Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained was released on Christmas day and since then the film has been performing extremely well in ticket sales, currently standing in second place for this weeks box office report. That success could be credited to one character in the movie that sticks out and seems to be the most despicable yet entertaining character of them all. It’s the house slave Stephen, played by Samuel Jackson. The actor has acknowledged that he’s playing perhaps the most hated black character that ever existed but “At least he’s a memorable character,” Jackson said in a interview with deadline.
Tarantino has been getting criticized for (some would say) his excessive use of the word ‘n*gger’ in Django Unchained. The word is used 176 times throughout the movie and even Spike Lee expressed is dissatisfaction for the movie. Jackson defended his friend of 20 years saying,
“I would say that Quentin’s way is the way to reach a larger audience, and slavery seems to be another backdrop. We seldom understand that when people were out there shooting Indians or whatever, on the other side of the Mississippi there were people getting beaten down. This is the first time those genres cross paths,” he says. “When you take that and make it entertaining in a way, you express the brutality of what slavery really was, of how people were really property and the way people treated them. Everyone’s all ‘oh my god, Quentin’s written ‘nigger’ 176 times on a script again’… This is an homage to Mandingo, those movies Quentin likes. He has a habit of mixing genres of movies he likes. Django Unchained is essentially a spaghetti western exploitation movie with some Hong Kong overtones. He knows the movies that we like.
Jackson was snubbed for a Golden Globe for his Stephens role in Django Unchained, dispite his co-stars Leornardo Dicaprio, and Christoph Waltz being nominated. The veteran actor had some interest words about the snub. “I understand what the Golden Globes is.” Jackson said. “It’s the only show they (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association) have and is their biggest moneymaker so you have to pack the room with people that are going to make people tune into that show. With popular actors and the popular television shows, it’s whoever they think people want to see on the red carpet and hope that they win, not necessarily the quality of work you’ve done,”
Despite Jackson long career and extensive resume, he has only been nominated once for any award.However, he clearly knows how to stay interesting and relevant.
“I figured out early in the game that the best thing for me to do is just keep going to work. I don’t worry about picking a movie that says ‘oh my god, this has Oscar potential’. Other people think about that stuff, I don’t. I look at some actors and go ‘they only do those kinds of movies’. I do movies I want to see myself. Like Quentin, he writes the movies he wants to see. I tend to take roles that I want to see me in. I enjoy movies for the audience aspect of it. I am an audience member. I like all kinds of movies and if the role is right in that kind of movie and the timing is right I’m going to do it”.