I spent last week in Los Angeles for Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2 Press Junket, where we screened the newest film and interviewed most of the cast. To no surprise, we spent one of the interviews laughing the whole time. Here is my interview with Samuel L. Jackson.
Imagine interviewing the man who is responsible for some of the most iconic movie lines in Hollywood…. Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park, Snakes on a Plane, and yes, that famous super suit line from The Incredibles.
yep. No intimidation there.
But Samuel L. Jackson couldn’t have been more down to earth and funny with us. He came right into the room and starting messing with the Frozone Pop – commenting how he always collects his movie characters ever since he was the ONLY one to not get a doll when Jurassic Park came out.
And that’s just the beginning of the 15 minutes of laughs. He is such a smart alec and it’s really funny. I hope some of the fun we had come across in the Q & A below. Just put on your best Samuel L. Jackson voice when your reading it…..
The Movie is Kinda Awesome
How do you feel about an Incredibles sequel?
I’m relieved now, I mean that was a lot of pressure. People- my twitter feed is always full of, ‘when are they going to make The Incredibles Two, when are they going to make The Incredibles Two,’ like it was my decision. Now I feel a lot better knowing the pressure has been relieved, they’ve made it, people can be happy.
Was it easy to pick up your character from the first one and bring it into this one?
Yeah of course.
Did you know you were going to spend the next decade plus in super hero world after you did the first movie?
Well you know, it’s like I said, people have been asking where is it because according to the way the last one ended, everybody just assumed there was going to be another one. And Brad went off and started doing, you know, real people movies. And I don’t think they wanted to put it in the hands of anybody else. And it’s also one of those kind of things where the first movie was so perfect, and so awesome, that you got to say to yourself, “Can we really do something that awesome and just a little bit more awesome the next time so it justifies us doing a sequel?” And I think they accomplished it, I mean the movie is kind of awesome.
Holly mentioned that really you’re just acting and directing with Brad Bird in the room. What is that like versus acting with people around you?
Oh different than acting with actors? Brad is sitting over there in a corner and he’s reading stuff and actually Brad turns out to be pretty good. He pretty much tries to imitate everybody’s voice when we’re doing this stuff, and he is Edna, he’s the best character in the movie. I’ve only worked once with Craig in the room and that was in the first movie, first time we were in the studio together and I think that’s when they decided no we’re not going to put these guys together.
Old Guys Get to Be Cool, Not Hot
How much do you relate to Frozone? I feel like if you were a super hero that would be you.
Really? I’d be shooting ice, not fire, I’m not hot like that? Oh fire is for the Black Panther guy. Old guys get to be cool, not hot. That’s a little ageism, I’m feeling a little Me Too about that.
We know that your power in the movie is ice even though you’re hot in real life, but what is your real life super power?
Earning money for my wife and daughter. And surviving thirty eight years of marriage yeah, that’s the super power.
If you could voice a different character from Incredibles, which one would you be?
Edna. Edna is just the dope-est, she’s just wise, cool, dry, unaffected by the world. The world revolves around her.
Fame is a Drug
If you could freeze any moment in time, what era or time would you freeze?
For me or for the world? You know what, 1976 Halloween, when we got to New York City and we started this marvelous journey. We were ready to conquer the world and be the best actors on the planet. And my wife and I thought we were going to be Liz Taylor and Richard Burton. But it was a vibrant time in New York, there were so many of us there. And it was a great time for work, and comrade-ship and all the people that we met – Morgan, Alfre, Denzel, and Wesley, and everybody was there working. And we all worked together, we ate together, we went to auditions together, we went to the same unemployment office when we weren’t working……..yeah but, vibrant and learning times.
Which, cemented some really great friendships. Just the challenge of being on stage with those people and wanting to be better, wanting to be good, and making all those things happen. That kind of makes us who we are on screen, for everybody. Because we had all that discipline and working together and learning how to be an ensemble and not just out shine everybody who’s around you. Sometimes you can’t help it, because the other people aren’t so good, but being there and being in that time, that would be great.
What advice would you give to young actors just starting out?
Do as much theater as you can do. You know, fame is a drug that these young people now have, because it seems so accessible. If you do enough online or you get enough likes or people get enough eyes on you, you become famous for just no reason, or for reasons that aren’t worth talking about.
But if you’re serious about it- go to New York. Challenge yourself. On stage or off on Broadway, work with as many different kinds of actors and directors as you can, learn the craft.
There’s a wealth of information to be gained from working in front of real people every night and getting that applause or getting the boos because you learn from that. And there’s no real way to know you can do it until you hear people say it or you’re in a theater and you feel the energy of the audience when you’re doing something.
When you feel the energy of people, then you know okay, this works, that works, that doesn’t work. So that when you get to this place, on a screen somewhere, you don’t have to question what you do, it feels right and it works.
You’re known for some language?
What, French? German?
Is that something you do for movies and for show, or does it slip into your everyday talk?
That’s pretty much who I am. I have talked like that my whole life, basically. But I stuttered really badly when I was a kid. And one of the mechanisms to stop it was to say “mother f***er,” so I could say what I had to say. So that worked and it just kind of flows over into the rest of my life, in fact, I just got a notice from Twitter about something I said. Somebody literally reported me for something I’d been doing since I got on Twitter, my first tweet had that word in it.
Yeah we’re actors, but we live like everybody else in the world
Which character do you like best – Frozone from The Incredibles 2 or Marvel’s Nick Fury?
Well I love Frozone because he’s got super powers. Nick Fury’s power is persuasion. It’s able to talk people into doing all kinds of things and recruiting people. I’m having a great time being Nick Fury, especially in this new film (Captain Marvel), because Brie (Larson) and I are really good friends. We were in Kong together and suffering through the jungle heat and the bugs and Vietnam and Australia and Hawaii….it’s a hard job.
And then I did her movie when we came back, Unicorn Store, which is not out yet. But she and I are really good friends, so I enjoy watching the ascendance of young actors. She’s so special and just so good. Outside of being just a super talented person, she’s very concerned about what’s going on around her and she’s outspoken about women’s issues. And I think that’s really-really great.
Because people are constantly trying to separate us from our ordinary lives, it’s like yeah we’re actors, but we live like everybody else in the world and affected by the same thing that’s affecting everybody else. So when people say, we don’t need your opinion, I get to have one, because I pay bills, I pay taxes, I got a right to my opinion. I’m not asking you to believe what I believe, I’m just asking you to hear what I got to say, and you can do what you want with it.
Me and Judy Are Like That
You have a lot of fun acting. What do you do on long days to make it particularly fun?
Every day is a long day on a movie set, so I watch movies, I watch a lot of Judge shows during the day, when I’m on a movie set, because they’re on all day. I never miss Judy, because that’s my friend, Judy and I……me and Judy are like that. We like hanging out and have dinner together and stuff so I watch judge shows.
I read scripts when they come to me, because there are some actors who don’t read while they’re working because they’re in character and their characters are illiterate or something. And sometimes I’m working on the next thing. I’m reading the script that I have to go to next and making notes, because when I finish Captain Marvel on July sixth I got to be on another movie set on July eighth. So I got to start figuring out what I’m going to do for that movie already.
You’ve done so many amazing amazing movies. What’s your personal favorite?
My favorite? Long Kiss Goodnight. That’s a really underrated film that the studio didn’t quite know what to do with because women weren’t bad asses in that time. And they didn’t think women wanted to see it- they didn’t think men wanted to see women be bad asses either, so they didn’t know how to market that movie. But it’s since gained a really great cult favorite, because I mean Geena is awesome in that movie, it was great.
And ike that, our time with Mr. Jackson was over. I hope you can see he dry wit he had – I would love to sit down with him over lunch – maybe watch a few Judge Judy shows…..
Disney Pixar’s Incredibles 2 is in theaters June 15, 2018
This movie was, for lack of a better word, INCREDIBLE – full of laughs, tender family moments, and edge-of-your seat fun. It is truly a great movie for the whole family to see and perfect for Father’s Day. I can’t wait to tell you more about it – stay tuned for my review on Friday, June 15 – but in the meantime, make sure you have grabbed your tickets now!
Other Incredibles 2 articles you may be interested in:
Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Incredibles 2 Press Junket by Disney in return for my review of Incredibles 2. All opinions are my own.