Samuel L. Jackson Discusses Working With Quentin Tarantino On “Django Unchained”

Samuel L. Jackson discusses his controversial role in the movie titled "DJango Unchained."

There has been a lot of talk about Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained. World-renowed film director Spike Lee made headlines when he said he refuses to watch the film because ‘it’s disrespectful to my ancestors.’ Many African Americans agreed with Spike Lee and have decided to boycott the film as well. Criticism and boycotts didn’t stop Django Unleashed from exceptional success that is expected to outshine the current most successful Tarantino film.

Jackson sat down with to discuss bonding with Quentin Tarantino, prestigious film awards (e.g. Oscars and Golden Globes), and his character — a free slave who oversees the other slaves — named Stephen. View excerpts from the interview below:

On the controversy surrounding the film and the common interest he and Tarantino have:

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. 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 a 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. I tend to go on location with about 30 Hong Kong films — I have a lot of Asian crime films in my trailer just to pass the time. Every time he’d pass my trailer he’d ask, ‘what are you watching now?’ and we’ll talk about it. We had long conversations about those movies. We tend to watch the same kind of bullshit. Entertainment.

On not getting a Golden Globe nomination for Django Unchained:

I understand what the Golden Globes is. 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.


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. 

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  1. We need to stop standing on ceremony. The movie is a business, and a profitable one I might add. If you want to help a cause, look around within your community and family and begin there. Have a discussion with them about the use of the n word. I saw the movie. Thought it had too much violence but was well made. I don’t think anyone took issue with Spike Lee when he made the movie, “She’s Got To Have It.” What was that? We are sabotaging our own with hypocrisy.

  2. We need to stop standing on ceremony. The movie is a business, and a profitable one I might add. If you want to help a cause, look around within your community and family and begin there. Have a discussion with them about the use of the n word. I saw the movie. Thought it had too much violence but was well made. I don’t think anyone took issue with Spike Lee when he made the movie, “She’s Got To Have It.” What was that? We are sabotaging our own with hypocrisy.

  3. I think one of the reasons people in olden times did not make such a PC fuss about the use of certain words, was that they were too busy trying to survive to worry about unimportant b_s. Confident secure people usually don't care. I am Choctaw, and when I hear people refer to Indians as Squaw men, etc.. I am just mildly amused to see someone identify them selves as unenlightened retards. Only other insecure people react to an insecure person going off. Secure people just keep moving. They have places to go, people to see, and things to do.

  4. Perhaps one reason people did not make such a big deal about the use of certain words in the old days, is that they were too busy just trying to survive and did not have time for PCbs. People today have too much time on their hands. Confident people don't care. I am Choctaw and when I hear someone talk about Indians as Squaw men etc, I am just mildy amused to hear them identify themselves as mentally challenged unenlightened retards.

  5. This is a movie that was during the period of slavery, correct?? So why are offended when the word “Nigger” is being used. So what do you want them to say “Hey African American go pick that cotton with the other African Americans”, be serious. We need to be upset of the use of it today, not for the use of it yesterday. Too many people use it as an term of endearment and forget it was used a term of hatred and determent.

  6. Everyone wants to concentrate on the word nigger bein used. I think the bigger picture is about non black people telling our stories. Can someone address that issue.

  7. Where I come from blacks we, rent calling each other niggers or at least not until when they heard african americans using it.I could, nt care less if some stupid black folks think its a good movie, why would I pay money to sit in a threatre to hear the word nigger spewd out at every turn? and here black folks are trying to defend the this stupidness just like the dumb ass rappers who don, t see anything wrong with it either.Nowadays I refuse to watch anything in the movies or tv that harbours the nigger word be it black or white, sure i, m going to get offended just as much as jews , asians, east indians , and any other nation would get get offended if they were slanted in movies with derogatory terms , its too bad black folks are, nt getting this fact.

  8. Did not like the n word use to much in the movie they use it more then roots.other then that it was a good movie.

  9. I work on films here in Louisiana. I had the opportunity to work on Django and I must say that I enjoyed my time working on this film. It was made for entertainment purposes people. It was not meant to be a historically accurate version of some story to help blacks remember where they came from. Quentin was very uncomfortable to do this at first. When first presented with this script (that he DID NOT write), he turned it down. But, it’s not about black and white…. if it is, then Spike looses. Spike just recently finished a film here in Louisiana, and though I did not work on it, my colleagues who did have the opportunity to do so, disliked every minute of it. He demanded an african american crew, which is fine and his choice…However, he treated the crew like CRAP! He was rude, disrespectful, and many of them quit because it was such a stressful environment, whereas on Django, Quentin T. was a very personable director. The environment on that set was playful and you wanted to go to work everyday. So the black man, who is all about “blacks” made working environments miserable for ‘his’ people, yet the white man made working conditions pleasurable for all that was on his set…. It’s a people thing. Until Spike learns how to treat people, he CANNOT have my ear about what he does or does not like about anything especially in regard to how someone treats us a blacks and african americans! Spike get a damned LIFE!

  10. I don’t get it. Most of you are all sitting around here trying to say that we as blacks “own” the right to use the “N” word. WHF!!! Who gave you that right and why would you want it. NO ONE has a right to use the word. It is a derogatory word no matter who uses it. As far as the movie, it is entertainment depicting a point in time, slavery. As a slave the word was commonly said between BOTH whites as masters and slaves that were “free”. So get the fuck over the use of the word by either. I am offended more if my black brothers say it than the whit counter part. We know what the word symbolizes and how it affects us, so why do you give “fist bumps” everytime a black person says it to another black brother. That is some bullshit.

  11. Why is it a problem when the so called white people use the word nigger, when so.
    many of us call each other nigger all the time?


  13. Christina Mskane Brown

    this don't have shty to do with whether or not the film was good, it's about the fact that every given chance a white director get they always thrown something derogatory in a movie about blacks, we don't need to keep seeing bullshty azz movies like this which is a constant reminder that we are still niggers in the minds of the man. any black who don't understand that is just just as stupid as their counter part., so I understand what spike was saying, last but not least we took the word NIGGER an turn it into something totally different so all that talk about us being ok with it in rap music is what it is we own the right to use that word!

    • So if we have the right to use the word, then so does everyone else. I totally understand what Spike lee is saying, but nothing can be done to change the WAY IT WAS. We all have rights today, and WE All are exercising our right. Freedom of speech, and freedom to make a choice. Go watch the damn movie and get out of your feelings, because like I said before, if Spike Lee had came up with the idea and put it on film, he would have found everything Ok with doing so.

    • The word Nigger is used in that movie, the way it was during the days of slavery. To not have it used in the movie would have been an oversight. Blacks were called Niggers. That was how whites referred to them. That is fact. Also fact, "we" did not and have not turned Nigger into a positive term. The way "we" use it now, for the most part, reinforces the negative we claim to have overcome. The very root of the word is derogatory and evil in nature. The fact that "we" have convinced ourselves of otherwise, is a victory for the ignorant racists who laugh every time a black person uses "Nigga" to refer to another. But then again, that's just my opinion.

    • Also, it was a very good movie.

  14. I think also if Spike lee would have had the money, and the wits to come up with this movie, he would have done so. Ha

  15. Yao Lawrence Cunniningham-Bey

    Great movie, we need to mature as a people.

  16. I can understand dismissing a film one has seen – but not seen? This makes no sense whatsoever.

  17. I saw the movie and found it both disturbing and entertaining. Can't sit here and condemn people who are critical and can't condemn those who are supportive. What's the big deal? The movie is exactly what Mr. Jackson called it, "bullshit entertainment." Why do we have to disparage each other behind the work of a white man who is in the game to make money?

  18. Pretty typical of people that want to boycott a movie that says the Nigger word. But wait…Its said in the Rap songs, Stand up Comedy and you laugh. And if given the opportunity and with money in your pocket you will buy the CD. So if the white man says Nigger, you got a problem with it. Get over it. The movie was Excellent.

  19. Yes he was ! I enjoyed the movie despite the n word being over used.

  20. Seeen Django. One thing I wasn’t going to do is boycott the movie because others were. The N word are in rap songs, stand up comics routines and used daily by blacks. I wasn’t offended by the movie and I will buy it went it hits the stores.

  21. Sam was great.