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Does Samuel L. Jackson Have To Be Samuel L. Jackson In EVERY Movie?

Submitted by on May 12, 2010 – 8:59 am15 Comments

By now, many of you have seen Iron Man 2 and saw Samuel L. Jackson playing the role of S.H.I.E.L.D. leader Nick Fury. I love Sam Jack, really I do. But am I the only one who notices that Jackson plays the same person in every single movie – himself?

Jackson has been acting for nearly 40 years but first came into his own as Gator Purify in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” The role was memorable as Jackson delivered memorable lines such as “Mama, I smoked the color TV!” and “I swear before God…and four more white people!” His conviction in his lines made the roles believable as well as laced with just enough humor to get a snicker out of someone.

His bit roles in films like “Juice,” “Mo’ Betta Blues,” “Menace II Society,” and “Meteor Man” all featured Jackson whizzing Jackson-isms at will. I’m sure that everyone reading can quote a line from any (or all) of the aforementioned films. But then his big role came when Quentin Tarentino cast Jackson in the role of Jules Winnfield in the cult classic “Pulp Fiction.” This is the moment that Jackson was no longer just an African American staple, his flawless portrayal of the hired hitman (alongside John Travolta) earned him an Oscar nod and kicked the door off the hinges for future roles.

But this is where Jackson began treading a fine line between playing himself and playing a role. This is certainly not his fault, the man can act, but it is safe to assume that many directors cast Sam Jack to be Sam Jack (albeit with a different name) in their movies. Try to differentiate Jackson’s role in “Deep Blue Sea” from his role in “Shaft.” Not too much difference there. People just enjoy watching and soaking in Samuel L. Jackson.

The epitome of Jackson playing himself came in 2006’s so-bad-its-good movie “Snakes On A Plane.” For a movie with such a bizarre premise, it only made sense to get somebody that is so over the top, the premise looks tame in comparison to the star. That’s where Jackson came in. Low and behold, it worked. All it took was for Jackson to spew “I have had it with these mother*cking snakes on this mother*cking plane!” and we were sold. It was the “You had us at ‘hello’” moment of movies. People spent their hard earned cash to see Jackson run, cuss and shoot snakes on a plane. It sounds ridiculous in hindsight, but the film made $62 million in the US. Not bad.

Countless films later and we find Jackson still playing himself in “Iron Man 2.” Although his roles are always memorable, you have to wonder when someone will challenge Jackson with a role that forces him to not be Samuel L. Jackson and become someone else. We all know that he has it in him. It’s just up to Hollywood to give him another career defining role. But as long as he spits fire, gives an evil look and talks a whole lot of mess, Jackson will always be viewed as the same character in every movie and never win an Oscar. After all, you can’t win an Oscar acting as yourself, can you?

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