Samuel L. Jackson Reflects On 'Pulp Fiction' Changing His Life

2024 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction,” which debuted at the Cannes Film Festival in 1994, winning the Palm d’Or and cementing the filmmaker’s career in the process. The Los Angeles-set crime anthology with intertwined stories not only was behind the career revival and rebranding of John Travolta but also helped elevate Samuel L. Jackson from character actor (previously appearing in “Goodfellas,” “True Romance,” and “Jurassic Park” in the early 1990s) to a bonafide star. The supporting role, which earned Jackson his first Academy Award nomination, placed him on the path to becoming an international film star and opening doors to meaty roles in high-profile studio tentpoles. Jackson now holds the record as the highest-grossing actor in the world at an impressive $5.8 billion, thanks to all the franchise appearances he’s made over the years, including Marvel.

Last week, a 30th-anniversary event took place with a film screening at the 15th annual TCM Classic Film Festival, and many of the cast attended. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly about the film’s impact, Jackson said nothing would ever be the same after “Pulp Fiction.”

“It changed my life drastically,” Jackson told EW. “In that I think this was the particular role that all of a sudden people started thinking I was the coolest motherf***er on the planet. So, I’m happy with that.”

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“Watching a lot of films, you realize at a certain point that an actor only talks one-third of the film,” Jackson continued, explaining his excitement about playing Jules from reading the script. “The rest of the film is people doing sh**. So when I read that [‘Pulp Fiction’] script, I was like, ‘This is amazing.’ I immediately flipped it back over and read it again to be sure I wasn’t making myself crazy, and I wanted to be in this movie so bad that I was making up that it was that good.”

Jackson also noted how the dialogue-driven character of Jules allowed him to rely on his theatre training. “But it was [that good],” he continued. “And part of the reason was because those characters were talking to each other and about things, sometimes innocuous things, but they were talking. I was coming from the theater, and that’s what we do in the theater. We don’t have the advantage of get in the car and drive. I was very overjoyed that I was going to be able to run my mouth that much in a movie.”

Of course, Jackson would move on to things like the “Star Wars” prequels as Jedi Knight Mace Windu and the Marvel films as super-spy Nick Fury, becoming one of the most famous and quotable actors of his generation.

We’re still curious if Jackson and Tarantino will ultimately reunite for the director’s final film following the recent scrapping of “The Movie Critic (Jackson was rumored to be wanted for a potential role in the 1970s flick). Jackson and Tarantino have previously worked together on “The Hateful Eight,” “Django Unchained,” a brief cameo in “Kill Bill Vol.2,” and the actor lent his voice for narration in “Inglourious Basterds.” It’s hard to imagine that Tarantino wouldn’t want to write a good, solid role for Jackson in his tenth project when the filmmaker has promised it’ll be his last theatrical effort. But as of right now, we have no idea what that film will be, so anything’s possible at the moment, well, other than a “Pulp Fiction 2” (most likely anyhow, let’s not give anyone any bad ideas).