Though it's difficult to fathom now, there was in fact a time in which confirmed god Samuel L. Jackson wasn't the Hollywood superstar he is today. In a passionate new essay for Vanity Fair, the Hateful Eight star recalls a baffling though sadly still relevant incident of racist policing tactics that occurred during the filming of Jackson's first major post-Jurassic Park movie: the Tarantino instaclassic Pulp Fiction.
"When I was shooting Pulp Fiction, we shot the diner stuff first, and then I was off for six weeks because they had to shoot Bruce’s and Uma’s sections," Jackson explains, adding that he spent the downtime doing a play at the Coast Playhouse on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. "One night, after the play, I went with some friends to a restaurant down the street, Hugo’s," the actor recalls. After leaving the restaurant, Jackson and his friends were bombarded with five sheriff's vehicles as officers approached with guns drawn.
"There we were, lying facedown in the middle of Santa Monica Boulevard," Jackson continues. "I finally said to the cops, 'Why are you doing this?' One of them said, 'Oh, we got a report of five black guys standing on the corner with guns and bats.'" Jackson and his friends, of course, had no such weapons. "It kind of put my feet back on the ground in terms of 'O.K., you’re still just another nigger working in town, so you still got to walk softly,'" Jackson writes. "And I still do."
Read Jackson's full essay, including an amazing story about beating Sidney Poitier in golf, right here.