae (Christina Ricci) left for dead on the side of the road, he vows to nurse her back to health and cure her of her wickedness in Black Snake Moan (Saturday, September 19, at 21h00). Until then, she’ll be chained to the immovable radiator in his home. But Lazarus has demons of his own: his wife just left him for his own brother. While Lazarus and Rae struggle to fix their broken lives, the situation threatens to explode as Rae’s boyfriend Ronnie (Justin Timberlake), a roughneck soldier, just back from Iraq, comes searching for his missing lover.
Says Jackson, who had to learn to play the guitar for the role, about working with Timberlake: “The interesting thing to me about Justin is it would have been easy for him to choose something that allowed him to be more Justin Timberlake. Guys, especially young guys, don’t tend to want to portray people who have frailties and are less than macho. It was an interesting choice for him to choose a character that’s so opposite of who most women or guys would want their heroes to be. He wasn’t afraid to do it. He stepped in there and gave it his best shot. It worked for me in the film.”
The last film in Samuel L Jackson Month is Lakeview Terrace (Saturday, September 26, at 21h00). A young couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington from The Fixer) has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbour, who disapproves of their interracial relationship. A stern, single father, this tightly wound LAPD officer (Jackson) has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighbourhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly harassing to the newlyweds. These persistent intrusions into their lives ultimately turn tragic when the couple decides to fight back.
Jackson was raised by his grandfather, a janitor from whom he says he absorbed the following: “I learned a man gets up in the morning, he goes to work. It has given me the work ethic that I have to this day.”
Director Renny Harlin has said the secret to Jackson’s success is simple: “He’s the ultimate pro. He’s on time, knows his lines and hits his mark with no drama. He makes other actors want to rise to his professional level.”
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