Samuel L. Jackson had an interview with BET today about The Avengers and Django Unchained. It’s the usual promotional fluff, but he did explain his character, Stephen, and his role in the film:
Jackson plays the loyal house slave to a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) whom he raised from infancy. “I’m the oldest person on the plantation, and all the other slaves give me as much respect as they give the master.” But he and Foxx’s character butt heads “because he’s a free man and I resent that.”
Here’s what he had to say about what it felt like to play a slave:
Arriving on set “was strange and surreal,” reports Jackson. “There were 150 Black folk bent over in a cotton field picking cotton and like 70 white people on horses with shotguns, watching.” But he quickly adapted. “You play by the rules of the story’s reality. I can’t think about what I would do. People always say, ‘Man, I couldn’t have been a slave. I would have done this. I would have done that.’ No, you would have done what they told you to do.”
If you haven’t already, then be sure to check out this fascinating article about Samuel L. Jackson’s life. It’s definitely worth reading if you’re a fan.