In Quentin Tarantino’s newest film, “Django Unchained,” Samuel L. Jackson plays a character who represents a more ambiguous characteristic of slavery: a loyal slave.
“He lives a better life than all of them and he does feel superior because he can read, he can write. He has privileges that they don’t have,” Jackson told WNYC’s Leonard Lopate. “But he’s also smart enough to know that if he steps off that property he becomes just like those other people.”
The film explores slavery in America through eyes of a freed slave, Django, played by Jamie Foxx, who works with a bounty hunter as he tries to reunite with his still enslaved wife, played by Kerry Washington. Jackson plays the role of loyal slave to a brutal plantation owner, played by Leonardo DiCaprio.
He says he didn’t think twice about playing the part when Tarantino approached him about the role.
“We kind of talked about it for a second and I was like ‘So you waited 15 years to late to let me be Django and now you want me to be the most hated negro in cinematic history?’ and he was like ‘uh, ya.” So, I was like ok,” he said.
The film, which opens on Christmas, received five Golden Globe nominations.
Listen to Leonard Lopate’s full interview with Samuel L. Jackson here.